Willy Brandt himself represented social change, which was reflected in his social and political reforms. He believed that policies serve no purpose if the policy makers did not have a specific goal in mind when creating it. Thus, in the multicultural and diverse setting of the Brandt School, the Commitment Award seeks to give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned at the Brandt School and to initiate new social initiatives here in Erfurt and around the world.
Three winning projects are chosen at the annual award ceremony in Erfurt. Any student currently enrolled or alumni from the Brandt School may submit an application, but a two-year cool-down phase applies to previous winners of the Award. The 2020 Award Ceremony was streamed on the Commitment Award's Facebook page and YouTube channel on July 9, 2020. A recording of the event is available on both sites.
A jury of experts carefully evaluates the applications while considering the following questions: How charitable is the project? How much potential and sustainability is incorporated into the project? Will the prize money be used responsibly and effectively? Is the project likely to be actualized?
The jury consists of various members from politics, civil society and the private sector. The 2020 jury members were Marufa Akter, first winner of the Commitment Award, Robert Burdy, Shibumi Leadership Academy and MDR, Michael Dirkx, Schmitz-Stiftungen, Dirk Wegler, TheX, and Anna-Lena Winkler of the Haniel Foundation.
Further information on the last years projects and how they were actualized can be found on Facebook as well as on the award's website: commitmentaward.org
2020 Commitment Award
First Prize 2020: Daniela Sota Valdivia and Adriana Gonzalez Carrion “Yupayta Yachasunchis: Increasing Knowledge” (Peru)
The 2020 First Prize winner was the project “Yupayta Yachasunchis: Increasing Knowledge”, created by alumna Daniela Sota Valdivia (Class of 2018) and Adriana Gonzalez Carrion. This project aims to strengthen the mathematics and language skills of Quechua speaking children aged 7 to 11 years old in the indigenous community of Ccatcca in Peru. Quechua speaking children have long received a poor quality education and due to COVID-19, they are now being deprived of it entirely. The government’s home-schooling program has been developed for Spanish speakers only and it is not broadcasted across local radios in rural communities. To help children cope with this situation, the project aims to strengthen their skills through a weekly radio educational program. Thus, the project will contribute to narrowing the gap between rural and urban education while also helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections by promoting this type of education as an option to reduce social contact.
Second Prize 2020: Consuelo Fuentes “Women Force” (Chile)
The 2020 Second Prize went to the mobile app “Woman Force”, a concept created by Brandt School student Consuelo Fuentes which provides an alternative help to women in Chile who suffer from domestic violence and who may be exposed to dangerous situations. There were 3,800 registered femicides in Latin America in 2018 and through a panic button built into the app, the user can alert the police of a domestic disturbance and receive timely help. Besides a panic button, the app will also offer data cloud storage where victims can save evidence of the violence they experience for subsequent legal claims against their aggressors. This project is an alternative source to government agencies, which mostly encourage reporting but do not give the tools necessary to be an accessible solution for all women.
Third Prize 2020: Sarah Filippi-Field and Kyaw Si Thu "Yangon Playmakers" (Myanmar)
The 2020 Third Prize winners are Brandt School students Sarah Filippi-Field and Kyaw Si Thu, the creators of “Yangon Playmakers”. This is a project that seeks to transform an abandoned lot into a community play hub for youth living in No. 93 Ward, Dagon Seikkan Township, Yangon, Myanmar. Currently, neighborhood youth have no stimulating, safe space to play. Studies show that access to play contributes to children’s physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. By offering a physical play space as well as interactive, community-led programs throughout the year, Yangon Playmakers will positively impact the lives of over 300 youth. The project utilizes a participatory approach where youth and other residents contribute to the site design and construction, therefore also contributing to community empowerment.
1st Prize: Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedo “Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub” (Ghana)
Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedo, first-year students at the Brandt School, and their project “Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub”, seek to support the children living in the Budumburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. The project aims to provide the platform for students to develop, strength-en and sustain their interest for reading and general studies, improve their mathematic skills and receive assistance with schoolwork. The project also seeks to reduce child prostitution, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, drug abuse and ‘streetism’ in the refugee camp.
2nd Prize: Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano Communitarian-Fabric “Tierra Verde” (Ecuador)
Ecuadorian women, especially young women, single mothers and those of African descent, face outstanding unemployment rates. First-year student Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano`s project “Communitarian Fabric ‘Tierra Verde’” aims to offer an opportunity for social economic productive groups (Asociaciones EPS) consisting of Afro-descendent women and/or single mothers to start their own entrepreneurial initiatives by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and support.
3rd Prize: Tamara Puerto “Edu-Sex” (Colombia)
Second-year student Tamara Puerto’s project “Edu-Sex” seeks to combat gender inequality and the lack of sex education in Colombia. The project aim is to design, prepare, implement, evaluate and disseminate the results of a set of workshops, study modules and conferences with schools and universities in Colombia on topics related to sex and gender, gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights and diversity.
1st prize: Johny Hilaire and Margarette Pierre-Louis (Haiti)
“Goat Breeding for Entrepreneurship”: Our 2018 Commitment Award winners developed a project with which they plan to empower young residents of Vialet, Haiti. Their goat breeding program seeks to reduce poverty in the area by providing an initial 50 goats among the citizens. Since animal husbandry is the most secured economic activity in Vialet, the citizens will have a solid basis on which to build a sustainable and self-sufficient economic future.
