Global Innovation Challenge 2016

Global Innovation Challenge 2016 participants assessed problems and developed innovative social, economic, technological, and public-policy solutions to meet the sanitation needs of one of the world's most vulnerable populations: the 360 million children and adults with disabilities worldwide.

Global innovation Challenge 2016: Recap

Background Information

May 16-21, 2016, University at Buffalo

Become part of an interdisciplinary team as you:

  • support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
  • apply your knowledge and skills in a creative, problem-solving environment
  • gain experience working in an interdisciplinary team
  • receive immediate, constructive feedback on your ideas from international experts from India, Uganda, and the United Kingdom
  • compete for the opportunity to earn up to $10,000 for idea development

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.” Using a five-day workshop format, Global Innovation Challenge: 2016 will focus on UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for All, with an emphasis on meeting the sanitation needs of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations: the 360 million children and adults with disabilities worldwide.

Among the greatest challenges in the world today, sanitation solutions require innovative thinking from diverse perspectives. As such, Global Innovation Challenge: 2016 is open to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from all majors: anthropology to architecture, English to engineering, media to management, political science to public health. Students will participate in team-building exercises and will develop innovative proposals.

With faculty mentorship, participants will work in interdisciplinary teams and with international partners such as WaterAid, a world leader in improving the delivery of healthy water and equitable sanitation systems in 27 countries, to develop social, economic, technological, and public policy solutions. The week-long workshop will culminate in an exhibition and an opportunity to earn up to $10,000 to support further development and the evaluation of emerging solutions.

Healthy meals and snacks will be provided for all participants (regardless of enrollment option) each day. All participants will receive a certificate of completion, and may select from one of three enrollment options:

  • as a one-credit elective course
  • as the first week of a three-credit course
  • as a non-credit, fee-based workshop ($100) for present UB students and recently-matriculated UB students.

Students from outside UB may attend through enrollment in one of the course options if space permits.

UB students who need financial assistance are encouraged to request information and application materials for scholarships.

Experts in Residence

The Community for Global Health Equity invited three international colleagues to UB who have expertise in the fields of water, sanitation, and hygiene and research and policy for people with disabilities. 2016 experts offered contextual guidance and support to students and faculty throughout the Innovation Challenge.

Ashabrick Nantege Bamutaze

Senior Training and Development Officer, Appropriate Technology Centre for Water and Sanitation
Mukono, Uganda

Asha's training and work experience focus around research, geography, the environment, and public health. She developed an interest in issues of equity and inclusion as a result of field experiences where she witnessed the unspeakable challenges people with physical disabilities go through in an effort to access water and sanitation. Since 2011, she has been engaged in a number of activities to develop experimental technological innovations to address the plight of vulnerable people needing access to water and sanitation.

Mahesh Chandrasekar

Director, Research and Advocacy, Dream a Dream
Bengaluru, India

Mr. Chandrasekar specializes in advocacy, policy, program development and training. As Director for research and advocacy at Dream a Dream, he leads the policy influencing initiatives in life skills, child development, youth development and education. He has contributed to critical policy amends as the lead of civil society networks such as - International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), BOND Disability and Development Task Group and Community Based Rehabilitation India Network. His extensive work with impoverished communities in urban and rural areas is based on the principles of equity and dismantling structural barriers.

Reena Sen, PhD, MA

Executive Director, Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy
Kolkata, India

Dr. Sen is a teacher by profession and has worked intensively in the classroom with children with cerebral palsy with varying degrees of abilities. This has provided excellent opportunities for her to learn about all aspects of basic management of cerebral palsy and neuro-motor disabilities. During 1984-87 she lived in Kochi where she founded Raksha, an NGO that continues to thrive as a nodal centre for disability in Kerala. Her area of specialization is literacy and intervention for specific learning difficulties; she works for all issues related to equal access and opportunities for marginalised groups, particularly persons with disability to high quality education.  Apart from her work with persons with cerebral palsy, she coordinates IICP’s work with mainstream schools helping them to meet the needs of students who have learning, emotional and behavioural problems through assessment and guidance, and training practitioners and policy makers.