Sunday July 22, 2018

Mobile apps for Cebu’s problems proposed

REPRESENTATIVES from schools, the Cebu City Government, government agencies together with Smart Communications Inc. and the United States Agency for International Development (USAid)-Stride program gathered Tuesday, September 26, to identify solutions to pressing problems besetting Cebu today.

Five issues were raised during the “Technovation Forum,” also alternately called the USAid-Stride (Science, Technology, Research,and Innovation for Development (Stride) innovation workshop series held at the Casino Español on Tuesday, September 26.

“E-pon,” “Golden Garbage,” “Bantay Baha,” and Pals, are among the proposed mobile applications meant to address the traffic, disaster risk reduction, garbage, tourism and education issues in Cebu.

Dr. Richard Abendan, Research and Industry Partnership manager, said Stride partnered with Smart after it pioneered the initiative in supporting and promoting technological innovations among the youth.

Smart, in April 2017, held the first “Technovation Forum” in Davao City. The event gathered students and representatives from the government and academe.

Abendan said USAid will continue to support innovations, especially those that aim to make growth more inclusive to communities.

“We’d like to work with more partners and companies and support similar events like this,” he added.

USAid is targeting to conduct six to eight more workshops in the next 12 months nationwide and collaborate with the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry.

It will continue to support similar events that may be organized by other individuals or organizations “wherever the demand is,” as the Stride program is about to end.

Smart Community Partnerships head Darwin Flores said it will now be up to the proponents to push for their proposal for its full realization.

Flores said, while re-echoing a speech delivered by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, that the next thing to do is find the answer to the question “What is it that you need?”

Flores said it will be up to the participants to determine what it actually need for the local government to be able to respond.

For instance, “Golden Garbage,” an application that encourages waste segregation among households, requires the participation of junkshops, which at the same time, will require government regulation.

It likewise requires monetary incentive to households that segregate their waste.

Flores said Smart will continue to provide assistance “at a minimum cost” to proponents and will provide linkages to companies and other existing partners.

Abendan, meanwhile, said Stride, which is now in the closing phase of its five-year program that started in 2013, will provide a similar assistance.

“At this point, we don’t have hard cash (but) we can link them with companies,” he said. (Vanessa L. Almeda/SunStar Philippines)