Tracing the Brazil - U.S. connection

Google Impact Challenge kicks off 2016 edition in Brazil

Google Impact Challenge was first held in Brazil in 2014; after taking a year off, Desafio de Impacto Social (as the initiative is known locally) just launched a new call for projects from non-profit organizations devising innovative, technology-driven ways to tackle Brazil’s social problems.

The Google Impact Challenge website explains that:

We’re searching for NGOs that use any kind of technology. This technology can be applied in several ways: be it by using sensors to monitor water wells, improving education through an interactive app, or improving food preservation in the Amazon with a solar-powered ice maker. In other words, any application of technology is welcome as long as it advances the goal of your project.

Four winners will each receive R$1.5 million ($380,000) in funding, while six finalists will each receive R$ 650,000 ($164,000) for their projects. Submissions will be accepted until midnight on March 23; the 10 finalists will be named on May 23.

One winner will be chosen by popular vote, while the other winners and finalists will be picked by a six-person panel that includes women’s soccer great Marta Vieira da Silva; actress Regina Casé of The Second Mother fame; artist Adriana Varejão; and Jacqueline Fuller, director of, the charitable arm of Google that funds the initiative. Interestingly, the rules stipulate that each of Brazil’s five regions will get two finalists; the website doesn’t explain why, but it seems like a clever way to ensure that the more prosperous Southeast and South regions don’t get to hog all the funding.

Read on about the winners of the 2014 Challenge, or scroll down to for a video (in Portuguese) about their projects:

  • São Paulo-based Geledés — Instituto Da Mulher Negra (“Black Women’s Institute”), which developed an app, PLP 2.0, to aid victims of domestic violence. The app can connect women to support services and document incidents through audio and video recordings.
  • The Brazilian arm of Conservation International, whose Pesca Mais Sustentável (“More Sustainable Fishing”) app was designed to encourage sustainable practices by providing information on seafood sourcing.
  • Rio de Janeiro’s Meu Rio (“My Rio”) collective, which aims to launch a series of apps that will help people in other major Brazilian cities have a voice in local policymaking.
  • São Paulo-based Instituto Zero a Seis (“Zero to Six Institute”), whose SMSBebê project is an SMS-based outreach program to provide information and advice on prenatal and early childhood health to pregnant women, mothers, and caregivers.