Supported by ICT Division and Startup Bangladesh, the online edition of Digital Khichuri Challenge (DKC) 2020 was recently aired live from their Facebook page. The virtual event saw 14 teams pitch their ideas in front of a prestigious jury of judges, including Robert Stoelman, Project Manager, UNDP, Tina F Jabeen, Investment Advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division, Din M. Sumon Rahman, Professor, Department of Media Studies & Journalism, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) and Tazin Shadid, CEO, YY Goshti.
DKC 2020, conducted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), encouraged young innovators to design projects that address the stigma and discrimination faced by COVID-19 patients and frontline healthcare workers. The competition, thereby, invited changemakers to design a safer and more tolerant digital space. "Through DKC, we have been using community networks to build an awareness campaign that educates people about social values and empathy. We nurture teams that work towards building a better society," shared Tina. DKC has successfully completed five cohorts so far and has supported 60 teams by engaging them with 13 incubated platforms.
This year, top 14 teams were selected from 500 entries. They had to go through an elaborate ideation process called Idea Lab, to work on their solutions. At the end of Idea Lab, the teams presented their ideas to the jury. During a virtual event, four teams won under two categories — idea and startup. Team Swayong were the runners-up for the idea category, while Team Punchforon bagged the first prize. Under the startup category, Shopnojoy were the runners-up and BD Fact Check were the winners. The winning teams received the prize money of $5000 and mentorship support from YY Goshti.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and extended his best wishes to all the finalists. "We have been striving to create a Digital Bangladesh by following an inclusive approach," he said. "As we fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to remain responsible as individuals and refrain from spreading rumours. We are working for a safer internet space and intend to launch a digital security helpline to spread awareness about cyber security, while extending informational support. We will also launch a fact-checking website to verify news stories."
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, extended her best regards to all the finalists. "The current pandemic is not just a health crisis. It is also affecting the economy and leading to a number of social challenges. As a result, we also need to strive to eradicate stigmatisation and discrimination," she said.