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UNFPA announces the winners of “Joint Innovation Challenge 2022” aimed to provide funding for social enterprises with innovative solutions that advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide. One of the winners is from Türkiye, the augmented reality experience designed to raise awareness for gender-based violence developed by KızBaşına platform.

New York - The first-ever Joint Innovation Challenge organized by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA to provide funding for social enterprises that aim to provide equal rights and choices for all and equalize the opportunities for women and girls through innovation has been concluded, in the competition, in which 300 projects from 61 countries competed, 10 projects were successful and each of them qualified for a fund of 60 thousand dollars.

Financed by UNFPA’s Equalizer Accelerator Fund, and implemented in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Trade Centre (ITC), the 2022 Challenge is awarding ten women-helmed organizations hailing from five different regions globally.

The winning projects promise essential innovations that can transform the lives of women and girls on issues such as gender-based violence, digital violence, family planning, sexual and reproductive health and pre-eclampsia, a fatal pregnancy disease.

One of the winners of the challenge is KızBaşına platform from Türkiye. KızBaşına works to reduce the effects of gender-based social inequality in Türkiye to prevent all kinds of harassment, violence and hate speech against women and children. Their winning innovation project offers an augmented reality (AR) experience that aims to raise awareness and sensitivity regarding gender-based violence.

The AR experience-game is targeted towards men and is aimed at conveying dangers, fears, uneasiness and various types of violence (psychological, physical, sexual violence etc.) that women experience in their daily lives by simulating men as women in the immersive experience. Men have to go through various scenarios, e.g walking alone at night on particularly secluded streets or being followed.

The funding of USD 60,000 for each winning project will allow these organizations to move their projects from the pilot stage to scale. UNFPA and its partners will further support the social enterprises with targeted mentorship, training opportunities, interactive workshops, and unique access to the UN network.

“Creative thinking and innovative solutions are key to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world,” says Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s Executive Director. “Through the Equalizer, UNFPA is pleased to support a dynamic group of entrepreneurs and their game-changing ideas which lead to life-changing projects like these.”

Launched in 2021, UNFPA’s Equalizer Accelerator Fund invests in projects that will improve access to contraception and maternal health services for women and girls and end gender-based violence. The fund provides investments in social enterprises that are led or co-led by women and can show evidence of the impact they will have, enabling them to test and scale up their projects.

Ten projects that will change the lives of women and girls:

Foundation Paniamor, Costa Rica:

Foundation Paniamor develops a novel digital toolkit for adolescent girls to help prevent and respond to online violence. 

GerHub, Mongolia:

GerHub reaches women and girls in remote areas with information and sexual and reproductive health services through mobile clinics and telemedicine.

Global Pre-Eclampsia Initiative, Uganda:

A portable diagnostic system that helps pregnant women with early detection, timely referral, and effective management of pre-eclampsia -  a life-threatening hypertensive disorder causing up to 10% of pregnancy-related deaths in Africa. 

Hillspring Diagnostics, Nigeria:

A revolutionary method to detect ectopic pregnancy, which has dangerous consequences including death if not diagnosed and treated on time. 

Impact Innovations Institute, Armenia:

The SafeYou app is a unique digital solution that provides women and girls with security functions to protect them against violence and offers tools for survivors. 

KızBaşına, Türkiye:

An immersive augmented reality experience that aims to stop gender-based violence by introducing people to simulations based on women’s real-life experiences.

Tirando X Colombia, Colombia:

An AI-enhanced chatbot that provides adolescent girls with quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, helping to end the cycle of poverty generated by teenage pregnancies. 

ToguMogu, Bangladesh:

A one-stop family health and wellbeing platform that provides access to family planning, reproductive health information, and services for young women and new mothers.

Urukundo Initiative, Rwanda:

Urukundo Life Skills Board Game is the first ever licensed low-tech educational game in Rwanda that disseminates information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

Women in Entrepreneurship and Technology (WETECH), Cameroon: 

A community hub and women’s innovation center that offers a digital tool that connects survivors and persons at risk of gender-based violence via a secure and confidential messaging platform.