Emirates Foundation announces winning sustainability projects of Ideathon 2024

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Emirates Foundation announces winning sustainability projects of Ideathon 2024

 

  • Global virtual idea-based hackathon inspires innovative solutions to environmental challenges

 270 applications from 78 countries saw 15 teams progress to final round

 Abu Dhabi(News Des)::Emirates Foundation has announced the winning projects of its Ideathon 2024, a global virtual idea-based hackathon held under the theme ‘Volunteering for Sustainability’ – a competition aimed at inspiring innovative solutions to global sustainability issues and affecting positive change for the environment.

This year’s competition was held over the course of three days, between 4-6 March 2024, in collaboration with International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, and Ideathon 2024’s main sponsor, General Motors.

Attracting 270 applications from non-profit and volunteer organisations from 78 countries, the competition was shortlisted down to 15 teams, which were then sub-divided into three groups of five teams; each competing in three different themes addressing environmental challenges and having just 24 hours to come up with a solution. A team from each of the three groups was then declared the overall winner of the theme. The final winning teams will receive a total fund of US$25,000 each to implement their projects.

For the theme of ‘Volunteering to Protect Nature, Lands & Oceans,’ the winning team was Shelter Participatory Organization, from Pakistan. Their winning project addressed the challenge: How can volunteering support the long-term, scalable protection of natural resources at the community level?

The winner in the ‘Volunteering for Youth Education & Skills’ theme was Serve Global, from Ethiopia. Their winning project addressed the challenge: How can volunteering build skills for the green economy that are internationally recognized?

In the third theme, ‘Volunteering for Disaster Relief,’ the winning team was Padyarescue Incorporated, from the Philippines. Their project addressed the challenge: How can volunteers create cultures of belonging and integration for those displaced by a disaster?

Highlighting the importance of Ideathon, as well as corresponding volunteering efforts, to offer solutions to environmental issues, H.E. Ahmed Al Shamsi, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said: “As we conclude this remarkable event, I am inspired by the dedication and creativity exhibited by our international volunteers in shaping sustainable solutions for our planet. Their commitment to environmental preservation echoes the values of Emirates Foundation and the UAE.”

He added: “Through collaborative efforts and innovative thinking, fully showcased over the three-day event, we have witnessed the power of collective action towards a greener, more sustainable future. The winning ideas and proposals certainly hold the potential to drive meaningful change for the environment and, by extension, the communities who will directly benefit. So, while we rightly celebrate the winners and their projects, let us remember that this spirit of innovation and collaboration must continue beyond a mere competition, as we work to implement the ideas that will safeguard our planet for generations to come.”

Evaluation of the finalists’ projects was conducted by a high-level panel of judges whose expertise and assessment ensured international standards of independent judging criteria were applied in the selection of the winners.

The judging panel included: H.E. Engineer Othaibah Saeed Al Qaydi, from the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment; Maitha Mohamed Al Hameli, from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; Rahim Hassan Ali from VSO International; Dr. Tapiwa Kamuruko, from the UN Volunteers Programme; Daniel Adugna, from the African Union Commission; Jacquiline Innocent, from the Habitat for Humanity; Jean Tan, from the Singapore International Foundation; Dr. Amjad Saleem, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and Lella Hallum, a digital changemaker and ‘Power of Youth’ champion.

As part of a series of five workshop sessions to help participants fine tune their pitches and generate ideas suitable for the overarching theme of this year’s Ideation, several experts provided guidance to the finalist teams. They were Dr. Chris Millora, Assistant Professor in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London; Dr. Luis Felipe Ruiz Espindola, Director of International Affairs, International Circle of Technical Helpers (CINAT); Clodagh Byrne, Global Resilience Lead, VSO International; Marwa Abraham, Vice-President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Chad Wellman, Chief Financial Officer, General Motors Africa and Middle East; and Marc Ebolo, Director of Sales, General Motors Middle East.

The keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the competition was H.E. Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Development at the UAE Ministry of Community Development, who highlighted the importance and timeliness of this year’s theme, ‘Volunteering for Sustainability.’

The success of Ideathon 2024 was a result of collective efforts by the organizers, partners, key sponsor, volunteering teams, judging committee members, and experts from across many areas connected to sustainability and environmental protection.

Commenting on the importance of this competition and the contributions of the participants, Nichole Cirillo, Executive Director of International Association for Volunteer Effort, said: “Governments and institutions around the world are recognizing that we will not achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals without the investment, innovation, and commitment of volunteers. We’re proud to be a partner in this Ideathon to spur creative solutions and highlight the impact that a billion volunteers are making in communities across the globe. With our broad, global reach IAVE was also proud to have mobilized many of our members and affiliated organizations to enter this exciting event.”

Chad Wellman, Chief Financial Officer at General Motors Africa and Middle East added: “We are delighted to be working with Emirates Foundation on its far-reaching efforts to inspire innovative solutions to today’s pressing issues. At General Motors, we are working towards making the future of mobility a reality: one with zero crashes, emissions, and congestion, all of which go hand in hand with global efforts to create increasingly sustainable urban and rural lifestyles. The Ideathon’s open call for impactful proposals has far surpassed expectations, and we are keen to take forward our collaborative approach towards growing green economies and protecting resources. We will continue to support fresh thinking from a range of nationalities, capabilities, and age brackets that will help bring to life our aligned vision for a greener, more inclusive future.”— ENDS —

 

 

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