WDCD Refugee Challenge leader Dagan Cohen: ‘We really don’t want to miss out on great entries’
Refugee Challenge deadline extended to 20 May
The deadline for entries for the WDCD Refugee Challenge has been extended to 20 May 2016. Creative minds around the globe now have another month to enter their bold and brilliant ideas for the reception of refugees in host countries. WDCD Refugee Challenge leader Dagan Cohen gave us an update.
Why the deadline extension?
Dagan Cohen: ‘The WDCD Challenge has a global scope and we want to make sure we reach all corners of the world. That takes time and we really don’t want to miss out on great entries from the Middle East and Africa, the countries where most refugees come from. It’s not about numbers: We’ve received well over one hundred entries already and we know there are a lot more coming up.’
What signals do you have that there is more to come?
Cohen: ‘Besides a PR and social media campaign, we are running an extensive workshop program with different organizations to generate ideas for the Refugee Challenge. We organize these workshops, which vary in length from half a day to a couple of days, together with our research partner STBY. So far we’ve run workshops in Zurich, Älmhult (Sweden), Amsterdam and London. Its amazing to see how many surprising ideas can be generated in just one day! We are getting more and more requests for these workshops. That is why we offer our workshop pack as a free download on our website. Already we’ve been noticed that spontaneous workshops have been organized in Albania, Portugal, Leipzig and Dublin. The coming weeks more workshop are planned and I expect quite some entries will come out of this.’
What is your impression of the quality of the entries so far?
Cohen: ‘I am very happy to see entries coming from all over the world. From Peru to Pakistan and from Lebanon to Ghana. I’ve already seen a couple of ideas that will easily make it to the shortlist. We are getting a lot of ideas on the first brief – improving emergency shelters and receptions centres –, and there’s also a good response to the brief 3 – how to bring refugees and host communities closer to one each other – and to brief 5 – how to maximize on the potential of refugees. Solutions vary form buildings to products and from digital services to community programs. And this is exactly what we are hoping for!’
Anything else people should know?
Cohen: ‘I’d like to stress this not just and ideas competition. Though it is very fulfilling to work on ideas to benefit refugees, we think it’s crucial to demonstrate that design really can make a difference. The five winners (to be announced on 1 July at WDCD Live Amsterdam) will receive €10.000 each and will enter an accelerator programme to develop their ideas into prototypes and business plans, ready for implementation. With our partners UNCHR and IKEA Foundation and their network of NGOs and investors, we have the best possible backing to make things happen. So, my message to all participant to the challenge is: if you think you have a brilliant idea, make sure your idea is scalable and be ready to go all the way!’
To join the WDCD Refugee Challenge, go to www.whatdesigncando.com/challenge/