About the Challenge
The Australia Solomon Islands Technology for Development Challenge aims to use technology to connect and support young people in Solomon Islands to maximise their skills and education to access jobs across the country and internationally. Through a competitive selection process the Challenge identified four sustainable technology driven solutions with cyber security and privacy inherent by design.
Building on previous successful initiatives run by DFAT’s Innovation Xchange the Challenge demonstrates Australia’s commitment to encourage the use of digital technology to support sustainable and inclusive development.
The Challenge winners
Over 50 proposals were received from Australia and Solomon Islands between September and December 2018. Following a detailed assessment by a panel of judges from government, industry, and civil society in Solomon Islands and Australia, the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobias Feakin officially announced the four winners at an awards ceremony in Honiara.
The four winning projects from Solomon Islands and Australia are:
Youth Career Guide by Pasifiki HR
Having surveyed local school students and career masters the Pasifiki HR team is on track to have their web platform go live by the end of the year, offering a combined career guide and job message board service.
The careers masters, or school career advisors, have been identified as one of the key stakeholders for this project, advising students about future career opportunities. The Pasifiki HR team is working with a pilot group of career masters from 10 local schools to inform platform design and student roll-out. Engaging senior high school students in a meaningful way has been one of the challenges. While students in metropolitan areas are responsive to social media videos, radio and print are being considered to reach those in more remote and unconnected parts of the country.
For the final stretch of the project the team will trial the web platform to iron out any remaining issues by visiting schools. Career Guide is expected to officially launch in the middle of next year at the annual Career Fair co-hosted with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce.
For further information please see Pasifiki HR
Olgeta by Catalpa International
A number of design workshops with students, teachers and school administrators at Rural Training Centres across Honiara informed Catalpa’s micro-learning platform Olgeta, which helps students develop future-ready skills.
Catalpa created a working prototype which they showed to users to gain further feedback and insights. A similar process was used to get feedback on two financial literacy videos that were created to augment content from UNCDF's Pacific Financial Inclusion Program. During this process the team identified the value of including real life video examples to help viewers visualise financial services and concepts.
The next stage will be to further refine the video content to improve upcoming rounds of video creation. Further micro-learning content development activities include working with UNCDF to adapt their content and add it to Olgeta.
For further information please see Catalpa International
An on-ramp to the new digital economy in the Solomon Islands by HitNet
Two outdoor digital hubs have been delivered to Honiara with one being fitted with a solar panel and assembled at the Solomon Islands National University. The touchscreen hubs will enable access to education and job-related information for young people in the surrounding area.
Early next year the team will setup their digital hubs at two trial sites in Barana community on Guadalcanal, and at the Auki Community High School on Malaita. During this time the Hitnet team will work with local residents and future users to co-create new content for the hubs and carry out important community engagement work. As part of this process Hitnet has launched a content creation competition for local filmmakers to create films about ‘Solomons in the Digital World’.
Over the remaining six months there will be a focus on project sustainability and scalability. This includes training local technicians to support the hubs, as well as exploring content distribution partnerships with Solomon Islands government and businesses.
For further information please see Hitnet
Every building is a Classroom by Common Code
The Common Code team completed their design phase, creating a working prototype of their web-based platform that maps underutilised facilities suitable for use as classrooms.
With a functional prototype the Common Code team is now able to visualise for local stakeholders and future users what the platform is designed to achieve. Forming a local project reference group helped Common Code overcome one of their major obstacles of generating consistent stakeholder engagement.
Over the next few months the team will finalise the build of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and prepare for a pilot to commence in March 2020. You can learn more about the project and see an early demo version of the platform.
For further information please see Common Code
Six months in and all four projects are on track to deliver their prototypes of technology driven solutions to maximise employment opportunities for young Solomon Islanders. Working together with local stakeholders each project has overcome unique hurdles related to rapidly building a digital platform in a development setting.
One of the goals of Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy is to use digital technologies to achieve sustainable development and inclusive economic growth in the Indo-Pacific. This includes partnering with governments and educational institutions to build digital-ready workforces and support digital upskilling across the Indo-Pacific.
Each winner has received a grant, funded by the Cyber Cooperation Program, which can be used to access professional mentoring from technology, development and business experts. The goal of each projects is to develop a prototype, to trial this prototype in the Solomon Islands and support opportunities to develop a scalable business model, which can be pitched to potential investors.
Information and resources