2nd prize: Muhammad Usman Khan (Pakistan)
“Mera Vote – Mera Mustaquil” (“My Vote – My Future”): By tackling the issues of illiteracy, lack of awareness, patriarchal norms and a lack of civic programs, second year MPP student Muhammad and his project will advocate for women’s voting rights in the village of Gagh of District Kushab, Pakistan. The main objective of the project is to empower women to participate in the next general elections.
3rd prize: Matenjay Sheriff and Abraham Keita (Liberia)
“The Ballon Dieu Football Club”: The football club aims to boost the moral and community spirit in the community of Gbanjor by fostering participation in sports among men and women of all ages and thus encouraging community building and healthy living.
1st prize: Jessie Jhon Mateo-Magkilat and Hannah Yan-Wai Saley (Philippines)
Their project "Reading on Wheels" aims at improving street children’s life by bringing the joy of reading to children in the street of the Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro. The prize money helped to to purchase little trollies and books. Volunteers from Cagayan de Oro-based Xavier University go to the streets and read stories to the kids. For their project, the winners benefited from the Brandt School’s global Alumni network: Manilee Pañares, MPP student in Erfurt from 2012 to 2014, works at Xavier University and supports the idea strongly.
2nd prize: Theresia Nkafu Atemkeng (Cameroon)
The project "Shelter to Educate" provides a two years accommodation and school fee support to three women between 18 and 25 years from rural communities in the Buea region by implementing a special housing model, where coaching and mentoring by the landlord is already part of the educational process.
3rd prize: George Ayuune Akeliwira (Ghana)
The project "Giving Hope to Hopeless Tomatoes Farmers of Zorko" supports farmers in the North of Ghana by providing water pumps to the rural community of Zorko, where more than 90 percent of the population is depending on agriculture and water supply is a big problem in the dry season.
1st Prize: Nabeela Khalid Pervez, Muhammad Usman Khan and Muhammad Arslan Yaseen (Pakistan)
“Har Bacha Mehfooz (Every Child’s Safety)”: The project aims to curb child abuse in Pakistan by equipping 315 head teachers and Assistant Education Officers (AEOs) with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The teachers and AEOs will in turn share their knowledge with 2700 teaching staff, and each teacher will then further train school children up to grade 8, meaning over 30000 school children would benefit in total.
2nd Prize: Ibrahim Koita and Amos Edem Agbenyo (Ghana)
“Water is Life”: The project seeks to provide safe and potable drinking water to the people of Kramokrom by commissioning an ultra-modern mechanized borehole with a reservoir and five taps. Clean drinking water prevents the spread of water-related diseases and reduces the amount of time spent fetching water, meaning school attendance rates could increase.
3rd Prize: Maria Brackin, Hendrik Hebel, Richard Henahan, Rubén León and Aaron Sandoval (Thuringia, Germany)
"Sharing Living Project": The project aims to promote intergenerational interaction through shared living in Erfurt. The project seeks to bring together students struggling to find affordable housing and elderly people who face challenges living alone by creating a centralized online platform to match needs with capabilities.
1st prize: Daniar Matikanov, Aiperi Otunchieva, and Batybek Alymkulov (Kyrgysztan)
“Water for Small-scale Farmers” - As a result of climate change and due to the alteration of rainfall patterns, rain-fed agriculture at Shybran village in south Kyrgyzstan is under risk. Improved technology for rainwater harvesting will be the key to adapt to these changes. Our winners present practical solutions for efficient water use in the absence of water system infrastructure in rural areas. They state that even with annual precipitation levels lower than 300 mm, it is possible to ensure rain-fed agriculture.
2nd prize: Harini Suresh (India)
"Save our Future" - First-year MPP student Harini aims to spread awareness about the issue of child sexual abuse in the city of Chennai, India. Fellows at schools would be provided with a complete set of lesson plans breaking down this complex issue into simpler units that would explain everything to a child.
3rd prize: Grigoriy Grigoryev and Jafar Terciano Binasse (Mozambique)
“Computer School in Sub-Saharan Village in Mozambique” - They created a project that is dedicated to the development of computer skills for the young inhabitants of the Marrupa community, in Mozambique. They would like to create an inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer school, where local kids can learn to use computers. Eventually, they’ll be able to learn to code and create programs; as the computers would be running Open Source Software.
1st Prize: Julia Oestreich (Sri Lanka)
Julia's project “Weaving for Independence” is based in Sri Lanka and works with the Selyn Foundation. The main idea of her project focuses on empowering women by providing the opportunities and skills necessary to start sustainable textile businesses.
2nd Prize: Krishna Giri (Nepal)
Krishna's project aims to provide safe drinking water for school children in Nepal.
3rd Prize: Steve Wakhu (Kenya)
Steve's project “Adopt a Girl” aims to create equal opportunities for girls in schools by disrupting social stigmas regarding sexual health. Although Steve was unable to attend the ceremony, Nora Böggemann accepted the award on Steve’s behalf.