London (December 14, 2016): Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, has today unveiled the 2016 NT100 — a celebration of the 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive social change around the world. Now in its fourth year, the 2016 NT100 gives special recognition to ‘Everyday Tech Heroes’ — the inspirational people who have first-hand experience of the challenges they are tackling with tech.
The organisations chosen for this year’s NT100 have wide-ranging purposes, from those determined to democratise access to quality education and healthcare, to those connecting minority communities and evoking empathy. As in 2015, improving humanitarian response was again a strong and topical theme. But while the projects featured in the 2015 NT100 were largely responsive, in 2016 they demonstrate how humanitarian resources can be predictively deployed to mitigate crises and make sure scant resources are used well.
Other key themes in the 2016 NT100 include:
- Social inclusion: Despite 10% of the world’s population living with a disability, they are a chronically underrepresented group; yet over 10% of the ventures in 2016 NT100 are using technology to help people live more inclusive and autonomous lives. Projects include EVA Park — a virtual environment to help those with aphasia recover communication skills; Hand Talk — a Brazilian innovation introducing Hugo, a virtual interpreter that translates between spoken languages and sign language; Disrupt Disability – which has created the world’s first open source wheelchair designs; and the South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO) – the UK’s only disabled-led regional youth orchestra. The founder of DisruptDisability, Rachael Wallach, and the SWOYO musicians are celebrated as Everyday Tech Heroes for imaginatively using technology to demonstrate how a physical disability need not inhibit your mobility or even deter you from being a world-class musician.
- Economic Empowerment: Eight NT100 ventures featured in 2016 are trailblazing routes towards economic empowerment for people who have been disenfranchised for too long. Giraffe is a free recruitment app to help tackle high levels of unemployment in Cape Town, while Bim is a ground-breaking mobile money platform, opening up financial services to rural communities in Peru. Everyday Tech Heroes Nova Credit watched their families struggle financially when emigrating to the US, so they set up the world’s first international credit reporting agency, helping people to access essential funds to get established as new arrivals.
- Health: Health remains a strong theme this year, with a greater emphasis on mental health. Three of the projects focus on helping those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – estimated to affect 7-8% of the US population alone. Projects include MyBivy, which helps PTSD patients to avoid night terrors and BraveMind, a virtual reality therapeutic game that supports those recovering. Pioneering research from the team behind SimSensei has shown that a virtual human clinician can help PTSD sufferers and others to open up, enabling more effective mental health diagnosis and treatment.
- Education: 10 of the NT100 show how technology can deliver education to excluded groups. One example, Kiron, is an online tool providing a world-class education to refugees who are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. Other ventures include OneUni, which aims to give everyone access to a university education through a mobile phone, and iScoil – an Irish online education system to help those who left school early to get back on track.
- Water: In 2016 we saw some incredible breakthroughs in delivering clean water to everyone. Innovations ran the entire ‘pipeline’ including WaterScope – bringing fast, cheap and reliable water-testing kits to local communities in India and Gambia using a raspberry pi and a 3d printer, mWater – a global community of water surveyors working to highlight which places still need clean water, and Driblet – a smart water meter that monitors water usage, pressure and temperature and has the potential to cut water consumption by up to 30%.
- Safety: 10% of the 2016 NT100 focuses on technology that helps keep people safe, from the protection of those in conflict-zones to young people experiencing bullying. Mine Kafon Drone, an airborne drone that can detect and remove landmines, was founded by Everyday Tech Hero Massoud Hassani. Having grown up near the minefields in Kabul, Hassani drew inspiration from his childhood to develop Mine Kafon to help clear the world’s landmines quickly and systematically and raise global awareness. In the UK Michael Brennan, another Everyday Tech Hero, responded to his own experience of being bullied as a young boy by creating tootoot – a safe and anonymous online reporting environment that gives students a voice.
Commenting on the 2016 NT100, Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “In our fourth year of the NT100, we have discovered 700 more social tech innovations from across the globe.It is truly inspiring to know that so many entrepreneurs from all walks of life are embracing digital technology as a force for social good. We hope inclusion in the 2016 NT100 provides a valuable stepping-stone for these life-enhancing ventures to raise their profile and secure further investment.”
“NT100 provides a platform that amplifies the collective power of the tech for good community. It has a valuable role to play ininspiring those with the influence and resources to accelerate the adoption of tech for social good and brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs, charities, technologists and others to share knowledge, experiences and skills to introduce social change on a global scale.”
“Vitally, our recognition of Everyday Tech Heroes this year shows that you don’t have to have influence and a big budget to play an inspirational role. With the right tech tools and a powerful desire to change the status quo, these heroes are tackling some of the world’s most pressing social challenges – starting with the ones on their own doorsteps.”
“The NT100 is a powerful and influential initiative, bringing together many hundreds of social tech innovations from around the world which each embrace digital technology for good,” comments Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, founder and funder of Nominet Trust. “That such a diverse selection of inspiring projects is curated in this way is so important, not least for the global platform it provides each of them to secure future investment, but for the wide-ranging challenges they help to address and solve. As the founder and funder of Nominet Trust, we are delighted that through supporting international campaigns like the NT100, and UK-based tech-for-good ventures, Nominet is able to play a key role in helping to create a vibrant digital future, for all.”
The 2016 NT100 was selected following a three-month period of research and public nominations. Shortlisted projects were reviewed by a panel of organisations including: Big Lottery Fund, Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Nominet, Oxfam, Telefonica O2 and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.
The complete 2016 NT100 is now live at http://socialtech.org.uk/nominet-trust-100/2016/.