Summary - Background - The Challenge - Solution Requirements (pdf) - Judging Criteria (pdf) - Resources (pdf) - FAQs (pdf)Phases and Prizes - TimelineAbout ACR GCD -

 

Congratulations to our Tracking & Tracing Books prize competition winners:

Community Systems Foundation
John Snow, Inc.

Summary

Books are essential to early grade reading instruction. However, often times when books (both textbooks and supplemental reading materials) are ordered for low income countries, they do not end up in the hands of the students who need them. The first step in solving this problem is the ability to track books in transit and trace them to their destination. As such, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development has launched the Tracking and Tracing Books Prize Competition.  The competition seeks innovations to track books destined for early-grade classrooms and learning centers in low-income countries and allow stakeholders, ranging from parents to Ministries of Education and donor agencies, to quickly and easily access tracking information.

Tracking and Tracing Books Q&A Webinars

March 2, 2015 - 11:00 EST : Click here to watch the recording of the webinar
March 5, 2015 - 21:00 EST : Click here to watch the recording of the webinar

The presentation used in both webinars can be downloaded here.

Background

  • Books are essential to early grade reading instruction.
  • Despite decades of government and donor funding of books for low income countries, many early-grade classrooms have insufficient textbooks and supplemental reading materials to meet the needs of students.
  • Textbooks and materials can go astray at any stage in the delivery process--from the point-of-entry for imported textbooks, to central warehouses for nationally produced materials, to transportation across difficult and sometimes insecure routes or even during final distribution to regional offices and classrooms.
  • Experience in developing countries[1] suggests that when parents, teachers, and other local stakeholders know what books are to be delivered and when, they will advocate for on-time delivery.  But they rarely have this information and even when they do, they are not able to track books while in transit.
  • Government and donor agency officials may discover that materials have not arrived at schools, but without the availability of tracking information, they do not know where they were lost in transit. 

The Challenge

The Tracking and Tracing Books Prize Competition is seeking innovations to track books destined for early-grade classrooms and learning centers in low-income countries and allow stakeholders, ranging from parents to Ministries of Education and donor agencies, to quickly and easily access relevant tracking information.

Innovations should have four main components:

(1)    A process for tracking and tracing books

(2)    Associated software

(3)    Associated hardware and devices

(4)    A method for engaging/easily interfacing with users

For the purposes of this Prize Competition, the starting point of any tracking and tracing system is when a book order is submitted. The tracking and tracing process is initiated when the order is entered into the system by stakeholders involved in the first stage in the supply chain (i.e. the initial supplier with whom the order from the Ministry of Education, or other actor, is placed.)

There are three phases to this Prize Competition. The first phase requires a written description of the proposed innovation and the expertise and experience of the Solver.  There is a prize pot of a least $20,000 for this phaseEntrants successful in Phase 1 will be invited to refine and/or develop their innovation and work with the ACR GCD partners to pilot it in Phases 2 and 3, with a further prize of $100,000 awarded at the completion of Phase 3. Solvers are not required to have a prototype or product already in place at Phase 1. Additionally, during Phase 1, solvers are not required to have the expertise, experience or partnerships to implement and/or pilot the innovation.  Solvers are only required to identify the types of partners required to implement and/or pilot it.  See the Phases and Prizes section below for details.

The ACR GCD partners are open to considering existing technologies, new technologies, or a combinations of both. An area of particular interest to the partners is the application of technologies and processes used in logistic and supply chain sectors

A list of FAQs for the Challenge can be found here (updated 02/19/2015).

Click here for

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

Click here for

JUDGING CRITERIA

Click here for 

FURTHER RESOURCES

 

Phases and Prizes

The Prize Competition has three phases. Information regarding Phases 2 and 3 will be released following the completion of Phase 1.

Phase 1: Written Proposal

  • This first phase requires a written description of the proposed innovation and the expertise and experience of the Solver. Solvers are not required to have the expertise, experience or partnerships to implement and/or pilot the innovation.  Solvers are only required to identify the types of partners required to implement and/or pilot it.  
  • There is a guaranteed total payout of at least $20,000, with no single prize being less than $10,000. It is possible that more than $20,000 will be given out and therefore that more than two entrants will proceed to Phase 2.
  • Submissions will be evaluated by a team of expert reviewers, using the Judging Criteria below as guidance.
  • Solvers may be required to provide additional information on their submission to the expert reviewers after the deadline.
  • By submitting, you are providing ACR GCD with a non-exclusive license to use any information contained in your submission (excluding personal identifying information), irrespective of whether your submission receives an award. Notwithstanding this license, the Solver will retain ownership of any innovation.  Please see the Terms and Conditions for further information.

Phase 2: Development and Demonstration of the Innovation

  • Following Phase 1, the highest rated submission(s) will be given approximately three months to develop (if not already developed) or adapt their innovations to a level where they are able to be demonstrated to the ACR GCD partners. The length of development period will be finalized following review of the proposals and discussion with the finalist(s).
  • The demonstration will be conducted virtually through a web conference. If a web conference is not possible or sufficient, alternate means of demonstration will be considered.
  • The demonstration format should be similar to one at an industry conference exhibition booth and can include video, a simulation, and/or demonstration of equipment. It does not need to be a demonstration of the innovation actually tracking and tracing a book, but the demonstration should provide an experience that allows the partners to understand how the innovation would work in a low-income country setting.
  • At the end of Phase 2, the ACR GCD partners will determine which innovations hold sufficient promise to justify field testing.

Phase 3: Field Test

  • Phase 3 will be a field test of the Phase 2 finalist(s)’ innovations.  
  • The highest scoring innovation in this phase will receive a prize of $100,000, unless no submission meets the necessary criteria.
  • The evaluation report will be made public.

Timeline

Phase 1 January 23, 2015 Launch
  March 2015 Two Q&A Webinars for interested applicants
  April 1, 2015 Deadline for entries
  May 29, 2015 Phase 1 selection
Phase 2 Summer 2015* Solution development
  Fall 2015* Demonstration and Phase 2 selection
  Winter 2015/16* Pilot testing

* These dates are approximate only. The length of the Solution Development period prior to Demonstrations is likely to last approximately 3 months but will be finalized following review of the proposals and discussion with the finalist(s).

Contact Us

For questions related to this Competition, please email grandchallenges@innocentive.com.

About All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, established in 2011 as a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian government, aims to catalyze the creation and expansion of scalable, low-cost innovations to improve early-grade literacy students in developing countries. Round 2, launched in 2014, seeks technology-based innovations to improve literacy outcomes by focusing on mother tongue instruction and reading materials, family and community engagement, and children with disabilities.



[1] For instance Africa and the Philippines