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PRESS RELEASE: MIT Solve Announces 2017 Women and Technology Challenge Solvers Following Live Pitch Event

Selected Solvers Join the Solve Community to Pilot, Scale and Implement Solutions

MIT’s Solve initiative announced the 2017 Solvers for the Women and Technology Challenge yesterday afternoon at the Solve Challenge Finals in New York City. The Challenge is co-chaired by Ursula M. Burns, Retired Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation, and Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo. These Solvers were selected from hundreds of submissions to the Women and Technology Challenge to pitch their solutions to a live audience and a panel of expert judges including Kate Ahern, Director of Bain Capital, and Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer of Mozilla.

As Solvers, each of the eight chosen will join the Solve community to build partnerships with cross-sector leaders that help pilot, scale and implement their solutions.

“When we launched this set of Global Challenges in May, we could not have imagined the incredible set of solutions we would receive: 953 solutions from 103 countries across all four Challenges,” said Alex AmouyelExecutive Director of Solve. “It was a difficult competition, and our judges had a tough task ahead of them in choosing the Solvers. But now, we could not be more excited to help these innovators pilot and scale for global impact.”

The 2017 Women and Technology Solvers, listed below, have developed creative and innovative solutions for issues that prevent women and girls of all socioeconomic backgrounds from full economic participation. 

The 2017 Women and Techonology Solvers

  • Annie Cannons: Annie Cannons Technology Program for Survivors provides training to human trafficking survivors training in high-paying or technical skills worldwide, and secures client work focused on projects that address issues facing women and girls today, so the survivors can earn in a flexible, trauma-recovery-friendly environment. 
  • Digital Citizen Fund: This fund trains young Afghan women in critical technology and job skills that give them a chance to compete in an ever-growing global economy connected by the internet, through a program that teaches basic computer skills that then build into student initiated work through the fund’s online marketplace. Students start their own blogs and earn Bitcoin for their work to help them gain voice and economic freedom. A current group of DCF students was recently the first team to represent Afghanistan at the FIRST Global Robotics Olympiad in Washington, D.C. 
  • doctHERs: doctHERs reintegrates female healthcare providers (HCPs) who’ve been excluded from the workforce using a digital health platform that connects remotely-located female doctors to health consumers via trusted intermediaries. doctHERs will ultimately match the underutilized capacity of female doctors to the unmet needs of millions of underserved Pakistanis. 
  • Erase All Kittens: Erase All Kittens is the first game specifically designed to inspire girls to code and teach them practical coding languages through story-driven gameplay to help close the gender gap in technology. The game aims to transform how girls aged 8-13 perceive code education and software engineering. 
  • Girls Who Build Curricula: A series of creative, applied engineering curricula for girls designed by engineers and published online for anyone to view. The courses are developed and tested with local high school girls in Massachusetts, and courses are adjusted based on the feedback to ensure that the material is interesting and easy to understand. 
  • Know Your Rights: An application aimed at introducing all the rights of Saudi females in general, and specifically their rights before Personal Status Courts for family legal matters including child custody, divorce and alimony lawsuits. The application provides free legal information for women, free consultations through a “Free Legal Advise” icon, and a list of independent lawyers who provide free consultations through the “Lawyers Directory” icon. 
  • Saathi: Saathi has developed the world’s first 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fiber with zero chemicals. This product empowers marginalized communities and reduces women’s carbon footprint. Additionally, it provides an extra source of income to farmers who historically toss the banana fiber. 
  • TruTrade: TruTrade helps small farmers – women in particular – retain and receive the true value for the crops they sell by using a smart digital platform to transform the relationship between small farmers and the middlemen who historically transport their crops to market. TruTrade is designed to provide trade finance and a platform that allows for payment and traceability.

A full list of 2017 Solvers across all four challenges can be found below:

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