A global search for fresh and exciting digital and technological ideas that address social isolation
 

OVERVIEW

The Social Connections Challenge is a funding initiative capitalising on the innovative ways that people have been keeping connected using technology throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Movember has invested a total of AUD $3.54M in grants to help develop digital or technological ideas that maintain or strengthen men’s social connections and tackle isolation.

The grants are focused on ideas for men who are at greater risk of social isolation because of where they live, their socio-economic status or cultural background.

 


THE FUNDING PROCESS

Applications for the Social Connections Challenge are currently closed.

APPLICATION STAGE
In August 2020, Movember opened applications for funding as part of the Social Connections Challenge. To see the advertised criteria, please click here.

 

PHASE 1
During Phase 1, a total of 72 ideas were shortlisted for further assessment by an external panel of subject matter experts. Each idea was grouped into one of six thematic areas: apps & artificial intelligence, creative expressions, gaming/gamification & video production, culture & inclusiveness, life events, and mentorship & peer support. To view the shortlist, please scroll down on this page.

 

PHASE 2 (in progress)
During Phase 2, a total of 11 shortlisted ideas were selected for co-development with Movember. These projects, identified by the selection panel as having the broadest application and greatest potential to improve men's mental health, have received funding to develop their project alongside Movember. To view the selected projects, please scroll down on this page.

 

PHASE 3
Following successful project development, the final phase of the Social Connections Challenge will involve further investment in implementation activities.


PROJECTS SELECTED FOR CO-DEVELOPMENT (PHASE 2)

Digital Dads Groups launched in April 2020 to provide a safe virtual space for isolated dads to find the support and connection they need to manage the day-to-day stresses of parenthood and social isolation. Dads Groups have been running face-to-face support groups for dads in Australia over the last five years. The digital groups, set up in response to Covid, have since reached 1,000 participants and are now looking to scale nationally and globally.

Man Cave TV is a video platform that provides young men (aged between 12-18) with the tools to build their emotional intelligence, social connectedness and improve their relationships. The team have delivered face-to-face mental health programs to over 15,000 boys in Australia and are now moving to a digital platform where they will create funny, educational and dynamic video content (on topics such as sex, death, wellbeing and relationships) that will help to challenge perceptions of traditional masculinity.

The Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander online mental health and wellbeing education and support project is based on the success of The Young Black Men (YBmen) project. YBmen, originally developed in the US, is focused on providing social and educational support to young Black college men through a private social media group. The Menzies School of Health Research, based in Darwin, intends to adapt YBmen to meet the needs of young Indigenous males across Northern Australia.

The Check Mate app allows young male Australian tradesmen to have conversations about their wellbeing using smartphones. The app, designed by Victoria-based project team, will enable men to check in on their mates if they think something is wrong via an AI-mediated, anonymous text conversation. The AI provides different ways of asking how someone is doing and gives the person options on how to reply. It also provides links to support and clinical mental health services if needed. It will detect signs of high-risk where a human moderator is necessary.

The Storytelling for Justice project is a virtual interactive platform that builds social connections between men in prison, men on parole and the wider community through art and storytelling. The project, founded by the University of British Columbia in Canada, includes the development of a digital art gallery, allowing artists to comment and engage with each other’s work. It would also showcase the talent of the men who take part and reduce stigmatization of prisoners by allowing the public to hear the stories and wisdom of the men inside.

About 30 per cent of older Canadians are at risk of becoming socially isolated. Skill Gen is a digital project that allows experienced, skilled older men connect with younger men who are looking to learn new skills. It will be a mobile or web-based app that will serve as a meeting point between vetted parties. Retired professionals would be able to mentor entry level employees in their field or hobbyists could teach seminars on the basics of a skill, such as woodworking.

Since 2018, Age Action has provided digital literacy training courses to older men in Ireland, enabling them to stay connected with their family, friends and loved ones. They’re now establishing a program, Men’s E-Networks, which matches older people with tutors, who teach them basic internet and mobile phone literacy, and then provides further ‘how-to’ guides and tutorials. The aim is to further enhance and tailor this digital literacy program to reflect the needs of older men in Ireland.

Gamers vs Depression uses online gaming as a vehicle for developing depression literacy and better social connections in adolescent males. Delivered by That Awfully Good Community Interest Company based in Colchester, Essex, the aim is for ‘gaming teams’ to act as a social/peer-support group where young men can openly discuss challenges outside of their immediate network in a safe and supportive manner.

Fathers Network Scotland, Shared Parenting Scotland and Held in our Hearts directly support men during some of the most stressful times in their lives such as those coping with family breakdown or with the loss of a child. Their aim with this project, supported and funded by MR PORTER Health In Mind, is to develop a Wellbeing app for men in Scotland that would enable them to support many more fathers. The app will allow those in need of services to access help for themselves and also provide resources for those who are worried about a male friend or relative, directing them as quickly and easily as possible to the services nearest to them.

Designed in London by a digital health agency, Maate! is a digital platform to help young men (particularly those not in school, unemployed or those who are working remotely) to maintain social connections by assisting in the organisation of free virtual group activities (such as trivia, virtual escape rooms or card games) and taking the hard work out of catching up.

