Third Sector Awards: Digital Innovation of the Year – Sightsavers for Equal World campaign app

Awarded to a charity or social enterprise that is pushing the boundaries of digital technology to reach supporters, donors, or beneficiaries.

What is the aim of the technology? Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign called for the rights of people with disabilities to be upheld around the world, with separate campaign asks for governments in 14 coutnries. The app was developed to allow the charity to gather petition signatures from people in remote areas or without access to the internet, who would ordinarily be excluded from taking part in a digital campaign action. 

How does it work? The app allows people to sign with their finger on a mobile device. Anyone with the app authorised on their device can collect petition signatures, and once back in an area with an internet connection, the data is uploaded and accessed by Sightsavers’ team in the UK. 

Sightsavers adapted the charity’s existing data capture solution to work across different languages and trained key staff members in 14 countries, who then trained data collectors in the field.  Sightsavers technical team was on hand to troubleshoot and give additional support. The app was developed to be accessible to those with visual impairments or other disabilities.

What did it achieve? Sightsavers more than doubled its original target, gathering 50,455 signatures, including strong results from Uganda (6,685), Pakistan (5,764), and Guinea (4,233). The global petition was handed in to UN Under-Secretary-General Ana Maria Menendez on 3 December (International Day of People with Disabilities), and national petitions were handed in around the same date. The biggest success was in Pakistan, where the petition called on the government to pass a national disability bill into law. This milestone was achieved in January 2020.

What did the judges say? “The performance against targets has been impressive and it's fantastic to see it making a real difference to law in places like Pakistan.”

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