Creative Commons licenseAs the implementor of USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, Integra is proud to announce that over $900,000 will be awarded to our four Grand Prize Winners to accelerate their solutions to combat wildlife crime. Chosen from 16 elite Prize Winners, these innovators presented truly exceptional and promising innovations that can significantly impact the fight against the illegal trafficking of terrestrial and marine wildlife. The Grand Prize Winners and their solutions, in no particular order include:

  1. New England Aquarium: Automated Shipment Forensics
  2. New York University:  Enforcement Gaps Interface
  3. University of Washington: Genetically Tracking the Illegal Pangolin Trade to Identify Poaching Hotspots
  4. The National Whistleblower Center: The Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program

The Grand Prizes will accelerate and scale these groundbreaking science and tech solutions in the fight against wildlife crime. To learn more about the Grand Prize Winners and each of their solutions, please visit the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge website here.

Further, all of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge Prize Winners need an active community of supporters to help them stamp out illegal wildlife trade. For more information or to support our winners,  please contact the Challenge at info@wildlifecrimetech.org.

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Snapshot of planned foreign assistance from ForeignAssistance.gov

Integra recently completed a performance and technical evaluation of the implementation of the Foreign Assistance Coordination and Tracking System (FACTS Info) Next Generation (NextGen) project, instituted by the Office of US Foreign Assistance Resources (F). FACTS Info serves as the central information system for all foreign assistance budgeting, operational planning, and performance management processes overseen by F and stands at the nexus of F and operating units worldwide. Integra was contracted to identify the technical and functionality issues within the FACTS Info System, as well as any managerial areas of needed improvement. The evaluation, awarded in September 2015, was conducted over the course of five months, awarded under MOBIS Schedule 874.

Integra LLC and its subcontractor, Sonjara Inc., conducted an extensive assessment of the system’s technical and management factors, and identified accomplishments and challenges encountered within the project to date. As part of the evaluation, the team recommended practical solutions to the senior management at F and the FACTS Info NextGen project team, to assist them in meeting their implementation schedule for CY 2016.

Integra hopes that the evaluation and recommendations provided will help the client to prioritize and implement both short-term and long-term corrective plans towards improved performance in project and people management practices, while maintaining the current schedule of deployment of the FACTS NG system.

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As the implementor of USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, Integra is excited to announce that USAID, with support of its partners National Geographic, Smithsonian, and TRAFFIC, has selected 16 Prize Winners to receive $10,000 as well as technical and networking assistance. Selected from a pool of 300 Applicants from 52 countries, Prize Winners comprise individuals, nonprofits, academic institutions, and corporations from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Winning innovations range from camera traps integrated with seismic sensors to portable electronic “sniffers” and online whistleblower platforms.

Each will receive Prize Package of $10,000, recognition, networking opportunities, technical support to scale or accelerate their solutions, and the opportunity to compete for a Grand Prize of up to $500,000. USAID will use Grand Prizes to target and invest in the most promising solutions. To learn more about Prize Winners and their solutions please click here.

The Challenge is also seeking individuals or groups that will work with Prize Winners to accelerate their solutions and bring them to new markets and users. To learn more about how can support Prize Winners to combat wildlife crime, please contact the Challenge via email at info@wildlifecrimetech.org or visit the Challenge website here.

investors-bannerIntegra is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a new task order under the REPLACE IDIQ to conduct a biodiversity and extractives political economy assessment (PEA) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The main objective of the PEA is to better understand how key actors’ interests and incentives help or hinder USAID programming to conserve biodiversity in extractive industries. Through three separate case studies in locations to be determined, Integra will utilize the PEA approach to examine how natural resource extraction is affected by a range of factors, including but not limited to governance, conflict and resource depletion. The results of this study will help inform how USAID programming can be designed to better protect biodiversity in the face of such factors. Integra will also conduct several capacity building efforts to support USAID personnel in utilizing PEAs to inform and update their efforts in the biodiversity space.

The implementation of this task order will involve a literature review and fieldwork to be conducted in early 2106. The three case studies will be issue specific, in locations to be determined across Sub Saharan Africa. Upon completion of the case studies, Integra will also lead several consultative processes to disseminate and discuss findings and lessons learned, not only to USAID Mission personnel but also with the broader conservation community.

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Drip Irrigation in Cabo Verde

Integra is pleased to announce that it has been awarded USAID’s Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Uptake Study under the REPLACE IDIQ. The study, commissioned by USAID’s Africa Bureau, will assess the barriers to and incentives for African farmers to adopt CSA practices.

Climate Smart Agriculture refers to the suite of practices or approaches that sustainably increase agricultural productivity, adapt and build resilience to climate change in agricultural systems, and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. There are hundreds of CSA practices, and the most well-known include drip irrigation, no-till farming, and the use of weather information systems to make planting decisions. Donor agencies and governments have been promoting these and similar practices to African farmers for years, with mixed results.

The study will assess the current status of CSA uptake, and it will gather information on known barriers to the adoption of CSA practices and effective incentives for encouraging their uptake. This will be done through an in-depth literature review, interviews with key actors in both Africa and the United States, and through two field-based case studies in different regions of Africa. The information will be rigorously  analyzed, and, working with USAID, we will develop recommendations for future programming. Our work will result in USAID Missions and others in Africa taking more effective and realistic approaches to promoting CSA practices.

