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Cost Elasticity of Demand
One of the most important questions surrounding remittances today is this question: If the cost is reduced, will remittances increase and by how much? If it can be shown that a 1% drop in costs leads to a 1%  increase in remittances, then money transfer companies would be open to to reducing their fees.

Reducing Cost by Aggregating Demand
A Groupon-style remittances service that offers money transfer firms an enhanced revenue security in exchange for lower fees to migrants. 

Effectiveness of Remittances
Analyze the effectiveness of money sent home. Is the cash helping to sustain families or is it actually enabling them to improve their lives? Is the money having an impact on the immediate neighborhood or community? 

Remittances App
Similar to finding the cheapest gas prices in the area, we envision an app designed to help people locate companies that send remittances and see their current rates.  This will enable people to shop for the cheapest prices, and find where they can go to send their remittances if they are not familiar with their area. 
    A challenge by Jocelyn Skolnik, Executive Director, El Sol

Migration and Commerce

Trans-Local Fair Trade
Tools for the sale and purchase of products between communities of origin and communities of destination. In their countries of origin, migrants' families are creating new economic opportunities to stem forced emigration. Support for micro-enterprises and community projects so that these communities are able to export what they produce to the U.S. communities where their relatives live would strengthen the local communities.
    More information here

Migration's Impact 

Multidimensional Analysis
Migrations affects the entire geographic chain: countries of origin, transit and desination are all altered by the human flows. Associating various datasets to examine the interrelations with ageing, population trends, labor markets could yield new and interesting insights. Migration can have a sectoral impact on many areas such as educational and health industries. 

Who Derives Economic Benefits from Migration?
An application focused on financial education and expense analysis where migrants and their families are able to respond, in a simple manner, consumption tests, information about tax payments,  remittances, family incomes, and so on. In return, they may receive information about the impact the money they send home has, companies and countries that benefit, information about their rights as consumers and about fair trade options.
    More information here

Migrants' Social and Economic Contribution 
What we see in destination countries, especially during the times of economic hardship, is a very negative perception of immigrants. So, the question is whether technology can portray a more accurate picture of the contributions of migrants to the countries destination, both economically and socially.  
    A challenge by Dr. Bela Hovy,  Chief of Migration, UN.  More information here 

Immigrants Contribution to U.S. Economy
This is from Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez's International Team: " We believe it is important to have an impact on U.S. public opinion showing, through the analysis of relevant data, the immigrants' contribution to the U.S. economy. These include the work done, the products and services provided to the U.S. population (usually, at low cost), taxes paid, the profits obtained by businesses that employ a large number of immigrants, etc. It is also important to demonstrate that the jobs most immigrants take are those that most U.S. citizens don't want."
    More information here

Labor demand in the U.S.

What does the United States know about the role Hispanic migrants play in the US economy?  What stories do we perpetuate about the labor demands that draw them to the US?  And do we understand the injustices and challenges they face under our current system? 

To do this, we wish to create a data visualization around labor demand and migrant rights. This will be an essential element of the social action campaign around the hybrid documentary drama “Who Is Dayani Cristal?

Using the data sets provided, the goal is to create a data visualization, which provides a better understanding of the role of immigration in the US and creatively narrates. 

More information here

Apps and Other Tools for Migrants 

An Android App to track working hours
An Android smart phone app (many workers have pre-paid phones that have Android app capability)--that would help migrant workers capture evidence of their start and stop times for work each day.
    More information here

An app to get "neutral" legal evidence
With the rise in anti-immigrant laws in the wake of Arizona's SB1070, immigrants and their advocates are concerned about widespread racial profiling during traffic stops and police officers attempting to enforce immigration law by stopping people just to check for their "papers."  It would be nice to use technology --perhaps again using a phone's GPS data-- to be able to discern how long someone was stopped by the police, and perhaps use the phone's voice memo functions to record conversations between the officer and the person being detained in order to get "neutral" evidence of what exactly was said and asked for by the officer.  Combining this in one easy to use app would be interesting and help provide immigrants with a way to prove their case and protect themselves from over-reaching by law enforcement.    
    More information here

Jobs App 
Skilled migrants - engineers, lawyers, business people - leave their homes after they have secured a job. Unskilled migrants travel before they have a job. An online labor-exchange platform for unskilled migrants would be valuable. An ancillary service could be a job-market equivalent of 

A Geo App or Service
A location-based service that pinpoints important services for migrants. 

