With roots in Erfurt, Germany, Brandt School students are positively impacting rural villages in The Gambia, Cameroon and Ghana with their initiatives.
On the evening of Saturday, July 20th, over 100 students, staff and friends of the Brandt School gathered at Kaisersaal in Erfurt to attend the second annual Commitment Award Ceremony. The Commitment Award aims to give current Brandt School students the chance to implement charitable projects around the world, with the goal of bringing about sustainable social change via these student-led initiatives. Furthermore, the Commitment Award offers a chance for MPP students to utilize skills they learn at the Brandt School to administer practical projects with the award money received from the prize.
Like last year, all of the project ideas submitted for the Commitment Award were worthy of a prize, and that left a very tough decision for our jury of experts, who were, after a long deliberation, finally able to decide on the top three prize winners. At the Award Ceremony, the following winners of the 2013 Commitment Award were announced:
First prize went to first-year students Lamin O. Ceesay and Juan David Rivera Acevedo for their project entitled “Post-Harvest Rice Production Equipment and Mango Preservation Skill Transfer for Women of Nyofelleh Village North Bank Region of The Gambia”. Together in this joint project, they hope to combat the current food insecurity problems in Nyofelleh Village by providing the village with modern technology to support the harvests, along with training sessions for the women of the village to increase livelihood and productivity in their farming activities. In addition, as a way to combat waste of under-harvested crops like mangos, training sessions will also educate people on how to make mango marmalades and other techniques to extend the shelf lives of perishable crops. Both Juan David and Lamin have had experience working with NGOs, specifically in The Gambia, as well as individual entrepreneurial experience. With their €2500 prize, working together with institutional support from TANGO (The Association of Non Governmental Organizations) and local NGOs, they will buy equipment for the village, fund training sessions, and implement a sustainable structure, which will hopefully be successfully expanded to other villages in The Gambia.
Second Prize went to second year student Lea Maffengang for her project “Improved School-Based Sanitation for Rural Children in Bansoa”, based in Cameroon. Lea’s project aims to create improved sanitation in schools and reduce rural unemployment and poverty in Bansoa, Cameroon through a sustainable, self-operating mechanism. The idea behind the project is to not only build necessary sanitation infrastructure to prevent disease, but also to develop, train and employ a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in soap production to provide the schools with hand soap and to raise money to purchase toilet paper and chlorine for the schools. Students from the vocational training schools will intern alongside experienced staff members will lead the training sessions. In addition, a long term goal with these trainings is to develop an organic fertilizer to raise further funds for the schools. The award money of €1500 will go towards investing in the nonorganic materials necessary for the sanitation infrastructure, for the initial operational costs for the staff and trainers, and for Health Education Workshops and Hygiene Training Campaigns in schools.
Third Prize went to Dahmata Tene Yabre, also a second-year student, for her project “LoveChild”, which focuses on reducing infant mortality rates in Maamobi-Nima, Ghana. The project will be implemented together with the NGO Hand in Hand (HiH) Foundation, and the main goal of the project is to provide mothers with basic childcare items, which are intended to reduce infant mortality. Alongside this goal, Dahmata will organize skill building workshops and education programs for teenage girls. The total prize money of 1000€ will be used to implement the initial campaign, sensitizing residents of the Maamobi-Nima community, to pay for items needed for publicizing the initiative, for the acquisition of equipment and materials, and for equipment maintenance.
The Brandt School and the Commitment Award Team would like to thank all the applicants, and wish the best of luck to the future success of the selected initiatives! We are looking forward to the success stories.