Two IMBA Students Wins 2nd Place in the 2021 Geneva Challenge – Advancing Development Goals International Contest

  • 2022-02-25
  • Admin Admin
IMBA is pleased to announce that two of its students, Arlene Chang from the Philippines and Inez Lim from Singapore, represented Asia at the 2021 Geneva Challenge, which took place on November 16, 2021. The team, which included another graduate student from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, finished second worldwide.

The Geneva Challenge - Advancing Development Goals Contest is an annual competition hosted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, in which master students from around the world are encouraged to submit proposals to address a pressing development issue. In its eighth edition, students were asked to provide solutions to "The Challenges of Crisis Management."

Five finalists teams, each representing a continent from across the world, were chosen and invited to present at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva. The team had to make their presentation virtually due to the global pandemic.

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The live feed from the Graduate Institute as the team presents virtually.

In order to address the Philippines' food insecurity and malnutrition concerns, the team presented DAAN, a digital solution that could be used to ensure that essential goods can move freely across the country's National Capital Region (NCR). It also aims to promote systemic cooperation and data-driven planning in order to reduce food waste caused by poor logistics.

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Team Asia represented by Arlene Chang and Inez Lim from National Chengchi University, and a graduate student from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada

"There were a lot of news headlines during the first wave of the COVID-19 in the Philippines about how tons of vegetables were thrown out due to border controls and contradictory government policies. At the same time, the lockdown resulted in food insecurity in the capital; it appeared to be criminal that food was being thrown away as people struggled to acquire food. So we know that as a team, we wanted to create a solution that can help address that" said Arlene

The projects underwent different iterations. The initial idea was to develop a solution to make government procurement sustainable. However, since the scope was too broad, the team had to narrow it to make it more actionable. During one of the late-night discussions, one of the team members, Inez, shared her experience in how Singapore is utilizing technology in its fight for COVID-19. This insight led to the development of the final proposal called DAAN, which also means "road" or "way" in Filipino, DAAN is an app that digitalizes the food pass and paves the way for more efficient logistics. This multidisciplinary solution is based on the team's observations of Singapore's COVID-19 pandemic efforts and study into the Philippine government's digitalization push.

Leveraging on the learnings from the different IMBA classes and the diverse disciplinary perspectives, the team was able to come up with a business proposal that was theoretically grounded and actionable. They were awarded CHF 5,000 (NT 150,000) in prize money for coming in second place, which they will use to further develop their concept.

Arlene encourages more participation to this case competition in the future from NCCU: "The Geneva Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for students to put what they have learnt in class into practice in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I learned a range of business models from IMBA, which I was able to use to my project. I am delighted I was able to put what I learned in the IMBA program to use; since it instilled in me an entrepreneurial mindset as well as a greater awareness of social issues. I strongly encourage all NCCU graduate (masters) students to join in this year’s edition of the Geneva Challenge. The theme for this year's edition is "The Challenge of Poverty Reduction."

To learn more about the competition, go to