Judging Criteria

The Prize is looking for ideas that best meet the judging criteria outlined below. This section outlines the 6 criteria by which applications will be assessed and judged throughout the prize process.

Criteria 1: Digital Tools

The solution must be a digital tool that can be used by smallholder farmers or stakeholders who work with smallholder farmers. All types of digital technologies are encouraged and eligible for this prize.

We will be assessing:

  • The extent to which a solution incorporates digital technologies
  • Solutions that demonstrate new or adaptive digital approaches to help address the issue of FAW
  • How effectively the digital solution translates information into actionable insights for farmers
Please note:

In this instance, digital tools are described not only as technologies that generate, store, and process information, but also as an enabler for better information sharing that can lead to appropriate action. Digital tools and approaches should not be seen solely as a ‘thing’ but more as a way of ‘doing things’.

This is not an exhaustive list, but provides additional guidance to support your understanding of the breadth of approaches that can be taken:

  • Technologies may include IoT, AI, machine learning, sensors and modelling, to name but a few examples
  • Information can be derived from sources such as GPS, GNSS, geospatial, weather and environment data sets and/or from content like decision making processes, user experience and policy guidelines
  • Solutions can be in the form of hardware or software solutions, apps, computing platforms, electronic equipment, digital communications, social networking, interactive voice response, and audio visual material, etc.

Criteria 2: Actionable Information

The submission should provide timely, context-appropriate, and actionable advice to users to enable them to select among available best practices in treating incidence of fall armyworm.

We will be assessing

  • The effectiveness of the solution in communicating the importance of monitoring and intervening in the spread of FAW in sub-Saharan Africa
  • The extent to which farmers are able to mitigate against the threat, accurately identify and take action to combat FAW
  • The extent to which farmers are able to distinguish FAW (both the insect and/or the resultant damage) from other pests
  • How effectively the solution presents timely, actionable, and context-appropriate insights for farmers (see examples in notes)
  • The extent to which the advice presented reflects best practices and guidelines from information such as Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management 
  • How effectively the solution uses best practice methods, that may include but are not limited to, behavior change communications (BCC) and human-centered design (HCD)
  • Direct feedback from testing with diverse farmers and any other end-users about whether they can utilize the insights from the solution to make timely, action-oriented decisions with respect to FAW. (That is to say, farmers and those who support them are not being advised to use interventions unavailable to them)

Please note:

Context-appropriate advice should take into account issues including but not limited to:

  • The lifecycle of FAW
  • The type of crop and its growth stage in a given geography
  • The availability of certain interventions in a given geography, and at a given time (e.g., not recommending a pheromone trap if that trap is not available in a given region or as a matter of national policy)

Communication methods may also include:

  • Reminders
  • Trusted personal networks
  • Tapping into existing local, national, or international campaigns

Criteria 3: Accessibility

The solutions should demonstrate that there is a clear understanding of end-user needs (smallholder farmers and related stakeholders in sub-Saharan Africa), which can be effectively met with sufficient flexibility towards ease of use and affordability. Applications should take into consideration different languages, levels of education, digital literacy and connectivity.

We will be assessing:

  • How clearly an understanding of the specific need at farm level is articulated (e.g., what type of product/approach is most suitable for farmers and related stakeholders to access the information)
  • The ease of use of the solution/information (through testing)
  • How accessible the solution is likely to be to its target audience, and for underserved populations (e.g. women/girls, people with disabilities, and other socially relevant groups such as low-income, marginalized ethnicities, and landless or land-poor households), through the applicant’s account of business planning and distribution models
  • How the solution takes into account variations in digital penetration and digital connectivity and the  creativity it deploys to overcome those barriers
  • Value for money to the farmer or other end-users (including ongoing maintenance or replacement considerations)


Please Note:

Applicants should consider

  • Gender disparities in technology access, agricultural roles, and access to information and networks.
  • Obstacles that may inhibit acquisition and use.
  • Tactics to mitigate any barriers.
  • How much it will cost customers to buy and maintain it.
  • Who has the skills and capacity to maintain the solution.

Criteria 4: Potential Impact

The submission should present a tangible response to farmers’ unique experience with fall armyworm in sub-Saharan Africa, with clarity about how it intends to address a given situation and what difference that is likely to make.

Impact will be measured according to the degree to which the solutions can provide actionable insights for on the ground farming decisions to be made across sub-Saharan Africa, including associated impacts on environment and health.

We will be assessing: How clearly the understanding of need is translated into the solution and methods of dissemination to address the situation (e.g., how farmers might treat FAW to protect and maintain productivity)

  • Whether there is a good understanding of the likely impact that the solution will have on smallholder farmers, including gender and cultural dynamics
  • The extent to which applicants have developed a working prototype of the solution by June 2018 to test the prototype with smallholder farmers and extension services in Uganda (or a representative field site in another geography) on its utility and perceived impact for representative categories of intended adopters/users
  • The extent to which a diverse range of smallholder farmers (men, women, ethnic minorities, etc.) and extension or advisory services perceive the applicants solution (by experiencing a prototype) can have a positive impact on identifying, mitigating and combatting FAW.
  • How the solution minimizes environmental impact and ensures the sustainable use of natural resources
  • How the solution minimizes health impact and ensures informed choices around different pest control tactics

Criteria 5: Market Potential

Applicants should consider the commercial, sustainability and growth potential of their solution. Sustainability relates to both financial and environmental considerations.

We will be assessing

  • How well the solution has been developed in relation to a particular market and how well that particular market and its growth potential is understood
  • A realistic understanding of solutions that are already out there and how this solution fits into that landscape
  • Appreciation of the costs associated with the solution and bringing it to market, as well as how they compare to the costs of existing solutions currently available
  • The development of a sustainable business model that allows for scaling, ongoing product updates and maintenance
  • Demonstration that the production and deployment of an applicant’s solution will value and respect environmental sustainability
  • Any partnerships or strategies to ensure the affordable and effective transmission of the innovation

Please note:

The business and distribution models should take into account:

  • How accessible the solution is likely to be, including by underserved populations (e.g. women/girls, people with disabilities, and other socially relevant groups such as low-income, marginalized ethnicities, and landless or land-poor households)
  • Production values that minimize negative environmental and health impacts

Criteria 6: Adherence to Regulations, Privacy and Norms

Applicants will consider international norms with respect to digital development and fall armyworm when proposing their innovations.

We will be assessing:

  • Adherence to any laws in the target country(s) for implementation and the host country of the applicant including, but not limited to, digital tools, pesticide use, genetically modified organism use, remote sensing tools, or data protocols
  • Reference to appropriate practices in Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management
  • Incorporation of the Principles for Digital Development
  • The ability of the solution to relay data to others tracking the incidence of FAW
  • Protection of any personally identifiable information if collected or used
  • Cultural sensitivities and norms

Please note:

Considerations here include rules, regulations, principles, or norms surrounding:

  • Digital tools
  • Pesticide use (including the introduction of biopesticides) and the appropriate and effective use of PPE if using pesticides.
  • Improved seeds, crops and/or genetically modified organism use
  • Remote sensing tools
  • Data protocols

This is just a guide for some of the aspects of your solution that are affected by regulations, privacy laws and cultural norms.  Please be mindful of the areas of consideration for your solution.

Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

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