ICT for Mountain Development Award 2015

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Photot credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

ICIMOD is pleased to announce the four winners of the ICT for Mountain Development Award 2015. They are BUET-Japan Institute of Disaster Prevention and Urban Safety project team and Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Warning System respectively of Bangladesh. The other two are Earthwatch Institute India of India and Story Cycle of Nepal (see table below).

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2015, ICIMOD called for submissions for the annual ‘ICT for Mountain Development Award’. The award recognises information, communication and technology (ICT)-enabled innovations, good practices, and applications that help promote mountain development and environmental conservation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. The awards were open to individuals or organisations that are making innovative use of ICT to promote mountain development in the HKH region. The announcement of the awards was slated for International Mountain Day, i.e., 11 December 2015.

A total of 18 submissions were received, mainly from countries in the HKH region, under five categories: ecosystem services, livelihood, water, geospatial solutions, and ‘others’. The submissions were made by individuals and organisations, including universities, government- and donor funded projects, private sector, INGOs. Four submissions were selected based on the criteria outlined during the call – the quality of content and creativity, innovative use of ICT, clear focus on use in the HKH region for mountain development, and impact on the ground. The winners each receive USD 250 along with a certificate of recognition.

The winners have brought to our attention ICT-enabled innovations that others can learn from, replicate, scale up, or use for the benefit of mountain communities in the region. Among the four winners, two are from Bangladesh, one is from India, and one from Nepal.  There is one winner each for three categories — ecosystem services, water, and geospatial solutions - and one for a combined category representing various themes including livelihoods, geospatial and tourism. Saurav Dhakal, who was one of the winners present to receive the award, mentioned that how his work (mentioned below) has realised the importance of archiving audio/visual materials and how it has become a strong reference for rebuilding following Nepal’s devastating earthquake.

Details of the Winners of 'ICT for Mountain Development Award 2015'

  • Early warning system for the communities living with landslide risks in Chittagong Metropolitan Area
Using latest geospatial techniques and tools, the team has developed a dynamic web GIS  based early warning system, combining with local knowledge, past landslides locations, layers of biophysical parameters for the communities living with landslide risks in Chittagong Metropolitan Area, Bangladesh. The website is also designed for developing the alert system. The alert system was developed combining the susceptible zones from susceptibility map and the rainfall threshold for corresponding zones.
Organisation: BUET-Japan Institute of Disaster Prevention and Urban Safety project team, Bangladesh
Team: Professor Tahmeed M. Al-Hussaini, PhD; Md. Shahinoor Rahman; Bayes Ahmed
Adviser: Professor David E. Alexander, PhD; Professor Ikuo Towhata, PhD
Theme: Geospatial
Country: Bangladesh
  • Mobile Services for Flood Early Warning
The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) together with technical and implementation support from Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) did this pilot project to support early warning preparation, communication and response using mobile services in two unions of Belkuchi and Chowhali upazila under Sirajganj District of Bangladesh. The project was implemented with financial support from the Government of the Netherlands (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and Cordaid. The two methods, chosen by RIMES, were Voice Message Broadcast (VMB) for top down warning dissemination from national to district and local levels simultaneously and Short Message Service (SMS) for bottom up local water level data collection from by the community gauge readers to national level.
Lead person/Organisation: Raihanul Haque Khan/
Regional integrated Multi-Hazard Warning System
Theme: Water
Country: Bangladesh

  • Android Application to enhance Ecosystem Services (Pollination) and safeguarding of bees and butterflies
Butterflies and Bees App is an initiative of Earthwatch Institute India facilitating easy identification of some of the butterflies and bees in the field using mobile application. The mobile application is targeted to help increase public awareness and generate greater interest regarding butterflies and bees amongst the young citizens in India. The app accepts submission, identification of bees and butterflies that will further strengthen the keenness to observe the bees and butterflies and help promote citizen science and contributing to the knowledge base. The app is gradually being rolled in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim in India, where Earthwatch has an ongoing ecosystem services programme.

Organisation: Earthwatch Institute India
Contact: Pranab Patar
Theme: Ecosystem services
Country: India
  • StoryCamp Everest, stories from mountains and beyond
The team here has collected panoramic images and have overlay them with the stories, voices of the Sherpa people in the Khumbu region of Nepal Himalayas and collaborated with team from Google and Apa Sherpa Foundation to create a virtual experience for anyone to access. One can listen for the sounding of yak bells and the chanting of monks. You can visit a school or museum virtually. You can also meet the man who climbed Mount Everest the most, and all in stunning scenic beauty of the place. 
Lead person/Organisation: Saurav Dhakal / StoryCycle
Theme: Others (combining Livelihoods, Tourism, GeoSpatial)
Country: Nepal