TIFTER ETHIOPIA - UNDP awards winners of local innovation challenge to tackle COVID-19

September 14, 2021

UNDP has partnered with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MiNT) to engage the tech sector and young innovators who are developing home-grown solutions to tackle the impact of the COVID19 pandemic in Ethiopia.

The TIFTER ETHIOPIA challenge grant selected and awarded seventeen home-grown innovative solutions through two rounds of competition. Tifter derives from an Amharic word meaning innovate and “TIFTER ETHIOPIA” means let Ethiopia innovate. In this context of complexity and uncertainty, tackling the pandemic and its impacts require joint efforts of all actors who work across systems and sectors, both public and private, quickly and at scale.

In the first challenge round, the focus was on solutions that combat the pandemic’s negative impact on public health and social issues. The selected innovators from the first round accessed financial support and a space to experiment and help them to scale up their solutions. 

Left to right : Muluken Anteneh demonstrates mechanical ventilator he developed Mr. Turhan Saleh (UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative) and HE Alemtsehay Paulos (State Minister of Health)

The second round focused on quickly testing the rollout of e-governance and e-services provision for critical government functions to ensure business continuity. Moreover, the innovators accessed capacity building training and coaching sessions to help them clearly define challenges and make solutions tailored to the needs of the end-users. UNDP accelerator lab helped to define the challenges and and tailor the solutions to the users need.

Speaking at the award ceremony, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Turhan Saleh reiterated, “UNDP’s commitment to work with the innovation and tech community in Ethiopia to boost the innovation ecosystem to solve development challenges posed by COVID-19 and beyond.” 

UNDP is already actively investing in helping Ethiopia to explore local innovative ideas, facilitate tests and scale-up.

Since the very early stages of the pandemic, UNDP has supported Ethiopia to prepare, respond and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its intervention on COVID-19 focused on high priority policy and advisory support for assessment and planning; continuity of critical government functions; mitigation of the social impact of the virus; reinforcement of social capital to fight the pandemic; and addressing the negative impacts of the pandemic on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in terms of impact on employment in both the formal and informal sectors. 

In partnership with Japan, UNDP created jobs for vulnerable communities that were finding it hard to make ends meet during the pandemic. With Dalberg, UNDP provided COVID-19 prevention materials to the most vulnerable population.

In partnership with Viamo, UNDP conducted mass awareness creation campaigns and trainings using mobile technology in industrial parks.

UNDP has also handed over personal protective equipment as well as ICT tools worth over US$930,000 to support critical business continuity of Ethiopia’s public service during the COVID19 pandemic.