The Bulletin Podcast Episode 07 – Interviews Commitment Award 2019

Dear readers and listeners,

We are very proud to bring you the seventh 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 episode, our host Maria Brackin interviews the people behind the project applications for the Commitment Award 2019.

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



Project 1: Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano – Communitarian-Fabric “Tierra Verde” (Ecuador)
Ecuadorian women, especially young women, single mothers and those of African descent, face outstand-ing unemployment rates. First-year student Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano`s project “Communitarian Fabric ‘Tierra Verde’” aims to offer an opportunity for social economic productive groups (Asociaciones EPS) consisting of Afro-descendent women and/or single mothers to start their own entrepreneurial initiatives by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and support.

Project 2: Nicole Oubre, Sonia Gonzales, and Ariana Barrenechea –
“MINTy Girls” (Germany)
Only 21% of university graduates currently working in the MINT disciplines (math, informatics, natural science, and technology) are women. To combat this gender gap, first-year students Nicole Oubre, Sonia Gonzales, and Ariana Barrenechea and their project “MINTy Girls” aim to empower and inspire young girls by helping them build confidence and develop skills in MINT subjects through workshops focusing on different MINT concepts, guided by female university MINT volunteers.

Project 3: John Chrysostom Kamoga and Gitungo Wamere – “Nature Trending” (Uganda)
To help combat the effects of climate change in Uganda, first-year students John Chrysostom Kamoga and Gitungo Wamere and their project “Nature Trending” plan to create employment opportunities, while at the same time promoting sustainable living. The project will support tree planting and the production of handmade products, while also aiming to create a global demand for such sustainable products.

Project 4: Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedeo – “Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub (to the rescue of students in Budumburam Refugee Camp)” (Ghana)
Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedeo, first-year students at the Brandt School, and their project “Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub”, seek to support the children living in the Budumburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. The project aims to provide the platform for students to develop, strengthen and sustain their interest in reading and general studies, improve their mathematic skills and receive assistance with schoolwork. The project also seeks to reduce child prostitution, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, drug abuse and ‘streetism’ in the refugee camp.

Project 5: Nada Salaheldin Ibrahim and Fatma Montaser – “Technical and Vocational Training for Street Children (HERFA)” (Egypt)
“HERFA”, which means craft in Arabic, aims to provide street children (aged from 10 to 18) with technical and vocational training, entrepreneurship and life ethics workshops. The project, created by Nada Salaheldin Ibrahim and Fatma Montaser, hopes to give street children an alternative to begging and to provide them with the necessary technical and life skills needed to make a living from practicing a trade.

Project 6: Tamara Puerto – “Edu-Sex” (Colombia)
Second-year student Tamara Puerto’s project “Edu-Sex” seeks to combat gender inequality and the lack of sex education in Colombia. The project aim is to design, prepare, implement, evaluate and disseminate the results of a set of workshops, study modules and conferences with schools and universities in Colombia on topics related to sex and gender, gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights, and diversity.

Project 7: Sreekanth Reddy Mukku and Julian P.J. Degen – “Digital Kiosk – Namma Digital Seva” (India)
Sreekanth Reddy Mukku and Julian P.J. Degen, creators of the “Digital Kiosk – Namma Digital Seva” project, aim to bring digital literacy to the disadvantaged parts of the population and provide access to secure digital services. Their “Digital Kiosk” will allow community members to use digital public services, such as paying bills online, and to apply for jobs or register for government services. The project also aims to educate the community on data safety and security.

Project 8: Eric Mushimiyimana and Hamzah Inusah – “Clean Fuel for Life” (Rwanda)
The “Clean Fuel for Life Project” by Eric Mushimiyimana and Hamzah Inusah seeks to help an existing local association open a shop that will provide affordable, safe and clean cooking energy by supplying refilled gas cylinders and stoves to the rural residents in Gitovu Sector, Rwanda. The goal of the project is to decrease deforestation and soil erosion and to reduce household air pollution. Since collecting firewood takes a large amount of time, using clean fuel could increase school attendance and reduce the time women need to cook.

Project 9: Jean de Dieu Kizito Cirhigiri – “Vijana Mobile App” (Democratic Republic of Congo)
The “Vijana Mobile App” project, created by first-year student Jean de Dieu Kizito Cirhigiri, aims to combat the ineffectiveness of agricultural cooperatives with a more inclusive approach, namely affordable mobile technology. The Vijana Mobile App hopes to connect farmers in rural areas with households in the city, making fresh and affordable food more accessible, while at the same time striving to remove the stigma associated with agricultural work among the younger population.

Project 10: Kanishka Wahidi – “Books to the blue bus!” (Afghanistan)
Brandt School alumn Kanishka Wahidi and his “Books to the blue bus!” project seeks to support the Charmaghz initiative, which provides a mobile library to the citizens of Kabul, Afghanistan. The goal of the project is to provide stationary, writing supplies and books for the bus, to help promote early childhood education, especially for children currently not attending school.

Project 11: Johana Botía Diaz – “Community garden to ensure food for the children in a school of Wiwa and Kogi indigenous groups in Colombia” (Colombia)
Second-year student Johana Botía Diaz seeks to support the education of Wiwa and Kogi children in Colombia by strengthening the local community garden project and providing food for the schoolchildren. The project also aims to create spaces to learn about agriculture and gardening and to promote the inter-generational transfer of ancestral knowledge of medicinal herbs by creating a medicinal herb garden.


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.