I have collected and moderated these ideas from various public sources and put into one place so that problem solvers and solution developers may find inspirations. Because I wish to update it regularly, I have setup as a single page wiki. You may try these ideas on hackathons/competitions/research; some are quite intense problems and some are not. Many of the problems were prepared keeping Dhaka/Bangladesh in mind, but of course can be applied to just about any underdeveloped/developing and sometimes developed countries.
- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- Social Good
- Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
- Environmental Sustainability
Some of these problems are really major-scale, hence are not suitable for hackathons, however you can always attack a problem from a certain angle, or certain perspective, and rapidly develop a demo to prove concept of your proposed solution. Therefore, all problems can be attempted in your own ways. Some of the problems might seem like very demanding infrastructure-wise, however, be aware that some of the solutions might be more suitable for Government to implement, however, the key is to develop a cost-effective solution be it to be deployed by Government/NGO/your startup. Unlike programming contest, along with algorithmic efficiency, you must also achieve systematic efficiency, which involves deployment and usage of your system.
Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
1. Arable lands going out
About 80,000 ha of arable land are going out of production every year, which leads to wastage of land and resources resulting in agricultural loss. What is your take on solving the problem of agricultural wastage? ref. Hint: Data is your friend. Interview farmers and stakeholders to find more insights on this.
1. Writing tutor
Build an app that will take a prose in your language and help with suggestions going beyond spell & grammar checking. The service needs to be made public and consumable by other apps as well. This definitely requires least but not limited to natural language processing, lexical word database in that language, and native expertise in that language. Here's an example that covers the scope in a limited way: ref. Hint: This problem is for you if you like word-crunching string algorithms.
2. Making education interesting
Uninteresting methods of teaching in public institutions cause young students to be easily bored which leads to a decrease in participation of children in schools, especially boys (46% boys and 53% girls of the population eager to study) What is the solution, in your opinion, of uninteresting teaching methods in public schools? Hint: creatively design a digital education system.
Higher education institutions do not ensure job opportunities or a job for their prospective graduate students, which lead to a greater amount of the working population unemployed. What can be done to overcome this? Hint: design a data-driven measurable system for the career development department of the institution.
(also categorized for Improve Maternal Health, Reduce Child Mortality and Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases)
1. Information gap between doctors and patients
Incorrect diagnosis in hospitals more than often leads to tragic deaths, due to wide information gap between doctors and patients, which makes the patients susceptible to whatever the doctor recommends, not knowing any better. How can you help overcome this rising problem? Hint: open to your creativity.
2. Waste management
Poor waste management in Bangladesh is a major reason of water, sanitation and hygiene problems that leads to diseases being spread easily. What is your solution? Hint: use your own creativity.
3. HIV awareness
Only 15% of adolescent girls in Bangladesh understand how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent it, meaning there is lack of awareness among children regarding major health issues. How do you plan on making these girls aware of actions that can be prevented? ref. Hint: open to your creativity. Hint 2: how does marketing work?
4. Make way for ambulances
The use of ambulances are not only abused, but those in dire need of it are not able to access it, thereby putting the unhealthy in a major risk of death, for example, the road has no policy in paving way for ambulances, what might be the solution? Hint: open to your creativity.
4. Preservatives leading to health problems
Excessive use of preservatives in fruits and vegetables leads to health problems thereby resulting in long run health risks in Dhaka city. How can you stop long run health problems? Can you propose an end-to-end solution that may help citizens, from field to consumption, and reporting?
5. Rural medical care
Medical care in the villages is barely sufficient and lacking in facilities, which leads to an unfair amount of deaths, how can this be solved? Hint: open to your creativity.
1. Crowd-sourced election monitoring system
Build an app that can support any types of elections in your neighborhood during the election day. Allow citizens to report any incidents, upload photos/videos, set severity and actionable attributes alongwith the GPS data which will allow you to prepare a report on the election afterwards. If you can present it as a valuable tool for transparency, you may get a good amount of exposure, however, the challenges lies in the sustainable part of it. How are you going to monetize such a tool?
2. Propose a better digital traffic system
Dhaka streets being completely devoid of traffic signals and traffic monitoring tools leads to an increase in traffic which thereby contribute to further air pollution. How would you use technology to resolve this alarming issue of unruly traffic in Dhaka city? How would you make the drivers respect your proposed system?
3. Public transportation routine and monitoring
Public transport in the city lacks systematic routine and monitoring which results in an inconvenience to the locals as well as contributes to road dangers. What is your solution to solving this? Hint: IoT, online transportation tracking, SMS push-pull, for citizens and the authority.
4. Rape and other abuses
Rape and other forms of violent abuse increasing, especially in public transports and other open areas. How do you plan on battling rape in public areas? ref. Hint: can you go beyond traditional too many times developed 'panic button' apps?
5. Reducing crime rates in the slums
Crime rates in the slums are highest in urban areas where majority of drug dealings, illegal transactions and mugging takes place. How can you bring about a change in the slums using technology, where the majority of the suffering live in the city?
6. Fighting bribery
Bribery is common in Dhaka, especially when crimes are committed, like hit and runs, etc which leads to an increase in crime rate as well as no punishment to those responsible. Now how can you build a solution that can reduce crime rate and bring justice using technology?
7. Use local products/services
The level of nationalism/patriotism in the country is low, like usage of local products is discouraged and there is a tendency to ‘westernize’ the country, which is a pathetic representation and follow-up of our history. So, how can it be ensured to have a higher dependency on local products thereby resulting in greater nationalism? How can technology be used to address that?
