Willy Brandt himself was a driver of social change, which is clearly reflected in his social and political reforms. He was convinced that politics serves no purpose if politicians do not have a clear goal in mind when they make policy. The multicultural, diversity-oriented environment of the Brandt School offers students the opportunity to develop new social projects as part of the Commitment Award - in Erfurt and worldwide.
Every year, a jury of experts selects three winners for the Commitment Award based on the following guiding questions: How charitable is the project? How much potential and sustainability does the project have? Is the prize money used responsibly and effectively? Is the project likely to be implemented? Five projects are nominated this year. We present them briefly here:
"Afghan Girls to University" (Sayed Ziafatullah Saeedi)
Sayed Ziafatullah Saeedi's project "Afghan Girls to University" focuses on ten female survivors of a suicide attack on the Kaaj Educational Center in Kabul (Afghanistan) in 2022, who are denied access to education by the Taliban. Although they have excellent qualifications, they are unable to apply for universities in the US/Europe because of the wide gap between the Afghan and US/European education systems and the female students' unfamiliarity with the latter. To help them successfully apply to universities in the US/Europe, this project firstly introduces a one-to-one tutoring programme run by volunteers from US-based universities and secondly funds the one-off fee of 59 USD for their English test using Duolingo. The project is entirely volunteer-run, using a network of volunteers in the US. It will be implemented over six months and will remain sustainable by leveraging the connections and resources of former students, alumni at their future universities.
"The Inclusion Initiative: Empowering Students for Change" (Anushree Dirangane and Zenah Nantumbwe)
"The Inclusion Initiative", a project by Anushree Dirangane and Zenah Nantumbwe, aims to establish a peer support group against discrimination at the University of Erfurt. For this, selected students are to receive professional training in combating discrimination. In the future, these students are to form a group that, on the one hand, sensitises students to the topic of discrimination and creates an environment in which exclusion and hatred have no place. On the other hand, this will support students and promote inclusion on campus.
"Cattle Raid Child Care and Reintegration Project (Arupur Charles Peyo)
The Cattle Raid Child Care and Reintegration Project focuses on the major challenges faced by vulnerable children in Nyangatom Woreda. These children are particularly vulnerable due to problems and conflicts such as cattle rustling, as they are exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation and often have to work to survive. Arupur Charles Peyoz's project aims to provide these children with comprehensive care, protection and support through family-based counselling, education and vocational education to better integrate them into society. This is to minimise the danger the children are exposed to and to provide them with the opportunity for a better future for themselves and the community in which they live.
"TradeTeach" (Sharmaine Salazar)
"TradeTeach" is a social economy platform that brings seniors and students together to support each other. The aim is for senior citizens to provide household appliances, tools, etc. that they do not use frequently to students who may not be able to afford them. In return, the students provide support, for example, with computer questions or technical problems. In this way, on the one hand, a connection between the generations is to be created, on the other hand, access to material goods and services can be facilitated and, under the motto "use more, buy less", the CO2 "footprint" can be improved at the same time.
"Digital Literacy for the Social Incidence" (Francisco Calep Pimienta González and Cristhy Alejandra Alpuche Cabrera)
"Digital Literacy for the Social Incidence" or "Dig-Incidence" for short is a project to improve the digital literacy of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Mexico in order to strengthen their impact in society. Through mentoring and training courses, participants are trained in digital skills and learn how to use digital tools for better social interaction. The project includes modules on information management, specialised search engines, AI applications, project management and digital communication. The learning content will be made freely available on a special website so that as many civil society organisations as possible can benefit from it.
So now it's "fingers crossed". Who will come out on top this year will be decided in July? But to be honest: For us, all projects are already winners and we wish them all good luck!