The 3rd ASEAN-India Grassroots Innovation Forum 2022 was held on 19-21 December 2022 at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The threeday forum served as a platform for participants from ASEAN and Indian communities to share experiences and best practices in grassroots innovation.
During the launch event, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh highlighted the significant contribution of grassroots innovators. “Public and private institutions need to understand grassroots innovation sociocultural dynamics and encourage innovation, particularly towards advancing the circular economy. Policymakers, especially the local government, must acknowledge grassroots innovators as valuable contributors to creativity, employment, and productivity,” he said.
“India attached high importance to grassroots and student innovations in our science, technology, and innovation policy as these are not just integral to it but also its significant driving forces. I urge our friends in ASEAN Member States to continue their commitment towards social innovations and collectively ensure that tomorrow is better than today for each one of us.”
Bringing together the key stakeholders, this forum aimed to promote and strengthen the development of the grassroots innovation ecosystem. The event consisted of seminar sessions, innovation competitions, and an exhibition displaying 100 technological innovations from nine countries.
Of the 45 participating innovators, Shalini Kumari from India clinched the top prize in the Grassroot Innovation Competition for creating a modified walker with adjustable legs. Shalini’s innovation was inspired by her grandfather’s struggle to climb stairs with his walker. The walker she created has spring-loaded selflocking front legs so that it can be used to climb stairs. The walker is also equipped with a foldable seat for resting and a horn and light.
The second prize was awarded to Meriam Bouquia from the Philippines for her innovative multi-purpose fibre stripper. Myo Thaw from Myanmar won third prize with his GreenToddy’s Palmyra palm coconut. Each winner received a cash prize of 1,500, 1,000, and 500 US dollars, respectively.
To nurture youth innovators from ASEAN and India, 37 participants engaged in the Student Innovation Forum. Napaschol Inthapan from Thailand won first prize for creating an Osteoarthritis Rehabilitation Assistant (ORA) while Tanapat Charunworaphan from Thailand and Phonsena Chanthavong from the Lao PDR won second and third prizes.
The ASEAN-India Grassroots Innovation Forum is organised annually by the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) in partnership with India’s DST and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF)India. The first forum was held in Indonesia in 2018 and the second was held in the Philippines in 2019.