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To date, the ASEAN region has been home to three successful attempts to establish broadband networks using “TV White Space”, or empty space in the broadcast frequency spectrum. As a result, telecommunications regulators and policy makers from around the region are now considering their approaches to the governance frameworks that will need to be established in order to allow the technology to be rolled out more broadly. To help decision makers learn more about the successful trials and to help them frame the decisions that will need to be made, Integra designed and facilitated the ASEAN-sponsored Wireless Broadband and Dynamic Frequency Allocation Conference, held 7-8 September 2015 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Thirty-two regulators and policy makers from nine ASEAN countries met for the conference, which was supported by USAID’s “ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment” activity, on which Integra is a subcontractor to Nathan Associates.

The conference included discussions of the ASEAN TV White Space pilots, led by implementers from the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines, and by Microsoft’s Singapore office. It included a presentation on the fundamentals of the technology from the US Federal Communications Commission, and extensive participation by the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance. The meeting also provided a forum for participants to discuss policy, regulatory, financial, and business model conditions involved in bringing TVWS to scale serving rural populations.

The participants identified key themes in expanding TV White Space – including ensuring that all stakeholders were involved in discussions, and that spectrum policy was coordinated regionally. They will have the opportunity to continue to do just that, as a follow-up conference was been announced for October 19th-20th in Vietnam.

Integra is pleased to announce that it has been awarded USAID’s Performance and Technical Evaluation of the Foreign Assistance Coordination and Tracking System (FACTS Info) Next Generation project. In partnership with Sonjara, Inc., a women-owned ICT for development firm, Integra will conduct an analysis to identify the technical and functionality issues that may be contributing to delays and challenges within the FACTS Info System. In addition to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the system, the evaluation will also identify any management problems that may have occurred during the project’s implementation.

This evaluation is Integra’s first award under its MOBIS Schedule 874, recently acquired in May 2015. This government-wide, multiple award schedule contract allows Integra to provide a full range of consulting and business program support services to federal agencies looking to improve performance and meet mission goals. The vehicle is accessible to all federal agencies, which may place orders directly with Integra. For more information regarding Integra’s schedule, please visit the GSA website here.

shutterstock_139668457USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge has an opportunity to live demo some very promising wildlife tech solutions at SXSW 2016, but first the project needs your help!

The Challenge has applied to host a panel at SXSW Interactive 2016, one of the world’s top social innovation summits. Public voting, which begins August 10, 2015, accounts for 30% of SXSW’s PanelPicker process. While Integra thinks the proposal is great, competition is fierce and the Challenge would love your vote.

The project’s panel would feature two Challenge Prize Winners demonstrating the technologies they’ve developed to disrupt wildlife trafficking. These could potentially include apps, geospatial systems, and animal-mounted sensors. The Challenge expect to announce Prize Winners in late fall of 2015, so SXSW could potentially be the first showcase of these exciting innovations!

To learn more about the proposal and cast your vote, you’ll need to log into the SXSW PanelPicker page. Here’s how:

    1. Click here to log in to the SXSW PanelPicker page. Click “Create Account” under the blue “Sign In” button to create your free account if you don’t already have one. You should receive a confirmation email to activate your account. Once it is activated, enter your email address/password, and click the blue “Sign In” button.
    2. Visit our voting page directly or search for the proposal by choosing the “Search/Vote” tab. The proposal is titled “Fighting Wildlife Crime with Tech Innovation”.
    3. Once you are on the voting page, click the thumbs up to vote!

Voting ends on Friday September 4, 2015, so there’s plenty of time to ask your friends on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn to vote for the Challenge as well. We hope to see you at SXSW 2016, and in the meantime, stay tuned and thanks for joining the fight against wildlife crime.

As the prime contractor of USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, Integra is excited to announce that the Concept Notes are in and currently undergoing technical review! During the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge’s ten-week application window, individuals and organizations countries around the world submitted 300 Concept Notes covering a variety of solutions that address both terrestrial and marine wildlife. Some highlights from the pool of Concept Notes received include:

  • 52 countries represented
  • 67% applied from outside the United Statess
  • 50% were individuals; 50% represented organizations
  • 53% had no prior experience combating wildlife trafficking
  • 86% had not previously received USAID funding

The application window closed June 30, 2015, and a technical review of applications has begun. Next, nine judges representing the fields of conservation, law enforcement, business, technology, journalism, and government will select the Finalists that will apply for a Prize Package comprising $10,000, recognition, and technical and networking support. Winners of the Prize Package will have an opportunity to apply for a Grand Prize of up to $500,000. Stay tuned for the Finalists announcement in early September!

Beginning in 2016, the Challenge will support the acceleration and scale-up of winning solutions by offering targeted support and technical assistance. The Challenge is looking for individuals or groups who will work with Winners to accelerate and scale the solutions to new markets and users. To learn more about the Challenge and how you can get involved, please visit the project website at www.wildlifecrimetech.org.

In partnership with Microsoft, Hitachi, Jogja Medianet, and the Government of Indonesia, Integra recently concluded a year-long field trial of a new technology that has the potential to revolutionize broadband access in rural parts of the developing world. The pilot was implemented with funding from the US Agency for International Development, and NetHope, Inc.  A short fact sheet about the TVWS pilot can be downloaded here. The full TVWS report can downloaded here. Read more

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