Cameroonian pregnancy app and circular economy workshops in Paris win Geneva Global Games

Jury for the digital health track with moderator Timothée Spörli at the Geneva Global Games. (Photo by Megha Kaveri)

The first edition of the Geneva Global Games saw a number of ideas on how to green the economy and improve health through digital solutions.

If things go as planned, Parisian adolescents and would-be mothers in Cameroon will soon feature in the story of an improved planet. Two projects – one on conducting workshops for French youth to shift to a circular economy lifestyle and the other one on an app to monitor the health parameters of pregnant women in Cameroon – were the winners of the Geneva Global Games 2022.

The event was held in Geneva on Thursday and was hosted by the Think Tank Hub, a joint platform led by foraus, the Swiss think tank on foreign policy, and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Eight organisations from different parts of the world presented their innovative ideas on green economy and digital health to a jury, consisting of experts from international Geneva, including from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Geneva Hub for Global Digital Health, The Lancet & Financial Times Commission: Governing Health Futures 2030: Growing up in a digital world and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The two winning pitches belonged to the International Development Research Network (IDRN), France, in the green economy track and Nkafu Policy Institute, Cameroon, in the digital health track.

IDRN’s pitch envisioned educating youth on green transition and shifting their lifestyle to a circular economy through workshops for adolescents which will focus on three aspects – eating green, local and seasonal produce; encouraging use of biking and public transport; and recycling. Andrea Limon, the director of IDRN, said that the target of the project is to help adolescents identify and change their own behaviour.

Speaking about the selection of this project as the winner, Helen Burdett, from the WEF, said: “We [the jury] felt that the idea pitches varied in their level of development and how the programme support will most benefit them. We ultimately selected the pitch with the clearest path forward—a great idea with potential to scale to youth around the world.”

In the digital health track, Nkafu Policy Institute’s project BornFyne, a mobile application helping pregnant women monitor their health and pregnancy grabbed the top spot. The app uses functions like recording details, scheduling prenatal visits and creating awareness on issues like family planning, preeclampsia, Covid-19 precautions etc. Cameroon has a maternal mortality ratio of 529 per 100,000 live births and during Covid-19, countries across the globe recorded an increase of eight to 38.6 per cent in their maternal mortality ratio.

The app has proven to improve prenatal care in women in Cameroon in a pilot study conducted by the institute, the founder Denis Foretia told the jury, adding that the way forward now is to scale it up.

The jury was particularly impressed by the results shown by BornFyne and the team’s promising engagement with the governmental and non-governmental authorities.

Other initiatives presented in the competition covered issues such tackling food waste through a compost measuring bin, bringing together renewable energy with carbon trading schemes in Mongolia, and researching which digital solutions could help combat diabetes in Southeast Asia.

Among the questions raised to the participating teams were issues around data privacy, role of corporate responsibility in the curriculum for the circular economy workshops, the economics of and the parties responsible for implementing the compost measuring bin and the possibility of engagement with government funding agencies.

The pitching sessions were followed by networking sessions where all the participating teams received one-on-one sessions with jury members.. Both the winning teams will now be contacted by the Think Tank Hub to discuss the support needed to accomplish their respective visions.

This article was realised in partnership with the Geneva Global Games 2022 , which was hosted by the Think Tank Hub – a joint platform by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foraus.