What do you get when you take socially aware, highly motivated and innovative college students and ask them to help solve a pressing social or environmental problem? You get some downright creative and possibly world-changing ideas via the Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC).

The Dell Social Innovation Challenge was launched five years ago and in that time, hundreds of thousands have dollars have been awarded to teams of college students to help solve a persistent social or environmental issue. Ideas ranging from solutions for poverty and human rights issues to ideas to help combat crime and support education efforts have been submitted over the years.

Winners of the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Challenge were recently announced, with $50,000 being awarded to the grand prize winner, TakaTaka Solutions. Students from the London School of Economics and Zetech College in Nairobi joined forces for the winning idea.

“TakaTaka Solutions is a Nairobi-based social enterprise providing affordable and environmentally friendly waste management services. TakaTaka Solutions will be a global pioneer in establishing a sustainable waste management business model for lower income areas. By recycling and composting up to 80% of collected waste, TakaTaka Solutions will be able to offer waste management services at only $1 (U.S.) per household per month.” Source: DSIC

The second-place team, Malo Traders, was comprised of students from Temple University and Purdue University. Their idea focused on one of the most important food items in the world — rice.

Other winners and finalists in the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Challenge include:

  • Sanitation Solutions – University of Delhi, India
  • Libraries Across Africa – Rice University
  • Waste Not Wood – University of Michigan
  • Project Yele – Carnegie Mellon University
  • Sanergy – MIT
Learn more about each of this year’s winners by visiting the Dell Social Innovation Competition website. Join Dell in their recycling efforts -- click here to learn more.

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