Monday, August 8, 2022

Nigeria’s Hillspring Diagnostics wins UNFPA global innovation award

Twenty finalists pitched their innovative ideas, with the eventual 10 winners signing nine-month contracts with UNFPA. They will receive an equity-free investment of $60,000.

• August 5, 2022
UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

A Nigerian-based organisation, Hillspring Diagnostics, has won the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) global innovation award for one of the 10 projects that will advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

UNFPA announced the 10 winners of its first-ever Joint Innovation Challenge on Thursday.

The competition is a cutting-edge competition to provide funding for social enterprises with innovative solutions that advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

Speaking on the award at a news conference in New York, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said women headed the 10 organisations that won the award.

Mr Dujarric added that Hillspring Diagnostics came up with a revolutionary method for detecting ectopic pregnancy. According to him, organisations headed by women from other nine countries of Costa Rica, Armenia, Mongolia, Uganda, Turkey, Colombia, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Cameroon were honoured.

Mr Dujarric explained that the winners pitched various innovations, from a portable diagnostic system for pre-eclampsia to a board game that shares information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“The 10 winners each received 60,000 dollars which will allow these organisations to move from pilot stage to scale,’’ he said.

The challenge was financed by UNFPA’s Equaliser Accelerator Fund and implemented in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Trade Centre.

Entrants were given the incentive of a cash prize which would allow them to expand their ideas from the test stage to full production for the potential benefit of millions around the world. The challenge received further funding from Luxembourg, Finland, and Denmark.

Launched in 2021, UNFPA’s Fund provides equity-free investments in social enterprises that are led or co-led by women and can show evidence of the impact they will have.

Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s executive director, said, “Creative thinking and innovative solutions are key to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.”

According to her, the 2022 challenge is awarding 10 women-helmed organisations from five different regions globally. Initially, a panel of experts received 300 submissions from 61 countries. 

Twenty finalists pitched their innovative ideas, with the eventual 10 winners signing nine-month contracts with UNFPA. They will receive an equity-free investment of $60,000.

(NAN)

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