ICT for Mountain Development Award 2018 Winners

ICIMOD announced the winners of this year’s ICT for Mountain Development Award as it marked International Mountain Day on 11 December 2018. The regional award recognizes innovations, uses, and applications in Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD) that help promote development and environmental conservation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. This is the fifth year of the award. 

This year’s winners are from Bhutan and Nepal. An entry from Pakistan received an honourable mention.

Twenty-one submissions were received this year, mainly from countries in the HKH region. Individuals and organizations – including NGOs, universities, governments, donor-funded projects, private sector entities – submitted ICT-enabled innovations and good practices that others can learn from, replicate, scale up, or use for the benefit of mountain communities in the region.

Accepting the award, Choki Gyeltshen from the National Biodiversity Center (NBC), which manages the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal, said “We at NBC are pleased to receive this award. With this award we are further motivated and inspired to promote the portal as a citizen science platform to document biodiversity. We are pleased that our work is being recognized and received well in Bhutan and in the region and beyond. Thank you ICIMOD for bringing this up front.” 

Similarly, Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) said, “We feel honoured to receive this award. Obviously, work of this scale and nature poses challenges at every stage. As a team, we overcame all of them and brought back nearly 10 TB of socio-economic and earthquake damage data from Nepal's remote villages to the central server in Kathmandu. Nepal's post-earthquake reconstruction work is based on this information, and we believe that this project has elevated Nepal's confidence in successfully implementing information and communication technologies in development work. Thanks for recognizing our work.“

ICT for Mountain Development Award 2018 

Biodiversity Portal, Bhutan – Winner

Organization: National Biodiversity Centre, Serbithang, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: Choki Gyeltshen
Theme: Ecosystem
Country: Bhutan
URL: http://www.biodiversity.bt

The National Biodiversity Centre has a content-enriched web presence (www.biodiversity.bt) focusing on biodiversity information from Bhutan. The website uses a crowd-sourced method, harnessing collective intelligence from anyone with an interest in biodiversity to maintain the content in the portal or by providing taxonomic services to other users who have uploaded content into the website.

Restoring livelihood in earthquake-affected districts of Nepal – Winner

Organization: Kathmandu Living Labs
Contact: Sazal Sthapit
Theme: Livelihoods
Country: Nepal
URL: http://www.kathmandulivinglabs.org

After the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, Kathmandu Living Labs deployed a team of engineers armed with electronic tablets, using end-to-end ICT applications they had designed and developed to collect data on one million households and five million people (10 terabytes of data, including 10 million photographs) from remote parts of earth quake affected districts in the country. They achieved this feat in just over 120 days and this information is being used to restore livelihoods in earthquake-affected districts of Nepal, accessible at http://eq2015.npc.gov.np/#/

Besides the two winners, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Pakistan received an honourable mention.

COMSATS Telehealth (CTH) – Honourable mention

Organization: COMSATS, Pakistan
Contact: Dr Azeema Farid
Theme: Livelihoods
Country: Pakistan
URL: http://www.ehealthcomsats.com/

COMSATS has been using the concept of telemedicine to establish a number of telehealth clinics (THCs) in rural mountainous areas of Pakistan. The direct video interaction between patients and the doctors has enabled physicians to assess and diagnose patients to provide treatment. This mechanism has provided benefits to the local community and health professionals for purposes other than healthcare – capacity building of staff and local health professionals through initial trainings, knowledge and skill development.

ICIMOD extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the winners. The information shared here on the work that these organizations are doing can potentially benefit many others.