Peace Corps Launches Innovation Challenge

October 25, 2012

International development workers and expert coders collaborate on tech fixes to local community problems

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2012 –The Peace Corps Office of Innovation announced the launch of the Peace Corps Innovation Challenge, a worldwide collaboration to develop technology-based solutions to local community problems in developing countries.

Members of the Peace Corps community have already started to submit problems that could use a tech fix. For example, even if they’re in the same region, volunteers may not know what fellow volunteers down the road are working on; one request is for a way to learn about nearby Peace Corps projects. Another idea is for a mobile notification system that sends health-clinic patients reminders about upcoming appointments, information about nutrition and healthy lifestyle tips. A third idea is for a solution to show the location of local health care clinics and providers, not just hospitals.

Anyone can submit a relevant problem to the Innovation Challenge website. Problems will be reviewed and voted on by fellow volunteers, returned volunteers, Peace Corps staff, technology experts and entrepreneurs. The deadline to submit a problem is December 1.

Once problems are reviewed and refined, technology experts will team up to develop solutions during a 48-hour volunteer “hack-a-thon,” hosted by Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), December 1-2. Anyone can suggest a problem and participate in person or virtually at events in cities across the globe, including Berlin, Nairobi, Philadelphia and Melbourne. All solutions will be available for public use.

Peace Corps volunteers have the unique experience of working with communities at the grassroots level to identify and address local needs related to international development. The Innovation Challenge allows volunteers on the ground to connect with experts and entrepreneurs from around the world to create and build innovative technology solutions. To submit an international development problem that can be solved with better technology, or to find out more about the Innovation Challenge, visit http://innovationchallenge.peacecorps.gov/.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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