The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Winners of the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge

Competition discovers 10 top innovations that are transforming the livelihoods of informal workers

Jun 18, 2013, 11:25 ET from The Rockefeller Foundation

NEW YORK, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation has selected 10 Winners of the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge, a competition launched in search of solutions that improve livelihoods for poor or vulnerable workers in the world's informal economies – the business enterprises and jobs that exist partially or completely outside of government regulation. Chosen from out of 2260 submissions from 124 countries, each of the 10 winners will receive individualized support to enable the further development of their solutions, in addition to an invitation to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 from The Rockefeller Foundation.

"The Centennial Innovation Challenge was designed to enable the Foundation and the global community to find, support, and ultimately scale up the most innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation.  "This year, the Foundation is proud to announce 10 Winners who were chosen for their breakthrough ideas to transform the livelihoods of millions of poor or vulnerable people working in informal economies worldwide. "With so many of the world's population making their living in the informal economy, these innovative solutions have the potential to spark catalytic change in the lives of millions."

Informal employment is a significant and growing part of the world's economy; it accounts for around 50% of employment in North Africa and in Latin America, 65% of employment in Asia, and 72% in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As employment in informal economies continue to grow in every part of the world, new and critical innovations to improve the lives of these workers – often sourced on the ground – are beginning to emerge. 

The Winners of the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge are:

#1 Power to the Pickers: Technology for India's Informal Workers
Organization: Never Let Your Waste Go To Waste 
Ahmedabad City, Gujarat State, India

#2 A New Social Network: Connecting STEM Professionals with E-Waste Workers
Organization: Ecole Speciale d 'Architecture and Pennsylvania State University
Agbogbloshie, Ghana

#3 Empowering A New Generation of Street Vendors through Disaster Risk Management
Organization: WIEGO
Durban, South Africa

#4 Linking In: Building Trust in Hiring Through Greater Transparency
Organization: Duma, Inc.

#5 A Better Health Plan for Pakistan's Informal Economy
Organization: Naya Jeevan
Karachi, Pakistan

#6 The Mobile CV: Overcoming Literacy Barriers to Employment through Using Mobile Interactive Voice Response Technology
Organization: JobMatch
Middle East and Africa

#7 Micro-insurance for the Informal Worker
Organization: Connexion Sans Frontiers (Login Without Borders)
West Africa

#8 Healthy Foods and New Jobs for East Africa's Slums
Organization: Mamacart
East Africa

#9 Transaction without Transport: Social Lending to Empower Smallholder Farmers
Organization: Grameen Foundation
Eastern Kenya

#10 Uma Mensagem Para a Liberdade: Safe Passage to Freedom
Organization: Uma Mensagem Para a Liberdade
Brazil, with potential for Latin America and Worldwide

Already in its second year, the Centennial Innovation Challenge has been successful at activating a global community to look for solutions to the critical issues and challenges that impact the lives of the most poor or vulnerable among us.  The winners of the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge emerged from among a select group of Finalists chosen by an international panel of judges that included: Oscar Silva (President, Streetnet International), Ai-Jen Poo (CEO, Domestic Workers Alliance), Amolo  Ng'weno (Managing Director, Digital Data Divide Kenya), Seiji Machida (Director, Programme on SafeWork at the ILO); Ashvin Dayal (Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation); Hilary Tabish (Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation).

The Foundation will continue to share information on the winning solutions as they grow and mature, in an effort to ensure long term sustainability and impact.  More information, news, and updates about, the Finalists, the Winners and their solutions can be found at the 2013 Centennial Innovation web site:

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, the Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today's dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision-making. Please visit for more information.

SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation