Classy Awards award winners announced, with a special gift from WePay
More than 1,300 nonprofits and social benefit organizations submitted for this year’s Classy Awards, which seek to highlight the most remarkable changemakers operating in the world today.
Last Thursday, just 10 winners were chosen.
As the saying goes, it’s an honor just to be nominated. But we at WePay wanted to do one better for the winners, who are already doing so much to make the world a better place.
That’s why we’re offering each of them $100,000 in free payments processing.
The scale of good these organizations is doing is enormous. The finalists are addressing problems from human rights to health services to hunger, and many of their approaches have never been tried before. Classy said that its finalists this year were responsible for inventing 129 new technologies as they look for innovative solutions to age-old problems. We want to thank everyone who took part in the program for all the good they do.
Here are this year’s winners:
AYZH (www.ayzh.com) Worldwide, more than 1.4 million infections happen during childbirth, resulting in more than 24,000 deaths yearly, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Lancet. Many of those infections could be prevented with with better cleaning and hygiene, but this is often difficult at under-resourced and overtaxed health centers in the developing world. AYZH provides a simple, low-cost, high-quality clean birth kit that can allow healthcare providers a more sanitized environment during childbirth, giving newborns the best possible chance at an infection-free birth.
Bridges to Prosperity (bridgestoprosperity.org) In the developing world, it’s often the case that services are available, but they might not be accessible. Many people live in physically remote locations, separated from healthcare and economic opportunities by distance and terrain. Bridges to Prosperity seeks to improve access for isolated rural communities by helping them to build footbridges over impassible rivers. The organization has built bridges in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, Haiti, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Colombia.
Design That Matters (www.designthatmatters.org) Global health experts estimate that 5-10% of all newborn deaths are due to jaundice, a disorder that can be cured simply by shining blue light on a baby’s skin. Even though the cure is simple, rural health centers often lack the equipment to treat jaundice, and the equipment they do have is often hard to use correctly. That’s why Design That Matters created Firefly, a machine that’s portable and hard to use incorrectly, allowing newborn jaundice to be more effectively treated at the point of diagnosis.
HelpMeSee (helpmesee.org) Cataract blindness is the leading cause of vision loss worldwide, even though it’s treatable through a simple procedure. That’s because there’s simply not enough professionals with the training and resources to treat it in much of the world. HelpMeSee is helping to solve that by training thousands of people (mostly women) to perform the surgery in underserved communities throughout the developing world.
Lucky Iron Fish (http://www.luckyironfish.com) Iron deficiency affects nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide, leading to all kinds of preventable health problems. Lucky Iron Fish came up with a very simple solution — place a small piece of iron in the pot when you cook, and you can infuse your meals with up to 90% of your daily iron intake. The iron is carved into the shape of a fish, which is a symbol of luck in Cambodia where the program started.
Orbis International (http://www.orbis.org/) Orbis International has an innovative solution for the lack of trained eye care professionals and facilities in the developing world — a flying eye hospital. The organization has built a fully functional teaching hospital aboard a retrofitted DC-10 aircraft, enabling it to bring an eye care facility to places that need it most and also train local doctors, nurses and technicians on the latest techniques and procedures.
ORGANIZE (organize.org) In the U.S., organ donor registration is typically handled through the DMV, but there’s no real legal requirement that it be done this way — it was simply a logistics kludge that was put into place when organ donation was introduced in the 1960s that was never updated. Organize has built technology to make organ donation more accessible, allowing people to register as an organ donor by tweeting to a hashtag, among other ways. Its goal is to raise organ donation rates by 20% to 30%.
PCI (Project Concern International) (www.pciglobal.org) Communities that rely on livestock in Africa are often among the hardest hit by drought conditions, because it makes it incredibly difficult for them to find grazing land for the herds they depend upon. This is particularly true when they must make do with traditional methods like scouting and word of mouth. PCI is attempting to make this easier by providing them with advanced satellite derived vegetation data available to them, allowing them to find grazing pastures within a thousand square mile area with a high degree of accuracy.
Ushahidi (www.ushahidi.com) A major challenge during natural disasters and humanitarian crises is that the international community often doesn’t have good enough data about what’s happening on the ground to organize an effective response. Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is creating open-source software to make this easier. Ushahidi’s platform allows anyone to crowdsource reports from people on the ground using sources like SMS, email, RSS feeds and social media, and then combines it with sophisticated mapping and tracking features to provide an unprecedented level of information about what’s really happening in real time during chaotic situations.
Safe Water Network (http://safewaternetwork.org/) Access to clean water is one of the top humanitarian problems in the world today. Yet in many of the communities where water is most needed, the kinds of giant infrastructure projects that have solved it in the developed world are simply not feasible. Safe Water Network has a different model: a network of small, locally-owned water stations that enable people to provide clean water to their communities. Working with more than 180 communities in Ghana and India, Safe Water Network has been able to improve access for more than 600,000 people.