This year, the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, together with the Engagement Award Foundation, once again presented the Commitment Award. Its aim is to provide start-up funding for sustainable ideas and social projects. At the same time, former students and alumni of the Brandt School can show with their initiatives what they have learned in their Master's programme. A total of eight projects were in the running this time, and the award ceremony took place today in the Collegium Maius.
After the keynote speech by Anna-Maija Mertens, Managing Director of Transparency International Germany, three prizes were awarded for the following projects:
"Ed-Tech for the Special Child" by Priscilla Appiah:
With her project, Priscilla Appiah wants to support primary education for children with special learning needs in Ghana. Despite the progress the Ghanaian education system has made in recent years, this group of pupils is still underserved. Resources are lacking and teachers in these schools still use the same traditional teaching methods as in secondary schools, which, however, are not very promising in developing the skills of children with special learning needs. To change this, the initiative will provide ed-tech toolkits with tablets, headsets and customised apps and software for children with learning disabilities.
"Go-Women - Preneurs Initiative" by Chukwudi Okolo and Ebele Odinachi:
The project aims to empower Nigerian women, especially mothers who are the breadwinners of their families. They are to be supported in their business ideas and provided with small loans to get started. Because: 100 euros are demonstrably enough to start a small business in Nigeria or other developing countries.
"Happy Periods" by Pius Fozan, Shuma Banik and Souvik Bandhapadhyay:
The project aims to raise awareness about menstruation and not only provide people in India with information about it, but also facilitate their access to menstrual hygiene. To this end, the initiators plan to work not only with affected persons, but also with public institutions and teachers, in order to sensitise political decision-makers to the issue and to combat menstrual poverty in India.
All three projects will receive start-up funding of 1000 Euros each. We say "Congratulations" and wish all winners success in implementing their ideas!
At the 2022 Commitment Award ceremony, Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens, Managing Director of Transparency International Germany, held an inspiring keynote speech on social entrepreneurship, power and transparency.
Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens acknowledged that especially social entrepreneurs often shy away from power: “You need to have scope to act in order to generate impact. You need to have the ability to act. What I’m talking about is power.” She stressed:
“Power is a very neutral thing […] it can be used in two ways: in the constructive way, and the destructive way. And it’s your decision to choose what way you will go.”.
She warned that despite obviously working for a good cause, social entrepreneurs should always be critical of themselves. We need to “make sure that this power – that is so urgently needed in these different corners of the world – is not abused. […] Of course, you are going to make mistakes, we all do, all the time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t learn.” Thus, when we have power, we need a risk management system.
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...is awarded annually to students and alumni of the Brandt School's Master's programme in Public Policy who develop innovative and sustainable social projects. These projects are a good opportunity for the students from now 89 countries with different professional and academic backgrounds to put their theoretical and applied knowledge from their studies into practice. The three winning projects receive financial support from the Engagement Award Foundation for the implementation of their projects.
You can find an overview of all the projects that entered the race this year on our campus blog „Ich mag meine Uni…“.