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Sierra Leone wins 1st place at ITU Telecom World International Open Contest

Sierra Leone wins 1st place at ITU Telecom World International Open Contest

We are proud of one of the sons of our soil Andrew Benson Greene Jr for clinching the 2011 International Digital Innovative Contest.

Digital Hope Project 

The Digital Hope initiative of the B-Gifted Foundation of Sierra Leone has been selected and recognized as one of the best Digital Ideas and Digital Talent at ITU Telecom World 2011. ‎30 under-25 year olds + 15. 

Not-for-profits and their talented digital staff were invited to ITU Telecom World 11 to develop their ideas into a product pitch, ready for a chance to win a share of a 50K CHF investment. There were over 150 entries from all over the world, and Greene emerged as one of the winners. In Geneva in Switzerland, Greene and other shortlist were put through a presentation of ‘fast and furious pitches’ of their ideas. 

The announcement of the 3 winners in each category namely (Young Digital Innovators Categories and the Not for Profit Digital Innovators, came at the Closing Ceremony on October 27th 2011 in Palexpo Area Geneva, Switzerland during the evening of the Awards that sums up ITU’s search for the best innovative ideas around the world. 

According to the Founder and CEO of B-Gifted Foundation during his pitches to the international judging panel, “Technology creates a human rights dimension in a way that has never been tested before”.   He says the Project aims to use “technologies to help those who are doubly marginalized as a result of their physical indifferences”. He said that “this will bring the amputee victims of war ‘to a journey of hope’ as they use their extra limbs to access technology.  These technologies can give them a powerful voice in the mass media, and become an extra ordinary tool, that they can use to bear witness to their plight, thereby bringing about attention, hope and healing to people who are almost forgotten victims”. 

In an exclusive interview in Geneva, the founder affirmed that “we are bringing those once marginalized to use the vehicle of technology which they otherwise will not have. We are affirming that modern technologies do not discriminate against those who are poor, the vulnerable, those who are marginalized, and those who can ill afford as a result of the overwhelming difficulties they face”. He noted that “technologies can create a ´Middle Path where all of us can work through devoid of our physical conditions and circumstances.  In taking them through that path, and through that journey, we are taking away from them their physical disabilities.” 

Greene’s undergraduate years at Fourah Bay College were finalized in 1998 with a degree that has nothing to do with technology at the time. Greene’s concentrations were on Civil Law, English and International Relations. However over the last ten years, he has used his creativity and skills with the vehicle of technology that benefited thousands of young Sierra Leoneans. In his earlier efforts, Greene worked tirelessly to locate resources so that children and youth can engage in creative, collaborative global education programs where at a remarkable young age, he piloted one of the first non-profit successful multimedia youth centres in Sierra Leone at the International Education Projects. His efforts culminated in an array of prestigious International awards such as the Cable and Wireless Childnet Awards at the Science Museum in London 2003, The beyond Borders Listen up Awards in New York 2003 (Personal Stories from asmall planet), The Bremen Peace Commendation in Bremen Germany in 2003(the unknown peace maker), The Global Junior Challenge in Rome 2007,the My Hero Awards (that celebrates the best of humanity). In addition he was on the shortlist of Stanford University California ReutersDigital Visions Fellows in 2004. 

Greene has made campus wide lectures on issues of children’s rights, peace promotion, human rights and technology at the InternationalSchool of Amsterdam, Kenyon College Ohio, Carlton University Ottawa, Canada, Nazarene University Ohio USA, WH Day School in Bradford, Ontario Canada, York University in Toronto, Canada, and University of Saint Francis Xavier in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Antigonish, Canada. He was one of the global young leaders summoned by World Bank to engage their seniors in debates at the Forum in Oxford University UK in 2006 during the 1st World Ethics Forum for Leadership and Integrity. He has travelled extensively to share his vision of using information and technology for peace promotion and human rights. 

This was his second visit to Geneva. Earlier Greene and his friend, and colleague Sylvanus Murray from Sierra Leone made a huge contribution to the summit’s process at the 1st World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2003. His recent awards in Geneva, Switzerland this October, is a great feat. It does demonstrate that Sierra Leoneans can be the change and emerge even in an international environment. ITU, the World’s Leading Telecommunication UN unit, has recognized one of Sierra Leone’s brains. In a tight competition drawn from over 150 entries, Greene’s ‘Digital Hope ‘ initiative, raised eyebrows on the human toll of the legacy of war, and the intervention of technology that he believes will be a ‘salve in the wounds’, and ‘create a Middle path’ where all of us can work through devoid of our physical challenges and conditions’. He will be piloting this  initiative with a seed grant from ITU.  Greene says that “in  giving these amputees the opportunity to access and use new tele-communication technologies, we are giving them an extra arm; we are providing an extra-ordinary tool, a mouth piece and a powerful voice that they can use to bear witness to their plight, and bring about hope, and healing. We are providing them an arm that can somehow atone for their missing arms.” 

The other two winners in Greene’s Category are Jian Min Sim from Singapore, Studying in Oxford University whose projects ‘Mobile Volunteers’ hopes to help volunteers of NGO’s to get up to date information through their mobile appliances when they are get in the field, and  Hajra Bibi from Showmemobi.com in South Africa which  allows users to take their content, produce their content, and go via a mobile application which is free to the end user, so that they can share their South African Stories, in a historically disadvantage society. She says ‘they have leapfrogged the use of personal computers and other traditional media and have gone straight to mobile phones’. Greene is a double Masters Candidate at Brandeis in Boston, and was a Jeanne Sauvé Scholar at Canada’s Prestigious McGill University, in 2004/5. The Sauvé Scholarship was named in honour of Jeanne Sauvé, the first woman-named Governor General of Canada. Greene has also been consulted widely on areas of technology for peace promotion, peace building and human rights by such groups as the World Bank in 2006/7 (producing the World Development Report (WDR) Next Generation, The Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA), 2011, the Open Society Institute in Budapest 2005, and the Global Integrity Alliance USA in 2006.

He is the founder at B-Gifted Foundation www.bgiftedfoundation.org that intertwines the use of creativity and technology to help enhance peace building, human rights and development in Sierra Leone. He is also a distinguished member of the Jeanne Sauve Alumni www.sauvescholars.org the International Young Professionals Foundation (IYPF) and the Global peace Partners Inc. USA amongst others. 

At the summit, Greene met with other Senior Government Officers of Sierra Leone, from the NATCOM and Parliaments and discussed with them about the prospects of creating a platform for Sierra Leone’s presence at ITU 2012. 

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