December 18 2015By Vicki Hearn
It was a proud moment for the Nominet Trust team on 9th December when we revealed this year’s amazing 2015 NT100. At our Facebook venue, we were in the company of some of the 100 finalists, with others represented by video footage, so we could share their successes with our judging partners and journalists. It was an amazing evening.
Nominet Trust champions the work of ‘tech for good’ organisations that use digital technology to address some of our most pressing global challenges. Every year, with the help of an external group of judges, we select 100 of the most inspiring organisations and individuals from around the planet to feature in the NT100. In this, our third year, we celebrate the people whose work has the power to revolutionise healthcare, empower communities, improve living conditions, protect our environment and save lives. We are constantly in awe of the pioneering work we uncover and hope that, by shining a light on the work of these projects, we can encourage others to follow in their footsteps – or offer partnership or investment opportunities.
This year, we’ve had the privilege of working with ten organisations as our judging partners, including household names from across the charity and tech world. Our partners took on the challenge of reviewing the 150 shortlisted projects to select this year’s NT100. We’re thrilled with the result - it’s packed full of examples of amazing people using digital technology in inspirational ways to make the world a better place. The potential impact of these projects is immense.
This year’s finalists come from 26 countries, with technologies that touch the lives of people on every single continent and address a wide range of social, economic and scientific challenges.
Healthcare is a key theme, many projects making innovative use of robotics, solar power, wearable tech and 3D-printing to provide affordable solutions to medical needs. The finalists include solar-powered inflatable incubators, biometrics-monitoring stick-on tattoos and an online support network for teens with mental health problems.
Many of the projects have provided timely responses to emergencies – from HALO using drones to support aid distribution in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, to Gene-RADAR using nanotechnology for pathogen detection during the Ebola outbreak, to Refugees Welcome - a social enterprise that matches some of the many refugees arriving in Europe from conflict zones with people who have spare rooms in their homes.
Mobile technology is a foundation for over half of the finalists, being especially strong in Africa and South Asia, where access to mobile phones is becoming more widespread. Two examples are DoctHERs - a project that connects female doctors with underserved female patients via video-link in Pakistan, and Labor Link - a platform for low-waged factory workers to give anonymous feedback on working conditions via text messages. Mobile apps also feature, including SafetiPin, an app for women travelling alone in New Delhi that allows loved ones to track their location on a map until they have reached their destination safely.
Geolocation has been used by some of our finalists, from Instant Detect protecting wildlife vulnerable to poachers, and Global Forest Watch keeping an eye on our forests from above, to geocoding using what3words, a system based on a 3m x 3m global grid that gives everyone and everywhere an address.
This year’s NT100 also includes projects that use digital technology to empower the next generation of technologists, for example Hack the Hood - a school that teaches coding to young people of colour in the US; and AkiraChix - an organisation that introduces young women in the slums of Nairobi to computer programming and digital design.
We’ve received some impressive media coverage this year, including these articles in The Guardian and Techworld. The global interest we’re tracking really demonstrates the growing strength of the tech for good movement and is providing a great platform to raise the profile of our finalists.
You can explore the full profiles of our 2015 NT100 in our database of 1,300 tech for good projects here: http://socialtech.org.uk/nominet-trust-100/2015/. To give you a flavour of this year’s finalists, watch our short film and see for yourself how inspiring, innovative and life changing they are.