Winners of the AccessAbility innovation challenge
This article was first published on the 21st August on the UNFPA website: UNFPA announces winners of the AccessAbility innovation challenge
The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, is pleased to announce the winners of the first of its kind AccessAbility innovation challenge, a competition to provide funding for social enterprises with innovative solutions that disrupt inequalities and empower young persons with disabilities.
Issued in collaboration with the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) and the Global Network of Young Persons with Disabilities (GNYPWD), the challenge invited submissions along the themes of addressing gender-based violence; enhancing access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and information; digital inclusion; and removing socio-cultural barriers.
Four ventures from UNFPA programme countries were selected as winners by a panel of judges from UNFPA, GDI Hub and GNYPWD. The challenge received 229 applications from 54 countries, with entries spanning six global regions. Submissions included a range of solutions addressing key challenges and barriers faced by young people with disabilities around the world. These barriers include higher risks of violence, barriers to sexual and reproductive health and rights and difficulties meeting basic needs.
The winners were selected from teams that are driving solutions to help young people with disabilities access their sexual and reproductive health and rights. These winning ventures will be provided grants in the form of seed funding and professional coaching and will be enrolled in a series of tailored workshops to help test and advance their innovations.
The four winning ventures are:
Location: Kenya / Eastern and Southern Africa
Title: Conversational AI for Inclusive Data Collection
A conversational, multilingual, AI-powered platform that engages users in respectful and dynamic conversations to collect accurate and comprehensive information on their sexual and reproductive rights and health needs. The project aims to fill an important gap - the lack of effective data collection within the disability community - by sharing information to young people living with disabilities through a personalized and user-centric journey.
Press Contact: Irene Kirika; firstname.lastname@example.org; +254 202-910-6860
Location: Republic of Moldova
Title: Inclusive Voices: Empowering Content Creators with Disabilities through Podcasting
Podcast "Depasim Prejudecati" (Overcome Prejudices) in Moldova raises awareness about the challenges people with disabilities are facing, while dispelling misinformation about disability conditions and associated challenges. The producers plan to create a number of episodes exploring the various SRH and GBV-based challenges and experiences that people with disabilities face. Alianta Infonet will also mentor and support content creators from within the disability community to empower their peers and include a more diverse range of voices to break down stigma and misinformation.
Press Contact: Mariana Tibuleac; WhatsApp: +373 69281668
Location: India / Asia Pacific
Title: Information access on SRH topics using conversational flows in low-resource settings
People with disabilities often have limited access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, particularly in areas with limited internet access. AccessAble provides interactive engagement via SMS and Interactive Voice Response, which does not require a computer or smartphone or any technical training. Available in local languages, the platform ensures that critical information and services are readily available to people with disabilities, regardless of their location or the device they use.
Press Contact: Prashant Ranjan Verma; email@example.com; +919811686966
Vessels for Development
Location: Cameroon / Western and Central Africa
Title: Inclusive Reproductive Health Initiative (IRHI)
The female-led Inclusive Reproductive Health Initiative (IRHI) aims to accelerate the development of a menstrual cycle tracking device to break taboos and raise awareness of menstrual cycles and sexual health for people with disabilities, especially young women and girls. It will also raise awareness by holding a series of complementary workshops and training. Combined, this tool and training aims to empower young women and girls with disabilities by providing them with insights into their menstrual pattern and fertility cycle.
Press Contact: Nzouegou Ornella De Vinyle; firstname.lastname@example.org; +237696991707