BSS-68 Youth come up with digital solutions to fight COVID-19

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Youth come up with digital solutions to fight COVID-19

DHAKA, July 21, 2020 (BSS) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched Digital Khichuri Challenge among youths to find the solutions for addressing the stigma and discrimination faced by COVID-19, as part of its ongoing initiative to bring peace and tolerance in the digital space.

The grand finale of the competition was held virtually on Tuesday after the end of month long activities, a UNDP press release said.

BD Fact Check was awarded as the Champion and Swapno Joy was awarded as the 1st runner-up for the Startup level. Punchforon was awarded as the Champion and Swayong was awarded as the 1st runner-up for the Idea level.

The winning teams received the prize money of $5000 and mentorship support from YY Goshti.

Attending the finale as the Chief Guest, State Minister for ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, said, “The social stigma associated with COVID 19 is making the situation worse. Technology and proper education can help to reduce this stigma. This episode of Digital Khichuri Challenge is a very timely initiative of UNDP and ICT Division is a proud partner of DKC.”

The COVID-19 crisis is not just a pandemic but it also creates “infodemic.” The State Minister urged all to be sensible while browsing social media.

Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh in her remarks said, “The COVID outbreak is not just a health crisis, but a crisis which has multifaceted challenges including discrimination, social stigma, domestic violence, adding with preexisting socioeconomic problems in the country. Youth with their creative and innovative minds are joining the force to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.”

“During this health crisis, tolerance is needed in all spheres of life, and on every level and in every stage because it plays a vital role in establishing peace and love in the society. That’s why we have been running this Digital Khichuri Challenge with the ICT Division for the last four years,” Van further added.

The Digital Khichuri Challenge (DKC) is a competition for the young Bangladeshi changemakers who are intent on making the digital space safer and more tolerant. Implemented by UNDP’s Partnerships for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB) project since 2016, DKC has been helping to develop and support peaceful and positive narratives in Bangladesh, as part of their Digital Peace Movement. DKC has completed five cohorts till date, supported 60 teams and engaged 13 incubated platforms.

This time, owing to the ongoing COVID crisis, DKC completely transitioned its activities online. 14 promising teams, selected from a pool of 500 applicants had to go through an elaborate 3-day long ideation process, known as the Idea Lab, to fine tune their solutions. At the end of the Idea Lab, the teams presented their ideas in the presence of the jury panel.

Among others, 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 were also present in the closing ceremony.

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