World Vision Bangladesh, in collaboration with Inspira Advisory and Consulting Limited, has organized an idea competition called Urbania: World Vision Air Solutions Challenge. This virtual-only competition has already progressed through the 1st and 2nd rounds whereby close to 100 teams from 30+ universities consisting of students from engineering, environmental science, social science, and business disciplines have participated across three thematic areas: Urban Life Solutions, Industrial & Commercial Solutions, and Social Awareness.
The competition entered the 3rd and final round on June 28, 2021, Monday from 10 am to 2 pm. The event, which was held over zoom, was attended by a live audience of nearly 200 people. And the top 9 teams presented their ideas before the panel of Judges.
Following the presentations by each of the team, the scores from each of the judges were collected and tallied. And subsequently the top 3 ideas were identified. The three teams who placed 2nd and 1st runner up and champion respectively were Wastech, Epsilon and The Marauders. The winners of the final round are from the Islamic University of Technology (IUT). Team Epsilon is composed of students of Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). The team for Wastech has members from Adamjee Cantonment College, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) and Saint Joseph High School.
The event started at 10 am in morning as scheduled. The first item on the agenda was a quick description of the competition itself by the host and moderator of the event Mr. Ahmad Yeaseen, an associate at Inspira Advisory and Consulting Limited. Of what the objectives were, why it was being conducted, and what were the stages that ultimately lead to the final round.
Then the host went on to invite Ms. Monju Maria Palma, the Deputy Director of Urban Planning at World Vision Bangladesh. In her address, she welcomed the attendees for joining in for the final round of the event. She had special notes of thanks for the chief guest, Dr. Ainun Nishat, as well as key members of World Vision Bangladesh as well as representatives from Inspira Advisory and Consulting Limited. She then went on to touch on the purpose of the study and what were the expectations from this competition. And then her address was closed with a message of hope about the role of the youth in bringing in innovation to help address urban air pollution.
Following the presentation phase, the members of the judge’s panel made their remarks on the proceedings as well as an overall comment on all the ideas presented. Among them, Mr. Ahmed Jaway Yusuf, Advisory Lead, Bangladesh Angels remarked on the quality of the presentations and that the ideas make for really great discussions in their attempt to address air pollution.
Also on the judge’s panel, Mr. Dulon Joseph Gomes, noted that the ideas were well thought-out by the ideators and while some of the ideas may need some work before becoming implementation ready, they do have good promise. And there is scope for further discussions and scoping studies for each of the ideas.
Dr. Khabir Uddin, a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Jahangirnager University, who was one of the two academicians on the judge’s panel, started his address by thanking the organizers as well as the participants. He mentioned that he has been involved in environmental sciences for a while and thinks it’s very important that the young people be involved in this. He mentioned that we need initiative, awareness and long term preparation.
Also a member of the judge’s panel, Md. Ziaul Haque, the Director at the Department of Environment of the Government of Bangladesh, mentioned that he is very inspired by the fact that the youth of the nation are taking an active interest in addressing national problems. And that this is a good indication for the future. He also noted that he’s impressed by the fact that there were a few very new ideas in the mix.
At this point the host invited the Chief Guest of the event Dr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, at BRAC University to make the chief guest’s address. In his speech, Dr. Nishat said that he appreciates the fact that some of the participants did secondary research and tried to focus ideas into directly addressing pollutants. He also commended the participants’ fine presentation skills. He then pointed to some global practices on how urban air pollution is being addressed around the world and added an example of social awareness practices in India. He also encouraged the participants and the audience in general to start taking a more active interest in the topic and start studying up on air pollution.
Following the address from the chief guest, the mic was passed to Mr. Muntasir T. Chowdhury, Managing Director of Inspira Advisory and Consulting Limited, who began by describing the major tenets of the competition and a lot of the events which happened in the background to make this event possible. He remarked on the initiatives and resilience of the youth and their urge to get involved in becoming part of the solution.
At this point Mr. Muntasir first started by explaining the criteria for judgement used to score the ideas. Then he proceeded to name the top three teams in ascending order. The top three teams were respectively Team Wastech (2nd runner up) who scored 22 out of a possible 30. Next was Team Epsilon who scored 22.5 out of 30. And the champions of the final round of Urbania - World Vision Air Solutions Challenge were The Marauders who scored 23 out of 30. As the results were being announced, Mr. Muntasir remarked on how close the competition really was given that the difference between the top three was half a point each.
After this, Mr. Chandan Z. Gomes, Senior Director of Operations and Program Quality (SDO), World Vision Bangladesh was invited to present the closing remarks for the event. Mr. Gomes, remarked on the uniqueness and the boundless enthusiasm of the youth of the nation and how the final round indicated that once more. He went onto say that one of World Vision Bangladesh’s major objectives is to make Dhaka a safer and more livable place for children. And that World Vision Bangladesh actively explores more and more possibilities on how this can be achieved. He then mentioned that he is very glad about how well the World Vision Bangladesh team and the Inspira ACL team are collaborating so well in activities aimed at achieving these goals.
Following the remarks from Mr. Chandan Z. Gomes, Mr. Muntasir Tahmeed Chowdhury ended the session with a vote of thanks to all the participants, judges, and the audience.