8. When there's none to go to
In times of danger or trouble, there is nowhere to seek help from, like the police or any force of authority that might help in the situation, how can this be addressed? Hint: open to your creativity.
9. Politics-safe life
Political problems are beyond the control of those not involved in it, however, is there any solution to those adversely affected by it to be less susceptible to it? Hint: open to your creativity.
1. Micro-crowdfunding for the underprivileged
Build an online donation system for the underprivileged community, however the app would be used by the donors and relatively privileged members of the community who would capture videos of the donation seeker, his/her case, and a clip of that privileged member who would take responsibility of collecting and donating the funds to the seeker. There are several systems such as this on the internet, but the main challenges are how you are going to make your privileged community interested in such voluntary act and ensure incredible degree of transparency. Crowdsourcing is very challenging, so you have to be clever in plans, because it's roughly 10% programming/technology, 90% logistics.
2. Generation gap in technology usage
The older generation is not as easily adapted to technology as the younger generation, which leads to communication gaps between the two generations, as well as presenting itself as a social barrier. How can you make the older generation more engaged in the world of technology?
3. Adoption problems
Adoption problems in Bangladesh cause children to be ill-treated and sometimes resulting them to beg on the streets. How can you make adoption more accessible and thereby help the children in need of an adoption? Hint: you have to propose a system, of which technology is a part.
4. Problem of working children
Children working in garments factories or construction jobs are exposed to risky tasks without any protection or precaution methods, which leads to violation of child right’s as well as deaths. What is your take on solving the unjust working children are faced with using technology?
5. Tension between religious and ethnic groups
Existing prejudice between religions and ethnic groups in Bangladesh is a hindrance to further growth of the economy. How can you help overcome this unjustified issue that has been a persistent hindrance? ref. (unsure of the authenticity/accuracy of this research)
6. Domestic worker abuse
Domestic violence against domestic workers is not only accepted in society but has formed into a norm, which assists in increasing the gap between classes. What is your solution to this kind of class struggles? Can technology solve their problems?
7. Cyber criminals
No stopping of inappropriate content uploaded on the Internet, not only leads to injustice carried out but also assists in casting the wrong social morality image of Bangladesh. How can you overcome such an alarming problems like this? Hint: what Facebook thinks appropriate, due to social reasons in countries like Indian subcontinent, might lead someone to suicide.
Cyber-bullying has no repercussions to those doing it, which is a problem because this leads to a crime being unaccounted for. How do you plan on solving this using technology and helping those who are being inhumanely bullied?
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
1. Rural women unemployment
Rural unemployment of women in Bangladesh causes children to be more susceptible to labor than education thereby reflecting negatively on the economy. How can you help solve this using technology?
2. Silenced into marriage
66% of girls are married before the age of 18 in Bangladesh, which leads to enhancing the gender inequality and acts as one of the main barriers to women’s education. How do you plan on helping the unfortunate girls silenced into marriage? ref. Hint: open to your creativity.
3. Child marriages
Bangladesh has one of the highest rate of child marriages in the world. How can those responsible for this kind of atrocity be tackled, in your solution? ref. Hint: open to your creativity.
4. Problems of widowed women
Widowed women, in most cases, or women who have lost their current source of income are found unable to fend for themselves and their children, how can this be solved? Hint: offering them courses over their smartphones won't work for obvious reasons.
1. Rising population
Rising population in Dhaka is a rising problem because there are not sufficient resources available to satisfy the population due to lack of population control methods. How can you solve the problem of sufficient resources being depleted due to rising population? ref. Hint: in most cases with population, data is your friend.
2. Save Cox's Bazar
Cox’s Bazar in declining condition due to mistreatment of ocean water and lack of maintenance. What is your solution to helping preserve one of our country’s magnificent treasures? Hint: open to your creativity.
3. Save the tigers
The alarming depletion of the Royal Bengal Tigers in Bangladesh and people’s unawareness of the wrongness of the deed may cause them to be more endangered. We only have 100 left, what is your solution? Hint: open to your creativity.
4. Public transportation infrastructure
Public buses, physical and tangible facilities are extremely poor. However, if this is tackled, then environmentally, we will be saving a lot of air pollution, how can you solve this? Hint: IoT, Cloud, Bigdata.
5. Green institutions
Lack of recycling in offices, schools and other institutions using mass amounts of paper, which leads to a negative externals on the environment. What is your solution to creating a eco-friendly environment in offices and other areas? Hint: e-signature, document management system, etc.
6. Safety in construction work
Construction workers and other forms of workers involved in hazardous jobs are never equipped with safety material and are not aware of the danger they place themselves in when they don’t wear safety wear. How can this be addressed? Hint: IoT, and visit a real construction site, interview workers, managers and relevant stakeholders.
7. Safety from flood
40% of urban population in Bangladesh lives in slums and squatter settlements that are majorly prone to flooding and they suffer most due to lack of awareness of protection methods against flooding. What can you do to solve the problem of slum and squatter settlements being vulnerable to floods or help GOV/3rd party/NGO for the cause using technology?
- http://civicpatterns.org is an incredible source of hard learned lessons while driving civic initiatives
- Contact me should you require any assistance and would like to work with me on any of the ideas above, mention category and the problem number: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice article! I propose to add some ideas for Security as a Category.