The Chai in the City project is aimed at breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health for men and boys from Punjabi communities in the UK. Through facilitated discussion groups, the project gets Punjabi men talking about their mental health, life challenges, and things they may not feel comfortable speaking about freely with their family or friends. Launched by an organisation called Taraki, the goal is to create a model that can be scaled globally and eventually tailored to particular communities of Punjabi men, including first generation, LGBTQ+ and disabled Punjabi men.


SHORTLISTED PROJECTS (PHASE 1)

Apps/artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Creating Social Connections (Aamica)
  • Brotherhood App (Alex Denman and Mark Newell)
  • MO-CB (CSE Crosscom)
  • hey mate (hey mate)
  • Invigor Wellbeing App: happier. healthier. (Invigor Wellbeing)
  • Digital Skill Building: Supporting Mates and Family (Obvious Choice with Prevention United)
  • 100 Reach Challenge App (GAIN)
  • Walkie Talkie (Powerful And Loving)
  • Free the Funk Pal (OneWave)
  • Rise Up (Rise NZ)
  • A Thousand Fathers Project (A Thousand Fathers Project)
  • CHECK-IN TUESDAYS (Check-In Tuesday)
  • Pal Picker (Malc & Pete)
  • Mo-Bros connection platform with Artificial Intelligence engine for engaged community and peer support (University of Canberra)
Creative expressions
  • Men Sing it Out: A Movember with one voice choir (Creativity Australia)
  • I'm Just A Man 24 Hour (Mind, Body, Sleep) Rock n Roll Music App (I'm Just A Man Foundation)
  • Chaps and Pats Program: Using man’s best fur-iends to support social connections and mental health during COVID-19 and beyond (Monash University)
  • Real Men Don't Cry (Monster & Bear)
  • The Men's Table Online Network: Facilitating Social Connection for Men in Launceston (The Men's Table)
  • Feelin' it (The Mind Room)
  • Dob in a dude Yoga (The Yoga Partnership Pty Ltd)
  • Men Can Meet (Ahead Of The Game)
  • Healthy Conversations (Conversation Expert)
  • Men Tune In (batyr)



Culture and inclusiveness
  • Peer Support CommUNITY Application For Men (By Mind Side)
  • Big Brother Program (Everything Suarve Inc)
  • Yarning Together (Menzies School of Health Research)
  • Adaptation of an online mental health and wellbeing education and support intervention for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in Australia (Menzies School of Health Research)
  • My Brother’s Keeper: First Nations Alliance (Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service)
  • Network Buddy: Supporting Mental Health for Newcomer Men in Canada (Alberta Rural Development Network)
  • Storytelling for Justice (University of British Columbia)
  • ReMenber: Connect to the inner man (Darragh Stewart)
  • Shed New Zealand (Shed New Zealand)
  • Movember Mix Up Sessions (Chillout Coach)
  • Chai in the City: an Open Group for Punjabi Men (Taraki Wellbeing)
  • TRYBE (TRYBE)

Gaming/gamification/video production
  • Alternative Stories of Strength: A Podcast For Older Men by Older Men (BehaviourWorks by Monash University)
  • The Social Good Network for Men (Communiteer)
  • The Guild (Energy Market Matters Australia)
  • Bloody Legends (Liquid Interactive)
  • Mo Better Banter (Liquid Interactive)
  • World of Mo'Craft (My Active Attitude)
  • Safe Space powered by Movember (Rise Foundation Australia)
  • Virtual Growth Room Gamification!! (The Banksia Project)
  • Man Cave TV (The Man Cave)
  • The Barber Shop (Drunk Animal Creative Studio)
  • Gamers vs. Depression (That Awfully Good Community Interest Company)





Life events
  • Keep On Truckin (Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation)
  • World Café: Addressing Social Isolation for Grieving Men (Curtin University)
  • Enhancing and Scaling-up ‘Digital Dads Groups’ (Dads Group)
  • Nisus (Pluma)
  • Digitally Connecting Dads In The Chaos (The Father Hood)
  • Prostate Cancer: Patient Empowerment Program (Dalhousie University)
  • Men in Grief Forum (Grief Stories)
  • The SWell Program: Striving for Wellness in Fatherhood (University of Manitoba)
  • Digital Literacy Men's E-Networks (Age Action Ireland)
  • Nourishing Fathers Community (Nourishing Fathers)
  • Kidz Need Dadz (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa)
  • Digital Mate (DigiMate): Building digital resilience and connecting older men who live alone to a virtual men's shed (University of Auckland)
  • A Mental Health and Wellbeing App for Men in Scotland (Fathers Network Scotland)
  • Maate! A digital social connection platform (Maate!)

Mentorship/peer support
  • Talk Safe, Track Safe: A platform for Mentees and Mentors to connect Safely, Easily and in Time (John Milham)
  • ARMS: Leave no man behind. (eg+ worldwide)
  • Online Mentoring Program (Top Blokes Foundation)
  • Well Man 2021 Weekly Challenge: Mates Connect Clubhouse (Well Man App incorporated)
  • Skill Gen: Multi-generation skill sharing application (knot lab)
  • Meeting boys where they are: a Discord community (Next Gen Men - NGM Boys club)
  • ‘Peer Connect’: A peer to peer digital support platform (Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences)
  • The Instruction Community: A Launch Pad to Success (Douglas Research Centre)
  • I'm Here (Scottish Association for Mental Health)
  • The Zoom Room (The Delicate Mind)
  • Check Mate smartphone app (IPC Health and HALT)