Supporting citizen innovation through the Mahallae challenges

Mar 28, 2014

Mahallae Challenges

The UNDP-ACT programme has recently launched its new mechanism for supporting citizen innovation through, the Mahallae Challenges. Mahallae, the digital neighbourhood for civic engagement, is now hosting a series of challenges which invite social innovators to come up with innovative and tech-enabled solutions to address some of the most pressing issues facing both Cyprus and the region. This first set of challenges is under the thematic areas of youth entrepreneurship, women and dialogue and common vision for the future. The application process takes place online via the Mahallae platform.

Funding of up to $30,000 and technical support will be available to support the development of technology enabled tools, products or services that can demonstrate support from the communities and can be replicated outside of Cyprus. Possible top up funding of up to $20,000 is also available to Cypriot based solutions that can demonstrate match funding and replication through partnerships in the Euro Mediterranean region.

UND-ACT Programme Manager, Christopher Louise explained, “We wanted to take an alternative approach to the traditional funding call. Usually UNDP will launch a call for proposals, but we realised that this type of mechanism doesn’t always generate the best ideas or allow for innovation”. 

During the Mahallae launch event on 20 March 2014, Louise emphasized the role of innovation in social change: “We want each challenge to provide a space for creativity and innovative partnerships which release big ideas that benefit all communities in Cyprus. And in response we will support the best ideas with funding, resources and encouragement”. 

Knowledge and Innovation Practice Leader Nilgun Arif added “The most exciting part of this process is that we are making community feedback and enthusiasm the incentive to innovate. Through Mahallae we are able to ask the public to become a part of the process for selecting which projects to fund. Keeping the application process public also allows us to ensure that the process remain transparent and accountable to the people who we are serving”

Full details of the application process can be found here