SIPA’S SDG Fellows Team Win 2018 Geneva Challenge!

Do you remember a few weeks ago I wrote, in this blog post here, about how SIPA’s SDG Fellows team (Alonso Flores MPA-EPD ’19, Nigora Isamiddinova MPA-DP ’19, Jessica Arnold MIA ’19, Nitasha Nair MPA ’19, and Ji Qi MPA-DP ’19) made it to the finals of the 2018 Geneva Challenge? Well I am very happy to say that they won first place!

SIPA’s classroom provides an opportunity for you to meet other classmates with various interests and skill sets and collaborate on projects that address some of the worlds’ most pressing and complex issues. Sometimes those collaborations in classroom can lead to solutions implemented out in the real world. The Geneva Challenge is one of the many opportunities at SIPA where students can implement what you learn in the classroom in the real world.

The SIPA team, DASH – Data Analytics for Sustainable Herding, aims to map and analyze the changes in migration patterns, seasonality, and urban and agricultural development using data from satellites, mobile telecommunications, and GPS- enabled systems. It will create a blueprint for utilizing big data and applying machine learning and AI for better policy-making in the in the Sahel region, where competition for increasingly scarce natural resources is driving a rise in conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.

In the award ceremony, the jury explained their decision to award the SSDG Fellows team first place: “The jury believes that this is an excellent and innovative solution. The proposal is well researched and authors a detailed and accurate contextualization. The real-time forecasting model using big data analytics and artificial intelligence techniques is a very ambitious tool to develop that could indeed have a wide and positive impact on the region. The project is also well thought out in terms of needs assessment, risk analysis, and implementation. The team has already taken further steps by having discussions with relevant government agencies by assessing institutional frameworks through laboratory projects.”

The Geneva Challenge, launched in 2014, is an international contest for graduate students that aims to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to a designated international development problem. This year, there were 66 project entries submitted by 258 students from all over the world. Of those projects, 15 teams were chosen as semi-finalists. A jury then selected five finalist teams, one per continent, to defend their project at the the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Other prize winners this year included teams from BRAC University, ETH Zürich, Kenyatta University, and the University of Buenos Aires.

You can learn more about the MPA-Development Practice program that the SDG Fellows team is a part of here. Don’t forget that the January 5 deadline to apply for MPA-DP, MIA and MPA programs is coming up!