A Q&A Service 
Quora for migrants with online chat capabilities to connect migrants with help services. 

Access to Health Information
Many migrants are among the nearly 90% of adults have difficulty comprehending health information. This is a particular challenge for migrants. An app or website that makes health information more accessible. 

Access to Medical Records
An app that would allow immigrants to securely access their medical records in a common (cloud) location. Thus, allowing any medical provider to access the records.  A proposal by Marc Schencker, co-director of the Center for Migration and Health at UC Davis

Preventing Diabetes
A culturally, linguistically useful program for preventing diabetes/obesity and tracking progress. A proposal by Marc Schencker, co-director of the Center for Migration and Health at UC Davis

Update on Migration and Health
Perhaps an update on latest information addressing migration and health. Much of this exists for academics and advocates at Migration Policy Institute. A proposal by Marc Schencker, co-director of the Center for Migration and Health at UC Davis

An Anti-Obesity App
Unhealthy diets, already common in the developed world, are spreading to the developing countries. This, of course, affects migrants and their families. An app that helps people manage their bad habits and learn healthy ones. 

We are nearing if not already past the point of more scientific health articles than time to read them. Language barriers, access and familiarity to distribution sources all exacerbate this problem for immigrants and migratory workers. It would therefore be a huge service to employ technology and data visualization to reduce this imbalance. 
The Cochran Library ( ) is the largest collection of records of randomized controlled trials in the world. This, along with Cochran Reviews of primary research in health care and health policy, would provide fertile ground for harvesting dietary and nutrition research. The collected data should then be diluted, filtered and repackaged into an easily digestible, visual feast. 
    A challenge by Leonid Pekelis, PhD candidate in Statistics at Stanford University

Payments and Microfinance via Mobile Phones
A money transfer app or a phone-based service, similar to M-Pesa, Kenya’s a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service.

Safety Apps
Migrants are vulnerable to physical violence and human trafficking is a problem. 

Income Tax Resource for Migrants 
An online tool that helps migrant workers answer common questions about taxes. It will include a process whereby migrant workers can determine whether or not they are obligated to file state and federal taxes in the United States.  It will also provide links to government forms and a frequently asked questions section (this will include tips for workers to avoid fraudulent tax preparers). Additionally, it will include a map with information about licensed tax preparers with PTIN numbers who can assist migrant workers in filing their taxes. Licensed tax preparers with PTIN numbers who wish to be included in the map can add themselves.

Resource for Victims of Violence
An application targeted at migrant women who experience domestic and/or sexual violence. It would contain a map with resources in the U.S. and Mexico, such as shelters, legal services, psychological services, NGOs, etc. The tool would also include information about legal rights, such as workplace protections against sexual harassment, special visas available to victims, etc. It would also contain an FAQ section that would include tips such as how to obtain a notarized birth certificate, how to take out a restraining order, etc.

Labor Center Online Job Matching
To hire day-laborers through our organization, El Sol, an employer must show up personally to our center. At the center they request how many workers they need, for what type of job and how much they will pay per hour. An online request form on our website may be a way to facilitate the process for employers. By making the hiring process more convenient, we anticipate more jobs available for our workers. 

An App to Alleviate the Migrant's Loneliness
Many migrants in the United States use smartphones with internet access. These migrants have left communities where family, neighborhood and the local authorities have been steady references. When they arrive in a new country they have lost all that and they very often feel very lonely. From the Patzún Municipality in Guatemala we propose to create an application to include Facebook, YouTube and photos so the migrants may have it all together and from far away follow daily life in their municipalities, their families, etc
    More information here

An App to Show Most Dangerous Areas for Migrants in countries like Mexico
A platform or app that would indicate to migrants where the most dangerous areas are in a country like Mexico and the type of danger present.

Migration in the News 

News Media & Migration
How’s news media covering migration and how has this coverage evolved over time? This would be a good opportunity to learn and try out some NLP techniques and tools.

