By Martin Ekpeke
The registration for this year’s The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) Innovation Changemaker Challenge, which opened on the 4th of July, 2017 will close on Monday, the 14th August, 2017.
Thus, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecom in charge of the USPF is calling on the Nigerian youths to register via http://www.uspfchangemaker.ng.
The Changemaker Challenge is a novel initiative by the NCC to engage the ingenuity of Nigerian youths to solve relevant problems and bring about change through creativity and innovation.
Already, prizes to be won by the challengers have been fixed. The prizes, according to a statement issued by NCC last month are N1, 000,000, N750, 000 and N500, 000 for the Ist, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively. The prize also includes acceptance into incubation programme for the three winners, stressing that monetary prize includes product completion and cash.
Participants will be required to create their own technology intervention for any of the following areas: Agriculture and Creation of Mass Employment: In the production, storage or distribution of food; Environment: Oil & Gas, Flood, Erosion/Climate Change; National e-data on Poverty, Disease, Security and Health/Lifestyle: Medical Doctors Information Exchange Tool; Health Insurance etc.
Others are Epidemic Mobility Tracking Solutions: e.g. Ebola, Lassa fever; Disease Destroyer Games: Educational games on disease eradication e.g. Malaria, Polio, and HIV; Education: Virtual Education, E-Library & E-Learning Systems.
USPF also requires participants to develop interventions in Intelligent Technologies for Scientists, Science Teachers, Engineers, etc; Girls4Tech: Interactive solutions aimed at getting young girls interested technology and innovation; Fraud whistle-Blowers: Enabling or assistive technology; Information Technology: Communications Quality of Service and National Security: Cybercrime and Cyber Security Solutions, etc.
Other areas include E-Government: Government Automation Processes and E-Commerce: e-Transactions, Payment Systems, etc.
USPF, established under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to facilitate the achievement of national policy goals for universal access and universal service to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, un-served and under-served areas, said the aim of the Innovation Changemaker Challenge is also to promote innovation & investment opportunities in the Nigeria’s telecom sector.
It noted that entry is open to teams, minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 members (no individuals), but added that teams with female members will have a definite added advantage as USPF seeks to encourage more gender diversity in technology innovation. Thirty (30) teams will be shortlisted (consisting of the top 5 entries from each geopolitical zone), with the final scheduled for 28th & 29th October, 2017.
The USPF Innovation Changemaker Challenge 2017 is a nationwide competition open to young innovators, software developers, UX designers, students, and other ICT enthusiasts from all over Nigeria. The aim is to tackle a selection of identified problems based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as they apply to Nigeria and offer working solutions to them.