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12 Dec 2016 | News

Winners of ‘ICT for Mountain Development Award 2016’

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Virtual reality for tourism, a crop database, a landslide warning system, and documentaries on Himalayan environments… these four topics took home top prizes from ICIMOD’s third annual ICT for Mountain Development Award.

The ICT for Mountain Development Award is handed out each year on the occasion of International Mountain Day to recognize and honor achievements in ICT-enabled innovations and practices that promote environmental sustainability and mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).

This year, ICIMOD received 29 submissions in five categories: water, livelihoods, ecosystem services, geospatial solutions, and Other. The competitors include a wide array of institutions including universities, donor-funded projects, and government-based initiatives. Each of the winners selected this year (details below) received $250 for their efforts.

The 2016 winners – two from India, one from Nepal, one from Pakistan – were selected for working on projects that can inform and/or be replicated in mountain communities to improve safety and living standards.

Details of the Winners of ‘ICT for Mountain Development Award 2016’

Comprehensive crop database to support smallholding farmers in the Indian Himalaya

Pragya India, in collaboration with Pragya UK, has developed a comprehensive, accessible crop advisory database designed for online and offline use by agricultural extension workers and smallholding farmers. The database enables farmers to access regularly updated agricultural production information for a variety of crops, including species for commercial and household use. Users can identify the most appropriate options for production based on climate, altitude, soil type, and water access. The profile for each selected species includes detailed information on timing, sowing, planting, protection, pest control, and harvest.

Organisation: Pragya India
Contact: Dr Mary Ipe and Greg Hilditch
Theme: Livelihoods
Country: India

Geo-informatics based landslide early warning system

The Institute for Geographical Information Systems (IGIS) has developed a wireless sensor network that integrates GIS information to identify landslide-prone areas in mountainous areas. The system works in real-time updating a web portal that residents can access to learn about potential hazards in their living areas or along their travel routes.

Organisation: Institute of Geographical Information Systems (IGIS), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan
Contact Person: Muhammad Ahsan Mahboob
Theme: Geospatial
Country: Pakistan

Himalayan environmental documentaries promote conservation

Mr. Sushil Chandra Bahuguna, a journalist with NDTV, has produced a series of documentaries on the Himalayan environment, which have aired on the NDTV network. In very plain, easy-to-follow language, these videos promote awareness of environmental issues throughout the Himalaya, and simple means for engaging conservation in the region. The strength of the documentaries lies in its availability as digital content on the internet.

Contact: Sushil Chandra Bahuguna
Theme: Ecosystem Services
Country: India


NepalVR has created a virtual reality program that allows users to experience mountain tourism using a VR headset. The application is targeted at potential tourists, but also has great relevance for school children to learn more about the Himalaya and their significance. The virtual tour presents 360-degree views of selected locations, enhanced by sounds and other sensations to replicate the actual environment. The app has also been developed for use on mobile phones.

Organisation: Semantic Creation
Contac: Sajesh Khadgi
Theme: Others
Country: Nepal

What the ICT for Mountain Development 2016 winners say ?

Pragya India

We are pleased and humbled to be one of the four winners for this year’s ICT for Mountain Development Award! A very special thanks to the ICIMOD for selecting us.  The award is, indeed, a great motivation for all of us at Pragya, and the field teams across our offices, as well as the communities involved in our Program for Himalayan Smallholders.

Receiving this award further encourages us in our ongoing work to improve farm productivity and food security in remote and hilly regions. We are re-energized in our quest to utilize ICTs to relay agricultural and other relevant information to Himalayan communities to enable them to participate effectively in the mainstream economy.

S.C. Bahuguna, NDTV journalist, India

I thank ICIMOD for selecting my documentaries for an ICT for Mountain Development Award this year. ICIMOD is a pioneering institution working internationally for the welfare of Hindu Kush mountains, which are so close to my heart.  This award has re-energised me towards this great cause and I hope it will continue to spur people to work towards making the earth, and the Hiamalaya, a much better place for our future generations.

Semantics Creation, Nepal

Thank you ICIMOD for honoring us with an ICT for Mountain Development Award 2016. We are very honored and privileged to be recognized as one of the four winners of this regional competition. There are various things that we are working on to enhance mountain development. Your award gives us inspiration.

Muhammad Ahsan Mahoob, IGIS, National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan

I am extremely pleased, honored, and humbled to accept this ICT for Mountain Development Award 2016. I did not make the journey here alone. Sseveral people including my team members have supported me along the way. The award is a very good initiative by ICIMOD to promote mountain development and environmental conservation in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). These kinds of initiatives will encourage all of us to make effective use of advanced information and communication technologies for mountainous regions and communities living there.

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