Yoti is hoping to use digital identities to advance conservation efforts in Southern Africa. To that end, the company has issued an African Conservation Challenge, offering a $15,000 prize to the web developer that comes up with the best pitch for an online forum that will bring various stakeholders together to discuss wildlife policy.
The African Conservation Challenge is open to all African web developers, whether they act as individuals or are part of a larger organization. Those interested in participating are asked to submit a short outline that explains how the proposed forum will work, and what the layout will look like when it appears online. Yoti stressed that the submissions are only preliminary proposals, and will be judged accordingly. The winner will work with Yoti and Resource Africa to refine the plan and develop a final product that delivers the necessary functionality.
According to Yoti, the new platform will help ensure that the rural communities who live near and maintain conservation areas are adequately represented in policy discussions with the government and other members of the public. The proposed forum would use ‘verified identities’ to build trust between the different parties.
“For far too long a technology gap has crippled the ability of local communities to participate in public discussion that informs policies that directly affect their lives,” said Resource Africa Programmes Manager Moreangels Mbizah. “This platform will help open up democratic space for respectful and meaningful engagement where rural Africans can express their views, perspectives, and concerns on their own rights, on their own terms.”
The initiative is part of Yoti’s broader Social Purpose Strategy. The company previously launched a Humanitarian Tech Support Programme to help humanitarian organizations develop technologies that will allow them to meet their goals, as well as a Fellowship Programme that provides financial support for grassroots identity projects. Yoti has also participated in several research projects to learn more about the digital identity needs of people in Africa.
The deadline for African Conservation Challenge submissions is May 31, 2021.
(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)