The fight against COVID-19 is at a crucial tipping point, so the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and, an Avnet company and the largest online open-source technology hardware community, are taking action. The two organizations have partnered to launch the COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge to create open-source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against this global pandemic.

The new design challenge is a call to action for all hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, innovators and inventors to come up with innovative ideas to cost-efficiently support COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries. There will be prizes and recognition awarded to the top ten solutions, and Avnet will provide support to accelerate the winners’ time to market by offering business consultation and access to engineering, design and manufacturing resources.

“The COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge aims to surface innovative solutions that developing countries can immediately use to tackle the pandemic — that could be everything from new 3D-printable protective equipment to software that can detect future outbreaks,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

“Utilising UNDP’s global network and the diverse resources of our supporting partners, we will work with the winning creators to disseminate this knowledge and assist those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.”

UNDP’s Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development, Singapore will work with country offices and partner tech companies to meet the needs of countries and regions with lack of resources where COVID-19 could have the greatest impact. UNDP will work with governments to help ensure regulations, procurement procedures, and policies to catalyse and make use of innovations.

“Through this challenge, our community at Hackster, the UNDP and Avnet’s technology partners are coming together to provide innovative solutions to get lifesaving technology to some of the world’s most vulnerable areas,” said Bill Amelio, CEO, Avnet. “We are proud to partner with the UNDP to activate local technology ecosystems to develop, shape and implement open-source solutions that can help detect and protect against COVID-19 around the world. It’s a truly global collaboration, with a longer-term and positive multiplier effect.”

This global challenge builds on exciting initiatives like the ‘Global Hack’ and others that are galvanizing the broader tech community to find urgent solutions for COVID-19.

The challenge is open through the summer of 2020. For more information and to submit your challenge please visit

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