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Youth come up with digital solutions to fight against Covid-19 stigma

  • Published at 11:52 pm July 21st, 2020
Coronavirus Test
File photo: People wait in queue for hours - with no regard for social distancing - to get tested for Covid-19 at the Central Police Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The grand finale of the competition was held virtually on Tuesday after finishing the monthlong activities

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has launched Digital Khichuri Challenge among youth to find the solutions for addressing the stigma and discrimination faced by Covid-19 patients, as part of its ongoing initiative to bring peace and tolerance in the digital space.

The grand finale of the competition was held virtually on Tuesday after finishing the monthlong activities. 

BD Fact Check was awarded as the Champion and Swapno Joy was awarded as the 1st runner-up for the Startup level. Punchforon was awarded as the Champion and Swayong was awarded as the 1st runner-up for the Idea level.

The winning teams received the prize money of $5,000 and mentorship support from YY Goshti.

Attending the finale as the Chief Guest, State Minister for ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, said the social stigma associated with Covid-19 is making the situation worse. 

"Technology and proper education can help reduce this stigma. This episode of Digital Khichuri Challenge is a very timely initiative of UNDP and the ICT Division is a proud partner of DKC,” he said. 

The coronavirus crisis is not just a pandemic but it also creates “infodemic.” state minister urged all to be sensible while browsing social media.

Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh said, “The coronavirus outbreak is not just a health crisis, but a crisis which has multifaceted challenges including discrimination, social stigma, domestic violence, adding with preexisting socioeconomic problems in the country. Youth with their creative and innovative minds are joining the force to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19.”

“During this health crisis, tolerance is needed in all spheres of life, and on every level and in every stage because it plays a vital role in establishing peace and love in society. That’s why we have been running this Digital Khichuri Challenge with the ICT Division for the last four years,” Van further added. 

The Digital Khichuri Challenge (DKC) is a competition for the young Bangladeshi changemakers who are intent on making the digital space safer and more tolerant. 

Implemented by UNDP’s Partnerships for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB) project since 2016, DKC has been helping to develop and support peaceful and positive narratives in Bangladesh, as part of their Digital Peace Movement. 

DKC has completed five cohorts to date, supported 60 teams, and engaged 13 incubated platforms.

This time, owing to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, DKC completely transitioned its activities online. 14 promising teams selected from a pool of 500 applicants had to go through an elaborate three-day long ideation process, known as the Idea Lab, to finetune their solutions. 

At the end of the Idea Lab, the teams presented their ideas in the presence of the jury panel.

Among others, Robert Stoelman, project manager of UNDP, Tina F Jabeen, investment advisor at Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division, Prof Din M Sumon Rahman of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh’s (ULAB) department of media studies and journalism, and Tazin Shadid, CEO of YY Goshti were also present in the closing ceremony.