| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Studium, Veranstaltungen

Daniela Sota Valdivia wins first prize at the Commitment Award

The Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, together with the Commitment Award Foundation, has again presented the Commitment Award 2020. 15 projects had entered the race - now the winners were honoured.

The aim of the award is to provide start-up financing for sustainable ideas and social projects, as the winners receive prize money of 2500 euros (1st prize), 1500 euros (2nd prize) and 1000 euros (3rd prize). At the same time, students and alumni of the Brandt School can show what they have learned during their Master's studies.

The first prize was awarded to Daniela Sota Valdivia and her project "Yupayta Yachasunchis: Knowledge Multiplication", which the Brandt School graduate together with her project partner Adriana Gonzalez Carrión initiated in Peru. It aims to strengthen the mathematics and language skills of Quechua speaking children aged 7 to 11 years in the indigenous community of Ccatcca. For a long time, they have not received an adequate education, but the Corona Pandemic has now completely eliminated it. This is because the government's home schooling programme was developed only for Spanish speaking children and is not broadcast on local radio stations in rural communities. In order to help children cope with this situation, Daniela Sota Valdivia wants to offer a weekly radio education program, thus helping to reduce the gap between rural and urban education. At the same time, the risk of COVID-19 infection could be reduced by "schooling" that reduces direct social contacts during the pandemic.

Second prize went to Consuelo Fuentes and her project "Women Force" in Chile. With the mobile app of the same name, the Brandt School student wants to help women who suffer from domestic violence. They can alert the police via a panic button. Consuelo Fuentes wants to help reduce the very high number of femicides (3800) registered in Latin America in 2018. In addition to a panic button, the app should also create a way for women to collect and store evidence of the violence they have experienced so that they can later assert legal claims.

And third prize was awarded to the project "Yangon Playmakers: A Community Center by and for the Youth of Dagon Seikkan Township" by Sarah Filippi-Feld and Kyaw Si Thu. In Myanmar, they want to transform an abandoned plot of land into a play centre for young people in Myanmar. Studies show that access to play contributes to the physical, psychological and social well-being of children. But currently, the young people in Dragon Seikkan Township do not have a safe place to play. This should now change - through a suitable and stimulating space and an accompanying programme offered by the community. "Yangon Playmakers will have a positive impact on the lives of over 300 young people," Sarah and Kyaw hope. Their project follows a participatory approach, which means that the young people are to be involved in the planning and development of the site from the very beginning, which at the same time should help strengthen their community.

One of the first to congratulate her on this evening was the new Commitment Award Ambassador Sophia Saller, the German U23 triathlon world champion and mathematician with a doctorate in Oxford. She delivered the keynote speech in which she encouraged the audience to tackle things that had previously seemed impossible. A message that is of particular importance to the graduating class of the Master of Public Policy 2018-20 on their way to a world of opportunity: "It takes courageous, hard-working and inspiring people to change the world step by step. In the past, Commitment Award winners have addressed such fundamental issues as ensuring a sustainable supply of drinking water and food for communities in countries less privileged than Germany. These are such basic human needs that we often take them for granted, whereas in many parts of the world they certainly are not."

Another highlight of the event was the world premiere of the short film "Christchild", which was produced by students of the Brandt School together with the award-winning filmmaker Ado Hasanovic. The film tells the story of 16-year-old Aya, who auditions for the role of Christchild before Christmas. What distinguishes Aya from the other applicants is that she does not look like the other girls: Aya is black. The film contributes to the debate about identity, integration and culture in Germany.