You may wonder what makes the “empowering people. Award” different from other similar competitions. It is because it is much more than a competition! The award aims to initiate an entire collaboration on social and economic improvement. Of course, our initial goal is to find and bestow awards on technical solutions that help to solve basic supply problems in develping and emerging countries. But far more importantly, the award lays the foundation for a knowledge platform containing all the solutions presented. This database makes appropriate technologies accessible to all relevant players, offering them a platform where they can connect and interact. It is an ideal opportunity for various actors involved in developmental cooperation as well as innovators and researchers to enhance solutions and launch a distribution system that makes technologies available where they are urgently needed.
As Ulrike Wahl, Managing Director of the Siemens Stiftung, stated at the launch: “We hope to connect bright minds and powerful technology solutions with vulnerable people needing basic services, and to provide a tool that enables interaction, knowledge exchange, and cooperation.”
We therefore see the process of identifying technologies merely as an initial step. The challenge here lies in ensuring that existing technologies are linked to those people who know how to implement them and where. Many of those who are in need of solutions may have never heard of a particular technology that can help to solve their problem. Our goal is to bridge this knowledge gap by providing a platform that contains a catalogue of solutions and facilitates dialogue between the relevant players.