Uganda Communications Commission announces 5th edition of ACIA Awards

Uganda Communications Commission announces 5th edition of ACIA Awards

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is proud to announce the launch of ACIA 2015. In the Q&A below, UCC Executive Director Mr Godfrey Mutabazi answers questions about the initiative and introduces the 5th edition of the ACIA awards event.

Q: Why award innovations in the communications sector?

A: By recognising innovation, the ACIA Awards will foster greater local involvement in the development and provision of innovative products, services and content in Uganda. The Commission aspires to create a linkage between innovation and national development by encouraging innovators to harness ICTs in creating solutions to Uganda’s development challenges. ACIA 2015 is the 5th edition of the awards that were inaugurated in 2010.

Eligibility

Q: Give us a brief background of ACIA?

A: The ACIA Awards have been held annually to reward outstanding ICT innovations since their inception in October 2010. The event has become an important signature and calendar event in Uganda’s ICT sector with the support of various industry stakeholders. Winners have benefited from a pool of prizes that have enabled them acquire the resources, linkages and capacity to enhance their innovations. As a platform that provides exposure, participants have had a platform to showcase their innovations to diverse audiences.

Steady growth has been achieved peaking at 281 entries for ACIA 2014, compared to 159 in 2013 and 54 the year before. Accordingly, ACIA has become bigger, better and more competitive.

Q: What categories are you targeting this year?

A: There are four major categories in ACIA 2015. These are:

  1. YOUNG ICT INNOVATORS

The Young ICT Innovators category is divided into three subcategories:

1a) Uganda’s ICT Explorers (for Primary Schools)

This subcategory will recognise the best illustration that tells other children how postal, broadcasting or telecommunication services can help in meeting the basic needs of people (land, shelter, food & water, medical care, clothing, education and security) and how, as leaders in your school district, you would solve any of the problems that hinder or prevent people from using telecommunication, broadcast and postal services.

1b) Uganda’s Rising Stars (for Secondary school students)

The most outstanding ICT solution proposed to address an existing problem that is experienced in transferring money for business purposes in Uganda today.

 

1c) Uganda’s ICT Visionaries (for youth aged 18- 28)

The most innovative ICT research project that improves the lives of Ugandans in any aspect of their daily lives including leisure and entertainment.

  1. ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT

The best ICT solution that has been developed to address any of Uganda’s challenges in:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Agriculture
  • Environment sustainability
  • Government services
  • ICTs for the disadvantaged

 

  1. BUSINESS EXCELLENCE

Most innovative locally-developed ICT solution aimed at improving the performance of an organisation (small, medium or large) in terms of efficiency, effectiveness or both. The beneficiary organisation must be one that is NOT in the business of ICT

  1. DIGITAL CONTENT

The most innovative approaches in the compilation of local text, images including video, or sound into a programme, application or product that enhances the value and use of communication platforms in Uganda (telephony, SMS, USSD, internet/data, radio or TV)

Q: How is ACIA 2015 different from the previous editions?

A: In an effort to support the youth, ACIA 2015 is introducing a provision for Primary School pupils to participate under the Young ICT Innovators’ sub category called the ‘Uganda’s ICT Explorers’. This award aims to inspire and nurture a culture of innovation among primary school pupils. In this way, through the ACIA awards, the young generation of Ugandans will grow their understanding of ICTs and the opportunities ICTs offer.

In addition, the Primary and Secondary school participants will first compete at a regional level and winners from this level of competition will then compete nationally.

Q: Any challenges?

A: UCC realises that there is a lot of potential yet to be tapped. However, a lot more financial resources are required to harness this potential for the benefit of both the innovators and society. There is need for collaboration and partnership among the various stakeholders. More importantly, we need to appreciate and embrace the innovations produced by the local ICT fraternity.

Q: How are individuals and companies responding to these awards?

A: Over the years, ACIA has attracted support from a wide spectrum of individuals, companies, civil society organisations and the academia – just to mention a few.

Corporate entities have responded favourably showing great willingness to support innovators and ICT innovation for national development at large. The different persons that have acted as judges over the years have also been very instrumental in propelling ACIA to greater heights.

ACIA is now the in-thing, and many people look forward to participating in it. We hope to attract many more sponsors and entries this year.

Q: What’s the future of these awards?

A: The future of ACIA is very bright, and the sky is the limit. As a Commission, we aim to achieve excellence while meeting the growing demand for ICT enabled innovation in the country. We would like to provide better rewards and support to innovators and showcase the good things coming out of the Ugandan ICT industry on the international stage.

Q: What’s your last word?

A: The Commission is committed to continue supporting innovation. I urge Ugandans to embrace the ACIA Awards and the innovations coming out for Uganda by Ugandans.

To the innovators out there – stand out and showcase your talent; to the public – come and see what innovations exist to improve your life or your business. We have prepared the stage for you to excel.

I thank you.

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