World Wide Hearing (WWH), a Quebec, Canada-based non-profit organization that provides access to affordable hearing aids to children and youth in developing countries and underserved communities, is one of the 10 finalists competing for a $750,000 grant in the 2017 edition of Google.org Impact Challenge, Canada, WWH announced. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, has pledged to donate $5 million to 10 non-profit organizations utilizing technology to help effect social change.
WWH is developing a technology platform to address hearing loss: the Teleaudiology Cloud, which is being designed as a turnkey solution consisting of an open-access, cloud-based hearing loss platform. The Teleaudiology Cloud will reportedly enable audiologists and speech therapists to provide remote diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for hearing loss to children and youth within countries and across countries. The solution is tailored specifically to remote communities with limited or unreliable internet connectivity. Parents of children with hearing loss will also benefit from the technology, as they will receive counseling, education, and access to online peer groups. In the Inuit territory of Nunavut, Canada, for example, there is only one full-time audiologist for a population living over a vast geographical expanse, despite having some of the highest rates of child hearing loss in the world, according to the Bheny Project.
“We are very excited to have made it to the finals of the Google.org Global Impact Challenge | Canada and to have brought this project one step closer to execution,” said Audra Renyi, executive director of WWH. “Our project aims to connect children, parents and practitioners throughout the world to lift children with hearing loss out of social isolation and poverty.”
In the first two years of the project, the non-profit organization will work with its existing partners to connect to the platform children and schools in Indigenous communities in Canada, Peru, Guatemala, and the Philippines.
“It’s not every day that you get a chance to make the world a better place on such a significant scale,” says Sam Sebastian, vice-president, Google and Country Director, Canada. “We were bowled over by the response to this challenge—more than 900 non-profits from coast to coast to coast shared their best ideas with us, and the 10 projects selected as finalists are the best of the best.”
“We need public support to win and every vote matters,” said Renyi. “The Teleaudiology Cloud will change lives and create global impact. A vote for World Wide Hearing is a vote for humanity.”
Voting for the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge | Canada runs through March 28. The ten finalists will pitch their projects to a panel of judges at a closing event on March 30, 2017. A total of five winners will be chosen: four selected by the panel of judges and one winner chosen by public vote. The winners will receive up to $750,000 in grant funding and technical assistance from Google.org and the LEAP Centre for Social Impact.
For more information, visit the contest website and vote. For updates follow WWH on Facebook and Twitter. WWH received a $500,000 Google grant in 2015 for the development of a low-cost toolkit for the diagnosis of hearing loss, as Hearing Review reported.
Source: WWH, Google.org