Tuesday 29 January 2019

The British Council today announced winners of its inaugural global #IdeasChangeLives innovation challenge. The overall joint winners are Nigerian Job Oyebisi and Malawi’s mHub. Ghana’s Joseph Sam came out as a runner-up with his innovation, a police assistance app that was outstanding. The challenge sought to find hyper-innovative ideas that can help find a solution to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The joint winners will each receive GBP 20,000 and mentoring to take their products live.

The proposal from Ghana, DigiCop, was highly commended, and will received GBP 10,000 to develop a business plan to use AI technology to improve access to police for Ghana's 19 million mobile phone users. Ghana’s police to citizen ratio is 1:848 compared to the UN’s recommendation of 1:500. 

The three proposals were drawn from over 2000 entries from people and organisations around the world. #IdeasChangeLives is part of a series of initiatives led by the British Council to support creativity and innovation amongst young people. The two winners get support to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

If the MVP is successful, the British Council will work with the winners to seek partnerships to help scale-up the MVP across its network, in more than 100 countries.

#IdeasChangeLiveswas judged by a panel of international business leaders. They selected proposals that has promise for life-changing solutions and has potential to improve hundreds of thousands of lives through digital engagement.

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council commented: “Technology, and the rapid increase in connected devices worldwide, offers new opportunities to tackle world problems. This competition has highlighted both the resourcefulness of digitally-capable people around the globe, and their desire to solve the issues in their regions. The British Council is proud to enable the development of these winning ideas, and their potential to improve lives.”

Vikas Shah, Judge, and Chief Executive, Swiscot Group said: “Policing is not only done with the consent, but with collaboration- and DigiCop enables the latter with innovation, and great consideration of the needs of police and citizens alike; this idea could revolutionise communities.”

Individuals can sign up to be alerted when future #ideaschangelives challenges is launched http://bit.ly/icl-subscribe

The British Council acknowledge the significant contributions of Friends of British Council USA, to this initiative, which is delivered by its Digital, Innovation and Partnerships directorate.


Notes to Editors

For more information and to arrange interviews contact

Jerome Asiamah, Customer Service and Marketing Manager

T: +233 302 610090

Email: Jerome.Asiamah@gh.britishcouncil.org

For enquiries about taking part in or supporting future innovation challenges, contact PartnershipsTeam@britishcouncil.org

 The judging panel: 

  • Eva Grosman, Chief Executive, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building;
  • Vikas Shah, Chief Executive, Swiscot Group;
  • Richard Halkett, Worldwide Lead, Digital Innovation, Amazon Web Services, Inc
  • Dr Jock Percy, founder and Chairman, Perseus Telecom; 
  • Roshana Gammampila, Director at PwC;
  • Jake Loveless, founder and Chief Executive, Edgemesh;
  • Helen Warwick, Principal, Helen Warwick Management;
  • Rachel Brandenburger, international legal and policy consultant;
  • Rory Cameron, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development at SAP.

 StanLab: Job Oyebisi in Nigeria aims to use 3D technology to address poor performance in STEM subjects across Nigeria and the rest of Africa through StanLab. This will allow students to do experiments in a 3D virtual laboratory that teaches practical science through a computer or mobile device. This addresses the low quality of hands-on science education and facilities at many schools across Nigeria and aims to improve results and career prospects. The goal is to reach more than half of Nigeria's 12 million students, contributing towards SDG 4: Quality Education.     

MHub in Malawi champions local technology software solutions and aim to build new functionality for their existing human rights platform creating a more nuanced reporting mechanism - via SMS or USSD code – to report on issues around sexual assault, reproductive health rights, early marriage and human trafficking. Through targeted social media campaigns, they aim to reach more than 10,000 vulnerable women and girls - often in remote rural or displaced communities - to help them understand their rights and what to do if they are violated. The project address SDG 5: Gender Equality. 

DigiCop: Joseph Sam from Ghana is the Highly Commended Runner-Up and will receive £10,000 and support to develop a business plan and networking pathways for his projectDigiCop, which will deploy AI technology through apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and SMS to address SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,

 #IdeasChangeLives ran from 15 October to 23 November 2018 and invited solutions for six of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 4 – Quality education

SDG 5 – Gender equality

SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth

SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities

SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities

SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.britishcouncil.org