Google Impact Challenge

10 projects to make a better world, faster.



Online platform to enable separating parents to resolve disputes

Relate: Online platform to enable separating parents to resolve disputes

A quarter of the 12 million children living in the UK have experienced parental separation. The separation process can be traumatic, resulting in issues ranging from problems at school to long term mental health issues. Relate will create a new online service for separating parents. It will contain information, advice, self-help tools and exercises, with the aim of helping separating parents to better understand what the biggest issues are for them, what the priorities are for their families, and start making arrangements. The project will also give parents access to good and affordable help if they get stuck. The platform aims to help parents reach fairer and faster agreements, and learn to do this in ways that minimise conflict, protecting their children and laying the foundations for co-operative parenting. In five years, Relate's online family dispute resolution service will support 55,000 divorcing and separating couples and their over 90,000 dependent children.


Data analytics to keep young people off the streets

Centrepoint: Data analytics to keep young people off the streets

There are approximately 80,000 homeless young people in the UK, and Centrepoint are working to support those who have already fallen through the gaps and are living on the street. Centrepoint will create a comprehensive database that - with the application of predictive analytical techniques - will provide the insights necessary to end youth homelessness. Centrepoint will establish a regular, national online survey of young people, and create an app to help homeless charities keep in touch with ex-homeless young people to learn what made a difference in getting them off the streets. The project will create a positive community where young people can be proud of turning their lives around, and in turn provide the insights to help others. In three years, Centrepoint hope that this project will positively impact the lives of all 80,000 homeless young people in the UK.

St Giles Trust

Online hub to support former offenders transitioning back to the community

St Giles Trust: Online hub to support former offenders transitioning back to the community

Over 84,000 people are currently in prison in the UK and the majority will be released one day. Former offenders face many barriers, including homelessness, unemployment, financial difficulties, addiction and mental health issues. St Giles Trust will create a dedicated app that builds on their existing peer-to-peer network, and place specially trained former offenders at the heart of a multi-channel support system. The app aims to revolutionise rehabilitation - in the next three years this project will support 80,000 people with criminal convictions and their families in the UK.


Peer-to-peer communication service to help farmers improve their livelihoods

WeFarm: Peer-to-peer communication service to help farmers improve their livelihoods

With 60% of people without internet access across the globe, most farmers are unable to access information that could transform their livelihoods. The Cafédirect Producers' Foundation has created WeFarm, which uses basic mobile phones to allow farmers to share ideas and crowdsource innovative solutions across continents and languages. The technology has already helped a farmer in Peru, who could no longer afford fertilizer, to receive a fully translated recipe from a Kenyan farmer for a low cost organic alternative. In the next three years, WeFarm will create a more robust and secure system that will help to empower five million smallholders with the information needed to take action. It will enable them to improve their farming practices, with the goal of lifting their families and communities out of poverty, and improving food security globally.


App to give young people the skills for work

Catch22: App to give young people the skills for work

Over 800,000 young people are out of work, with around 200,000 unemployed for over one year. Despite employment growth forecast, employers still struggle to find young people with the skills they want. Catch22 have created an app to provide young people with the skills to get into work, from running a community project they care about, to identifying the skills they are gaining and rewarding them with employability badges. Catch22 will develop the app to ensure that it meets the needs of the most disadvantaged young people and empower those who may not thrive in traditional settings to take control of their future. Over the next two years, the app will motivate 100,000 of the most disadvantaged young people to gain the right skills for employment.

Virunga Foundation

Crowdsourcing platform to help protect wildlife and communities in the DRC

Virunga Foundation: Crowdsourcing platform to help protect wildlife and communities in the DRC

The Virunga National Park lies within an area of great conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and its variety of wildlife and abundance of minerals and oil potential makes it a prime target for those trying to illegally benefit from these resources which puts the park rangers' lives at risk every day. The Virunga Foundation will develop a public safety program that aims to provide real-time tracking and mapping of the park, as well as decreased security response times via a low cost phone and voice-based reporting solution. This project will change the way that local people engage with authorities and respond to security threats, and improve the conservation of one of Africa's richest but most threatened national parks. In 10 years, Virunga Foundation hope that this project could build 35 communication hubs that cover four million people in the DRC, enabling them to protect the park and it's precious wildlife and resources.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Crowdsourcing data to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Crowdsourcing data to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of some of the most deadly and costly diseases, with more than half the world's population living in areas where they are routinely exposed to disease carrying mosquitoes. One of the most deadly diseases that they transmit is malaria, that kills over 600,000 people every year. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew will equip villagers in rural Indonesia with wearable acoustic sensors to detect the sound of mosquitoes. Each species has its own wing beat allowing the research team to record the occurrence of different species, as well as daily readings of critical environmental conditions. Combined with detailed vegetation maps, this will be able to track disease-bearing mosquitoes. Over the next three years, Kew Gardens will work with Oxford University to turn this project into a reality, creating a downloadable smartphone app and a range of wearable acoustic detectors. This novel technology will be trialled in 150 rural households in Indonesia with the aim of preventing and managing outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease. This prototype technology has the potential ultimately to be rolled out in every region of the world where mosquito-borne diseases pose a threat to life.


