Winners & Finalists of 2016

First Prize

Maternal Depression by ThinkStrong

Research Team
Anisha Gururaj, MSc in Global Governance, University of Oxford,
Ashley Pople, DPhil in Economics for Development, University of Oxford,

Project Summary
30% of all mothers in developing countries face maternal depression during and after their pregnancy; yet this critical social challenge remains almost invisible. ThinkStrong is researching maternal mental health services in low-resource environments, with a focus on capacity building initiatives in screening and treatment. ThinkStrong believe that the maternal depression challenge is a microcosm of global public health issues such as physical health prioritisation, low availability of human resources, and social determinants of health such as gender and socioeconomic class. Despite the scientific evidence on prevalence, socio-economic impact, and potential solutions, there is a gap between the research and the mothers who need support. As a largely neglected public health crisis, systems addressing maternal depression require corrective and transformative innovation.

View ThinkStrong’s Infographic

Download ThinkStrong’s Bibliography

Second Prize

Fresh Produce Value Chain in Sierra Leone by Mama Tamatis

Research Team
Kaspar Baumann, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Ryan Chen-Wing, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Julian Cottee, Researcher at Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
Songqiao Yao, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16

Project Summary
Unlike in the sophisticated global food network which connects agricultural producers to customers throughout much of the world, Sierra Leone’s agricultural industry experiences post-harvest wastage of over 60%. The lack of adequate infrastructure and logistical coordination has resulted in multiple challenges to delivering agricultural produce from smallholder farmers to consumers in urban areas. In addition, cheap imports of processed food are widely available in the local market, making it difficult for domestic processing companies to compete. Looking at fresh tomatoes as a research case, the Mama Tamatis Team has examined the fresh produce value chain and identified the successful and failing solutions within this landscape. The Apprenticing with the Problem funding from the Skoll Centre will enable the team to spend three months in Sierra Leone to further study the fresh produce value chain from both the demand and supply side perspectives.

Download Mama Tamatis’ Presentation

Download Mama Tamatis’ Report

Dowload Mama Tamatis’ Bibliography

Third Prize

An Analysis of Gaps and Opportunities in Germany’s Refugee Integration System by Refugee Connect

Research Team

Noura Ismail, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Avinash Nanda, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Karen Ng, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Amrinder Singh, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16

Project Summary
Due to a substantial inflow of refugees over the last five years, Germany’s integration programmes have never been more overwhelmed and inefficient. As a result, refugees are largely left to arrange the majority of their basic needs immediately upon receiving their asylum statuses with little knowledge of the resources available to them. This has had a number of ramifications on the refugee population, including prolonged delays in child education registration, wasted skillsets that could be added to the labour force, and psychological issues due to isolation. Refugee Connect’s research focuses on identifying the gaps in this system and potential opportunities for improvement.

Refugee Connect - Global Challenge
Download Refugee Connect’s Presentation

Download Refugee Connect’s Ecosystem Map

Download Refugee Connect’s Report

Culture Prize

Cultural Trauma and Resilience in the Pacific: Ho’owaiwai by Ho’owaiwai by Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16

Project Summary
Comparing indigenous experiences of colonial trauma and cultural resilience across the Pacific, with a focus on the M?ori of New Zealand, this research draws insights for the native people of Hawai‘i and the displaced Pacific Islanders who now call Hawai‘i home. Emphasizing a reciprocal relationship with land as the source of all life, the gaps and levers identified focus on building economic value through the healing of cultural trauma and the perpetuation of indigenous practices: ho’owaiwai.

Laura Taylor - Land as a Source

Download Ho’owaiwai: Building Resilience’s Presentation

Download Ho’owaiwai: Building Resilience’s Report

Download Ho’owaiwai: Building Resilience’s Bibliography

Honourable Mention

Curbing Urban Air Pollution in Kuala Lumpur by Sunwaylee

Seng Zhen Lee, BSc Accounting and Finance at Sunway University Business School

Download Sunwaylee’s Report

Download Sunwaylee’s Infographic

Download Sunwaylee’s Bibliography

Additional Finalists

The Wasta Economy by Adrienne Yandell

Adrienne Yandell, MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2014-15

Project Summary
The Wasta Economy report analyzes the structural and underlying cultural roots of Jordanian and refugee unemployment challenges and seeks to inform foreign policymakers and refugee livelihood programmes of important differences between Western and Middle Eastern labour markets that impact the efficacy of Western-based solutions. This ecosystem mapping presents a broad foundational understanding of the employment challenges faced by refugee hosts and concludes with a number of structural and educational recommendations which, if successfully implemented, would be expected to capitalise on the concentration of human capital in Jordan while maintaining the structural stability of existing tribal and familial networks.

Water Crisis in Klang Valley, Malaysia by ATOM

Research Team
Joel Thum Wen Jian, BSc Accounting and Finance at Sunway University Business School
Chee Chia Ling, BSc Accounting and Finance at Sunway University Business School
William Tan Soo Yoon, BSc Accounting and Finance at Sunway University Business School

Project Summary
Malaysia, and Klang Valley in particular, has a critically insufficient supply of water.Population growth in Klang Valley, El Niño, and unplanned development have worked together to create a situation in which the current water supply seems to be inadequate to cater for the population’s needs. Water tariffs, water rationing, and even cloud seeding have been tried as solutions to the water crisis, but the problem persists. The current solutions are short term in nature, and cannot tackle the underlying reason for the water crisis; namely, the lack of education amongst the local population about the water challenge they face.

Download ATOM’s Report

Download ATOM’s Bibliography

Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty in Mexico by Bluest

Alexandra Littaye, PhD, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, 2016

Project Summary
Mexico’s rural and indigenous population is suffering from the neoliberal policies, mass-migration and the incursion of the US’s cheap subsidised and GM-corn. In response, businesses have emerged to counter these effects by selling premium produce from heritage corn grown in milpa farms, that practice traditional intercropping, to the US. Though popular, these solutions fail to capture a greater share of US markets and integrate the majority of marginalised farmers. The issue of chronic rural poverty in Mexico persists though solutions may emerge that lie in securing a steady supply of milpa produce, notably blue corn, that may appeal to UK and US markets such as the growing gluten-free markets.

Download Bluest’s Presentation

Download Bluest’s Report

Download Bluest’s Bibliography

Access to Quality Primary Healthcare (PHC) in South Africa by ConnectMed

Research Team
Zweli Gwebityala, ConnectMed
Melissa McCoy,  MBA, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2015-16
Allan-Roy Sekeitto, ConnectMed

Project Summary
This project explores accessibility to quality primary healthcare (PHC) in South Africa. The report and ecosystem map walk through the challenges of a failing public healthcare system and an unaffordable private healthcare system, and consider why past solutions have fallen short. The researchers also explain potential market-based, technology-enabled solutions that could help improve PHC accessibility. This relates to the Team’s own venture, ConnectMed, an online telehealth platform that allows doctors to treat patients for common ailments over video, either directly through its web and mobile application or indirectly via clinic worker intermediaries, supported by machine learning-based tools. Find out more at

Download ConnectMed’s Report

Download ConnectMed’s Bibliography