For Immediate Release
Sept. 15, 2011
International laureates to be honored at The Tech Awards, Silicon Valley’s preeminent awards program Innovators solve challenging issues, improve millions of lives worldwide Renowned philanthropist and social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll also recognized
SAN JOSE, SILICON VALLEY, CA – When American Dr. Laura Stachel traveled to Nigeria she was outraged by the country’s unimaginable birthing conditions: sporadic electricity, unreliable communications equipment, and no sign of blood bank refrigeration systems.
The longtime obstetrician/gynecologist’s response? Stachel, along with her husband Hal Aronson, developed WE CARE Solar (Women’s Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity), which includes a “solar suitcase” to provide emergency lighting and power for medical procedures. The suitcase has been installed in 80 clinics in Africa, Asia, and Central America, and was used for disaster relief in Haiti.
Come October 20, Stachel, of Berkeley, CA., and 14 fellow laureates from around the world will be honored for their efforts in using technology to benefit humanity during Silicon Valley’s foremost awards program, The Tech Awards. The event takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA.
The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials in association with the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University, is a signature program of The Tech Museum. The international program recognizes laureates in five categories: Environment, Economic Development, Education, Equality, and Health.
Since the inception of The Tech Awards program in 2000, 245 laureates around the world have been recognized for their work to change lives for the better – with obvious results, said Ann Bowers, chairwoman of The Tech Museum Board of Directors.
“The tens of thousands of people who didn’t have clean water to cook or bathe in Honduras now have safe, usable water today. In fact, there are millions who live in the Philippines who didn’t have access to toilets. Today that has changed, too. And in Ethiopia, where illiteracy is high, students now have access to resources to improve their knowledge, health, and behavior,” Bowers said. “Thanks to the empowering, far-reaching work of The Tech Awards laureates, our world is more humane, just and sustainable.”
The renowned program brought The Tech Museum, Applied Materials, and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society together with the hope of unleashing the potential of technological innovation into concrete solutions for a better world.
“This year’s Laureates once again demonstrate the power of innovation to help improve the lives of people around the world,” said Mike Splinter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Applied Materials. “Their incredible ingenuity and passion are an inspiration to all of us.”
As part of The Tech Awards, philanthropist Jeff Skoll will be honored with the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award, sponsored by Applied Materials. This award honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership help to alleviate humanity's greatest challenges. Skoll, who is widely considered a preeminent visionary and champion of global peace, joins an impressive roster of past recipients that includes education and cross-cultural dialogue advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Applied's Chairman Emeritus James C. Morgan, who inspired the award.
This year's laureates were selected from more than 600 nominations, sourced by, the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, an interdisciplinary center focused on promoting the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide.
The Tech Awards laureates 2011 represent regions as diverse as India, South Africa, Philippines, Honduras and the United States. Their work impacts people in many more countries worldwide. The projects represented this year include innovations to procure safe drinking water, the development of socially conscious digital games to engage young people in social issues and civic participation and an innovative solution to the inaccessibility of financial services in India.
“This year's Tech Awards applicants included hundreds of visionaries who channel their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to effect social justice by solving problems for underserved populations worldwide,” Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of CSTS, said. “To select the 15 laureates, the independent judging panels look for unique technological innovations that demonstrate the most potential for improving the human condition worldwide.”
During their weeklong stay in Silicon Valley, the laureates are engaged in specialized business and media training and networking with leading tech companies, venture capitalists, and academics, among others.
The Tech Awards Laureates 2011
Intel Environment Award
AguaClara, Cornell University, and Agua Para el Pueblo
Problem: In Honduras, safe drinking water is inaccessible to most of the population.
Solution: Water treatment facilities that operate without electricity and are reliable, affordable, and scaled to the community.
Impact: Daily service to 20,000 people in 5 communities.
Problem: Stakeholder agreement on locations of marine protected areas is essential but extremely difficult to achieve.
Solution: A web-based environment for making decisions about the best economic and ecological uses of the ocean.
Impact: Aided in creating 107 approved or pending marine protected areas, covering 3,600 square kilometers along the coast of California.
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition, and Development (WAND)
Problem: 2.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to toilets, including millions in the Philippines.
Solution: A low-cost composting toilet using local materials.
Impact: Improved water quality, reduced parasite infestation and diarrheal disease, and production of valuable fertilizer from human waste.
Microsoft Education Award
Games for Change (G4C)
Problem: Digital games present excellent opportunities to engage young people in social issues and civic participation, but non-commercial games lack resources, best practices, and a marketplace.
Solution: Provide critical tools for humanitarian projects and social change by facilitating the creation and distribution of socially conscious games by partner organizations.
Impact: Catalyzed the development of social-change games played by millions of people around the globe, and guiding more than $8M of additional investment into the sector.
PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
Problem: Science education is not achieving desired levels of student interest, literacy, and technical expertise.
Solution: Freely available, easily translatable, interactive simulations of physical phenomena and principles that support better science education.
Impact: 50 million uses in 64 languages.
Whiz Kids Workshop: Tsehai’s Fidel School
Problem: Many young students in Ethiopia drop out of school before becoming functionally literate in the Amharic alphabet, with its daunting 231 characters.
Solution: Deconstruct the alphabet into a system of roots that are taught by Tsehai, a popular puppet on television who has also become a role model for young children.
Impact: The weekly show reaches 2.5 million Ethiopian children, improving their knowledge, health, and behavior.
Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award
[Hindi: “give your voice”]
Problem: Rural people in developing regions lack access to on-demand localized information sources and a platform to “give their voice,” to share what they know.
Solution: An interactive, voice-based platform supporting knowledge sharing over phones. Offers high-quality, relevant information in any language.
Impact: Used in India by social development organizations in agriculture, labor rights, education, and women’s empowerment.
Problem: Millions of children in developing countries lack proper desks when studying.
Solution: Light, durable, easily transported polymer desktops, imprinted with educational aids and key social messaging, that students balance on their laps.
Impact: 1.2 million desks distributed in Africa. In partnership with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Tutudesk Campaign expects to distribute an additional 20 million desks by 2015.
Problem: Many videos are inaccessible because of the prohibitive cost and difficulty of creating captions and translations.
Solution: A simple, open, and collaborative way to subtitle videos.
Impact: 25,000 videos translated in the first 9 months, with 100,000 more expected by the end of 2011. Used extensively by media during recent global events, including the Arab Spring and Japanese tsunami.
Nokia Health Award
Problem: Thousands of villages in India lack access to modern medical facilities and affordable, safe drinking water.
Solution: Tech-enabled clinics delivering reliable, affordable, high-quality care, medicines, and diagnostics through community health workers along with offering safe drinking water.
Impact: 8 clinics and 75 associated WaterPoints serving 250,000 people.
Problem: In India, potable water is unavailable to 150 million people and is unaffordable to those making less than $2/day.
Solution: Franchised water treatment facilities that provide real-time information over the cellular network to manage quality and quantity remotely. Among the distribution methods are solar-powered “water ATMs.”
Impact: 120 facilities in India, serving 60,000 people for less than $3/month/family.
WE CARE Solar (Women’s Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity)
Problem: Lighting, power, and communications are essential for operating clinics and medical facilities, but in many areas electricity is unavailable or unreliable.
Solution: A “solar suitcase” to provide emergency lighting and power for medical procedures.
Impact: Installed in 100 clinics in Africa, Asia, and Central America, and used for disaster relief in Haiti.
Flextronics Economic Development Award
Eko India Financial Services
Problem: Financial services are inaccessible to a majority of India’s population.
Solution: Simple, instant, and safe banking and money-transfer services, using no-frill phones, through small-business partners.
Impact: 800,000 clients, including migrant laborers, carry out millions of dollars in transactions daily.
Problem: Remote irrigation pumps are difficult to monitor and control—compromising crop yields, wasting water and energy, adding to costs, and augmenting stress for farmers.
Solution: A simple, low-cost, mobile phone-based device that allows remote monitoring and operation of irrigation pumps.
Impact: 10,000 devices installed in India.
Rickshaw Bank Project
Problem: Rickshaw drivers are among the poorest of urban workers in India.
Solution: “Rent to own” financing of newly designed rickshaws that are safer, lighter, and more efficient.
Impact: 5,000 new rickshaws in use, 1,700 already owned; improved health and earnings for rickshaw drivers.
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About The Tech Museum
The Tech Museum is a hands-on science and technology institution designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought, and inspire action. Ensconced in the heart of Silicon Valley, the museum captures the spirit of the region through innovative content and programs such The Tech Challenge, our annual team design competition for youth, and the internationally renowned The Tech Awards, which recognizes technology to benefit humanity. Daily, The Tech Museum celebrates the present and encourages the development of pioneering ideas for a more promising future.
About Applied Materials, Inc
Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of advanced semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic products. Our technologies help make innovations like smartphones, flat screen TVs and solar panels more affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses around the world. At Applied Materials, we turn today's innovations into the industries of tomorrow. Learn more at www.appliedmaterials.com.
About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society
The mission of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide, primarily by working with socially-minded entrepreneurs. The CSTS implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, its partnership with The Tech Museum in The Tech Awards program, the Frugal Innovation Lab and its numerous educational and public engagement activities. CSTS is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University that embody the University’s mission to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. More information can be found at http://www.scu.edu/socialbenefit.