Smart glasses to improve life for people with sight loss

RNIB: Smart glasses to improve life for people with sight loss

There are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives. Over 90% of these individuals have some remaining vision. The RNIB are developing smart glasses that enable those with very limited vision to make use of what sight remains, increasing confidence and providing richer ways to navigate and communicate with people. The prototype has already enabled users to identify faces and obstacles more clearly than they have seen for years.

Within 18 months, RNIB hope to be able to revolutionise the lives of 1,000 people living with sight loss, providing the foundations to create a low-cost version with additional functionality for people with sight loss around the world.

Carr Gomm

App to empower people to manage their social care

Carr Gomm: App to empower people to manage their social care

Carr Gomm regularly deals with people with a broad range of disabilities, who feel a sense of disempowerment when it comes to their own social care. They feel that they have little control over what support they receive, and this can hinder their ability to lead fulfilled lives.

To help combat this, Carr Gomm are developing an app that will allow them to proactively choose who in their support team they want to see and when they want to see them. It will also allow them to monitor how much of their support budget they have used, and to record social care outcomes in preparation for review by their local authority. They can then show the difference that the social care package has made to their lives. Already in limited use in Scotland, Carr Gomm will use the latest technologies to transform ClickGo into a product that is available to more people across the world.

In three years, Carr Gomm's Click Go project will enable at least 13,000 people across the UK to exercise direct choice and control of their social care support.


Digital games to help improve young people's mental health

Shift: Digital games to help improve young people's mental health

One in four people will be affected by a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, half of which start by the age of 14.

Shift will develop digital game technology to help young people strengthen their emotional resilience and manage stress, with the ultimate result of increasing their well-being and reducing the incidence of mental health problems. Using a combination of a wearable wristband sensor and Android game technology, the game monitors the players heart rate and rewards players who stay calm under pressure. Shift will further develop and launch the game, as well as create a program for schools to utilise it in well-being training programmes. In three years, Shift's digital game will train 35,000 young people to strengthen their emotional resilience and improve their mental health.

The Google Impact Challenge supports UK charities using technology to tackle problems and transform lives around the world. Charities shared their ideas and we asked you to vote for your favourites from our top ten.

The top four winners, including the people's choice project and three projects selected by our panel of judges, received £500,000. The additional six finalists received £200,000.

All ten charities are also recieving support from and Nesta to make their vision a reality.

Supported by

Winners of the previous edition

Check out the progress of the winners from the 2013 Google Impact Challenge in the UK.


Solar lights for off-grid communities

SolarAid: Solar lights for off-grid communities

SolarAid helps provide access to solar lighting in rural African communities by establishing a distribution network through schools and working with local entrepreneurs. Since the Google Impact Challenge, SolarAid has sold over 500,000 lamps, taking the total to 1 million since 2009. With Google’s support, they are expanding into two new countries and aim to sell a further million lights in the next twelve months.

Integrity Action

Mobile tracking to get development right

Integrity Action: Mobile tracking to get development right

Integrity Action improves public infrastructure and services in war-torn countries through an online feedback platform for citizens to report on development projects. Through the Google Impact Challenge, Integrity Action has built a mobile app and enabled civil society organisations and community members to monitor projects which have benefitted 300,000 people.

Apps for Good

Helping kids create digital solutions to real-life problems

Apps for Good: Helping kids create digital solutions to real-life problems

CDI Apps for Good is revolutionising computer science by engaging kids in the hands-on creation of problem-solving digital products. With the the support of the Google Impact Challenge, Apps for Good has scaled their impact from 6,000 to 17,000 students, reaching into Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as two international pilots.


Smart cameras for wildlife conservation

ZSL: Smart cameras for wildlife conservation

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) uses next generation camera traps, equipped with automated sensors, to better protect threatened wildlife. As the Fan Favourite in the 2013 Google Impact Challenge, ZSL have already tested five cameras in Tsavo West National Park that will be rolled out this summer to help stop the crisis of wildlife poaching. Five cameras have also been successfully deployed in Antarctica for testing and to protect and monitor colonies of penguins - a world first.

Meet the judges

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation

Emma Freud

Broadcaster and Director, Comic Relief

Peter Jones CBE

Dragon and Entrepreneur

Jacquelline Fuller


Matt Brittin

Vice President, Google in Northern and Central Europe

Helen Goulden

Executive Director, Nesta Innovation Lab