Switch is the Prague Civil Society Centre’s grant scheme for tech solutions to social issues across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
It is designed for anybody with an idea that uses technology to transform their society, spread their message, push for change or improve their community.
We are currently welcoming applications for funding under the first ever Switch scheme, and are looking to kick-start new ideas, turn prototypes into projects, and help civic tech initiatives scale-up.
Sketches created by Medialab.am
Across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, technology is being used in a host of exciting and innovative civic campaigns. People, groups and individuals who have never considered themselves part of ‘civil society’ are often the most disruptive, creative and effective at recognising, addressing and devising solutions to a range of social problems.
Switch is designed to kick-start and push forward these initiatives, within ‘civil society’ and beyond, from famous organisations with a track-record of serving their communities to technology professionals designing apps to raise awareness of climate change, bloggers and journalists using maps and drones to investigate corruption and conflict, or the social entrepreneur launching a new online shop. Those people who are trying to improve their society, raise money for their community and engage the public in changing policy.
Who are we looking for?
Switch is open to any individual, group or organisation which has a tech-based solution to a social problem, or a project to change their society. You can be an activist, an IT professional, a journalist, blogger, campaigner, social entrepreneur, fully-fledged NGO or none of the above. We don’t care what box you tick, as long as you can think outside of it and tell us how you are going to make your city, village, country, or the entire region, more conscious, tolerant, open, informed or empowered.
You should live and work in one – or more – of the countries displayed in yellow on the map below. However, projects do not have to be country-specific, and we encourage cross-border initiatives or ideas which can be replicated or scaled-up across the region.
We are also really interested to hear from people who have never received a grant of this kind before, or who have difficult accessing funding. And, we look for original, unorthodox and creative partnerships – those which bring people from different industries, backgrounds, cities and countries together, and which show the power of collaboration and teamwork.
What are we looking for?
Just as we are ready to work with anybody who has an idea or a project ready to go, we also place no restrictions on the kind of ideas or projects we support. The only limit is financial – we’ll offer up to €8,000 per initiative – and that you must use technology to address a social problem. In your proposal, you should be able to talk about the problem you want to fix, and why you, and your chosen solution, should be selected.
We prefer solutions which are in the more-advanced stages of development, so that you can scale-up your project at short notice. That means if your new gadget or app is at a prototype stage, or if you could launch a new website or pilot a new service within a few months, we definitely want to hear from you. But don’t be put off if you only have a few notes on a piece of paper – if you can show it will work, we’re ready to help.
Our expert selection panel of tech and civic experts from around the world – Douglas Arellanes, Dr Gregory Asmolov and Filip Noubel – have decades of experience in their fields, and are looking for projects which have the potential to grow quickly, and can be replicated in other cities and countries, adding to the collective knowledge and experience of tech activism.
Think you’re a match? Then fill in our application form below by Sunday 5 November and one of our team will get in touch with you to discuss your idea in more detail.