Apps and Tools for NGOs and Migration Researchers  

By nature, a lot of information revolving around immigration and migratory labor is sensitive, and therefore not a lot of good data sets exist. It would be very beneficial to design a set of surveys around the data required for any of the other challenge topics. Key points of interest would include: the questionnaire design itself (to reduce effects such as satisficing and acquiescence), dissemination and collection strategies (could make use of mobile technology / apps), and a protocol for storing and distributing sensitive data (there's a nice recent review article on stats methods for data confidentiality here: ).
   A challenge by Leonid Pekelis, PhD candidate in Statistics at Stanford University

Online Survey Platform
A principal problem faced by migrant rights advocates when pushing for policy reforms is a lack of data.  In order to fill this data vacuum and bring worker experiences to the policy arena, we propose the development of a survey platform that would collect first-hand experiences of migrants. 
    More information here

Making Invisible Victims Visible
How could technology, applications and digital services make the invisible visible with regard to abuses committed against migrants, and be used to support both migrants and their networks in a safe way, helping mitigate the risks and reduce the number of people who die each year?
    More information here

Analyze and visualize data about detention centers and immigration courts in the US

A Website on Rail Tracks, Violent Zones, Shelters in Mexico
For organizations and community centers across Central America and some individuals it would be useful to have a website showing on a map (1) the railway lines in Mexico and the towns they go through; (2) places and areas with high levels of violence and a description of the criminal gangs' modus operandi, and (3) shelters offered by churches and civil society where migrants can find safety. Keeping the site updated would require monitoring news of attacks against migrants, keeping in touch with the shelters, etc. This means that once the website is set up there should be a followup. 
    This is a proposal from the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez International Team.

Data about deaths along the US-Mexico border
Data about deaths along the US-Mexico border is collected and managed inconsistently across the border. There is no standardized practice. Data is plentiful but can be hard to access.  Is there a way to standardize the data collected about remains found on the border and make it easy accessible?
    More information here

A System to Facilitate Data Reading on Maps
Undocumented migration, by its nature, poses many questions and offers few answers on how geographical mobility is lived. There is very little in the way of information outreach and memory recording. APOFAM, an NGO from Mexico, proposes to develop questionnaire forms whose data will be automatically updated on attractive maps. This could help organizations working with migrants turn their research into outreach materials, and could be useful to publicize the causes and circumstances of migration, and to file reports, assess incidents and negotiate with authorities.  Some examples:
    1.  To document routes and duration of migrants' travels (this could allow the addition of audiovisuals);
    2.  Determine the areas of greater danger and human rights violations along the migration routes (very useful to compare    these maps among themselves and with other data bases);
    3.  Document situations in the communities of origin and the main motivations for emigration (quality of life, violence, land-grabbing and other problems connected with governments and industries);
    4.  Mapping services available to migrants (legal assistance, health care, etc.)

Platform to ask for volunteers and donations
A platform for organizations that work with migrants where they can promote the work they do, put out requests for volunteers and ask for food/clothing donations. The platform would have both a private and a public face and would serve as both a network and as a way to raise awareness of the situation that migrants face.

Secured databases
Organizations working with migrants and hostels where migrants stay in Mexico often have their own informal databases. What is needed is a secure system to join these databases together as well as a system that makes it more secure for said organizations to store the data gathered. 

Data Vacuums

Collecting Long-term Refugee Health Data to Inform Resettlement Practices
Since 1975, the United States has resettled over 3 million refugees and has become the world's top resettlement country, consistently accepting more than 60% of resettled refugees worldwide. Despite this world standing, the outcomes of refugee resettlement remain unclear. Little is known about how refugees fare after the initial year of resettlement. Reliable information on health outcomes is especially scarce. The current resettlement process is not random, with many of the same communities accepting refugees year after year. It is well-accepted that environment has a strong role in shaping health. As previous challenges have stated, researchers working to fill this data vacuum (using tools stemming from the previously listed "Surveys" and "Online Survey Platform" challenges) can help refugee resettlement policy evolve.
    A challenge by Michelle-Linh Nguyen, MD candidate at Stanford School of Medicine (