December 14, 2017

Youth Innovate for SDGs contest will award one young African with $750 to fund innovative initiatives for children

Paulina Robert, left, works with fellow youth to promote awareness through a radio campaign about reproductive health in Tanzania. Paulina was the winner of Reach for Change Africa’s Day of the African Child innovation contest in 2016 and won USD 500 to help her implement her project to bridge the knowledge gap about reproductive health for girls and young women.

In honour of the Day of the African Child, Reach for Change Africa has launched its annual innovation contest that asks youth to pitch innovative ideas that could improve African children’s lives while working towards the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The contest, named Youth Innovate for SDGs, will award USD 750 to one young African to fund their idea and will also provide expertise and advice to help the winner implement their project. Contest criteria stipulate that the idea must focus on improving children’s lives and contribute to at least one of the 17 SDGs.

This is the third year that an innovation contest has been held by Reach for Change on the Day of the African Child; this year the organization has added an additional $250 to the total prize money. The contest was first launched on the Day of the African Child in 2015 to draw attention to African children’s needs and to empower young people to use innovative thinking to address societal issues. The contest fits into a broader campaign run by Reach for Change Africa, to commemorate the Day of the African Child and draw attention to African children’s issues under the theme, the Child Cannot Wait.

Reach for Change Africa Communications Manager, Tadziripa Madzima, said the organization has increased the contest winnings to a total of $750 to enable the winner to implement a slightly larger project and to increase their impact on the children She added that they have introduced a new focus on ideas that also contribute to the 2030 SDGs.

“On the Day of the African Child, we look to honour the leadership and passion of the children and youth who participated in the Soweto Uprising of 1976 by providing opportunities for young people to be innovative and to allowing them to take the driver’s seat when it comes to improving African children’s lives, whether that be in health, education, gender equality, developing skills for the future and more,” said Madzima. “This year, we are looking for an innovative idea that will improve children’s lives while also contributing to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Last year, the winner of the innovation contest was a 17-year-old Tanzanian named Paulina Robert. Robert was awarded $500 for her initiative to increase reproductive health awareness among girls aged 10-17 in Tanzania. She has since held numerous Social Reproductive Health Trainings (SRHT) with girls in her community, implemented awareness campaigns on the radio, and recently had talks with local government about providing support to make the SRHT program available to more school-aged girls over the age of 10.

To enter the Youth Innovate for SDGs contest, entrants must pitch their idea on Facebook using the hashtag #YouthInnovate4SDGs, and explain how they would use the $750 to impact African children in a positive way, and what SDGs they will be contributing to in the process. The contest is open exclusively to residents of African countries and youth are especially encouraged to apply. The application period runs from June 16, the Day of the African Child, until June 22, 2017. Between June 23-27, the public will have the opportunity to vote for the winner at www.facebook.com/R4CAfrica.

For full contest details, along with other Day of the African Child activities and events, visit africa.reachforchange.org/african-chld

About Reach for Change Africa

Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, early-stage social entrepreneurs who are addressing problems faced by children, youth and women in seven countries across the continent; Ghana, Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Reach for Change runs innovation competitions and provides Accelerator and Incubator programs to exceptional social entrepreneurs who are supported to scale their innovations through funding, access to technical and organizational management expertise, and networking opportunities. Reach for Change Africa is a part of the global organization Reach for Change which operates in 17 countries worldwide.