Please note that the details of this Challenge are no longer open. This challenge is awarded and is no longer accepting new submissions. You can:
Challenge Wash Away Mobile Game Challenge by UBS Optimus Foundation
Wash Away Mobile Game Challenge by UBS Optimus Foundation
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 675
Posted: Mar 23 2015
Challenge ID: 9933736
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge. Team Share Challenge Share

In the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 5 phones exist for every 2 toilets. Even in areas with toilets, a lack of education and understanding about proper use has led to 60% of the population practicing open defecation. As a key factor in debilitating health and social inflictions, open defecation is one of the facets that has resulted in an infant mortality rate of 36/1000 (a fifth of these deaths from sanitation related illnesses). This Challenge requires Solvers to present their ideas for a mobile phone game which can educate 5-14 year old children about better hygiene practices and persuade them to instinctively use sanitation facilities rather than defecate in the open. 

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only the submission of a completed application form.



Government and NGO led initiatives have resulted in increased numbers of toilets in Tamil Nadu and recent calls by Prime Minister Modi will only increase this availability. However, past studies have found that toilet use has been 20-30% of the expected levels. Open defecation is so commonplace, that any alternative is seen as un-natural and is widely rejected (more recent surveys by the RICE Institute in New Delhi have found that in homes with a newly installed toilet, 40% of household members still defecate outside). 

As reported in the Lancet (November, 2014), intervention “approaches should not only meet international coverage targets, but should also be implemented in a way that achieves uptake… and delivers genuine health gains”. Following this paradigm shift, this Challenge seeks to use educational and persuasive mobile games to change children’s attitudes towards hygiene. The hope is to develop life-long learning and initiate a multiplier effect for wider societal ramifications. 

This Challenge asks Solvers to design a java or smartphone game with multiple WASH educational aspects: 1) negatives associated with open defecation, 2) correct toilet usage, 3) toilet cleanliness & maintenance. In addition to education, games should persuade users to build upon this learning and enact behavioral changes. 

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. Solvers are required to download the Application Form located in the Challenge Attachments section (right hand side of this page) and submit a completed version. Only completed Application Forms will be considered for awards: supporting documents are optional but must be included with the submission. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation by an advisory board of WASH experts, educational game designers, and Tamil Nadu leaders; with a final decision by the UBS Optimus Foundation. The Foundation intends to make multiple awards with a largest award of up to $20K and no award less than $3K

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) Friday 19th June. Late submissions will not be considered

To receive an award, Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker. Instead, they will grant the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their Solutions. 

Due diligence and verification processes will occur for winning Solvers and they are then expected to attend an award ceremony where presentations to the UBS Optimus Foundation will initiate potential partnerships to further develop games alongside access to up to $200,000 of further funding.


The UBS Optimus Foundation is an expert grant-making foundation established by UBS in 1999. The Foundation works to break down barriers that prevent children from reaching their potential by funding schemes to improve the health, education and protection of children. The UBS Optimus Foundation supports projects in countries where children face adversity: they focus on results and are dedicated to improving the health and development of children in measurable, cost-effective and lasting ways.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge?

An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge, meaning that the Seeker is requesting non-exclusive rights to use the winning solution. By contrast, Theoretical-IP Transfer means that Solvers must relinquish all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. For these forms of a Theoretical Challenge, Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

Share This Challenge