The Bulletin Podcast – Episode 04 – Commitment Award 2018’s Projects (1/2)

Dear readers and listeners,

We are very proud to bring you the fourth episode of The Bulletin Podcast.
The podcast’s goal is to interview the fascinating students and researchers of the Brandt School and hear experiences and voices from all over the world.

In this fourth episode, our host Maria Brackin and co-host Raphael Robiatti interview five project applicants to 2018’s Commitment Award. Next episode will feature another four projects.

Below you can find a short description of the projects we have interviewed in this episode:

Laura Camila Barrios Sabogal
-“Community-Based Tourism for Reconciliation: Building bridges between former FARC combatants and conflict-affected communities” (Colombia)

The project “Community-Based Tourism for Reconciliation” by second-year student Laura Camila Barrios Sabogal seeks to bridge gaps between former FARC combatants in La Montañita, Colombia and the local communities affected by the conflict. The main goal of the project is to contribute to the local reconciliation process in the region by developing community-based tourism projects, such as trekking and caving, which will aid the reintegration process of former FARC combatants.


Ibrahim Koita and Amos Edem Agbenyo  – “Water is Life” (Ghana)

First-year student Ibrahim Koita has created a project in conjunction with Amos Edem Agbenyo, President of the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central, which 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.


Johana Botia Díaz – “ – Work for Peace” (Colombia)

Johana Botia Díaz, a first-year student, seeks to integrate ex-combatants, internally displaced people and victims of the Colombian conflict into the labor market through her project “ – Work for Peace”. The goal of the project is to connect companies offering jobs and the targeted population and to train job seekers, while also advising companies regarding the bureaucratic necessities of such an integration.

Nabeela Khalid Pervez
, Muhammad Usman Khan, and Muhammad Arslan Yaseen – “Har Bacha Mehfooz (Every Child’s Safety)” (Pakistan)

The project “Har Bacha Mehfooz (Every Child’s Safety)” by second-year student Nabeela Khalid Pervez and the alumni Muhammad Usman Khan and Muhammad Arslan Yaseen 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.


Amit Tyagi – “Vidarbha Peace Project – The Suicide Epidemic of India: Working towards stopping farmer suicides in Vidarbha region of India” (India)

Brandt School alumnus Amit Tyagi has created a project that aspires to improve the lives of farmers in the Vidarbha region of India, which has greatly suffered from a suicide epidemic, with over 3000 suicides from 2012 to April of this year. The “Vidarbha Peace Project” aims to combat the alarming suicide rate by improving the economic situation of the cotton farmers of the region, who earn little with their farming and are often trapped in a debt cycle. The project plans to install a cotton ginning machine in the village so that farmers can process their cotton locally and increase their profits by selling a finished product.



In close cooperation, the Engagementpreis Foundation and the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, have together been organizing the Commitment Award since 2012.

Willy Brandt himself represented social change, reflected in his social and political reforms. He believed that policies served no purpose if the policymakers did not have a specific goal in mind when creating it. Thus, in the multicultural and diverse settings 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 in Erfurt (where the Brandt School is based, and around the world. Starting in 2014, the Brandt School is accepting applications not only from current students but also from alumni. 

Three winning projects will be chosen at the annual award ceremony in July, after careful evaluation of the applications by a jury of experts. This jury thereby considers 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?

Want to learn more about the Commitment Award? Visit the website


We will be thrilled to hear your feedback, as well as to receive suggestions for the next episodes!

Follow Maria Brackin:

Maria Brackin is an MPP candidate at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, specializing in Political Economy and International Relations. Prior to this, she was Investment Administrator for fund managers Amati Global Investors in Edinburgh. Her previous policy experience includes a position as Development Worker for Communication Forum Scotland, in collaboration with the Centre for Scottish Public Policy. Maria gained a BA with honors in Philosophy from Northwestern University and an MSc in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh. Her previous research, generously funded by the Saint Andrews Society of the State of New York, focused on the epistemology of testimony and organizational applications of social epistemology. She holds the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) from the CFA Institute UK.