The grand finale of the Digital Khichuri Challenge 2019, a competition for Bangladeshi young changemakers for formulating solutions to make the digital space safer and more tolerant, took place on 11 December 2019, at the BCC Auditorium, ICT Division.
Partnering with Facebook and Bangladesh ICT Division, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiated its youth-centric platform "Digital Khichuri Challenge" in 2016 in order to uphold the cultural diversity, pluralism and tolerance. The overarching objective of this initiative has been to facilitate the youth to develop positive alternatives to exclusionary appeals that underpin violence.
After the successful completion of the 5th cohort, this time DKC returned to Dhaka, the place where the journey started from. DKC brought together 10 teams, 5 student-led teams and 5 startups, of social entrepreneurs, programmers, grassroots leaders, designers, storytellers, students, and others to compete in a fast-paced hackathon in BRAC CDM Savar from 8-10 December to formulate new digital platforms and solutions that can provide digital literacy to the migrant workers.
This time DKC addressed a very timely and pressing issue – providing digital literacy to the migrant workers of Bangladesh. Migrant workers have inherently been subject to a lot of obstacles and struggles. Many of them often find themselves in places distant from their Bangladeshi migrant community, leading a life of isolation and social exclusion. They only find solace and some companionship using social media heavily to spend their time and keep in touch with their family, increasing their social media usage compared to when they were in Bangladesh. However, they lack awareness of the risks posed by social media, making them vulnerable to cybercrime, cyberbullying, disinformation and propaganda. The selected teams and startups at DKC formulated solutions to provide digital literacy to the migrant workers and protect them against the perils of the cyberspace.
They presented their solutions at the closing ceremony in the presence of the jury, fellow participants, UNDP representatives and other esteemed guests. Team Edsight and Choukosh were awarded as the winner and runner-up respectively in the student category. Team We workers and Probash Kotha were awarded as the winner and runner-up respectively in the startup category.
Ed-Sight is an app-driven solution that will give language lessons to the migrants and help them analyze fake news through a trial and error approach. Choukosh is a live quiz app based on cybersecurity and digital literacy. The users will get a point for each round they cross, which can be redeemed to purchase gifts from their integrated online shop. They hope this app-driven gamified solution will engage the migrant workers.
Team We Workers developed a one-stop solution to protect the female migrant workers against violence through an audio or video recording based reporting system. Mediators called "community angels" will then support to resolve the solution. Probash Kotha wants to disseminate online content on digital literacy through digital dramas, digital posters, celebrity endorsements, live streaming, focus discussion and creating community leaders.
Ms Tina F Jabeen, Investment Advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division, Faruk Ahmed Jewel - Head of Innovation Lab- A2i, Arafat Ara - Financial Express and Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman, WARBE Development Foundation were part of the jury board.
In her opening remarks, Ms Sonia Mehzabeen, Operations Manager, UNDP Bangladesh mentioned "UNDP has always been dedicated to ensuring development is inclusive and holistic and we are glad that through DKC we are paving the way for the youth to make an impact". Ms Rehana Akhter, a migrant worker from Dubai spoke of her struggles and challenges and expressed her gratitude to the organizing team for arranging this event. Mr Nazmul Islam, DGE, Multilateral Economics Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said "We now see even literate people falling prey to fake news. What we need is not just literacy, but also awareness to inform everyone of the safe use of the internet". Honorable Minister Mr Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, State Minister, ICT Division, appreciated DKC's approach for instilling digital literacy into the migrant workers, in line with the government's mandate. He mentioned "We want to create a digital Bangladesh with digitally literate citizens", in support of DKC's mandate.
Robert Stoelman, Senior Programme Manager, UNDP Bangladesh, Shidartho Goushami, Coordinator of DKC and Ms Mahmuda Afroz, Portfolio Manager, Democratic Governance, UNDP Bangladesh were also present at the event.