September 26, 2018

Day of the African Child Contest to award innovative youngsters

Kokubanza TImanywa , pictured above, was a finalist in the 2017 Day of the African Child Contest. Credit: Reachforchange

Reach for Change has launched its fourth annual Day of the African Child Contest, this year challenging African children to come up with solutions to the problems they and their peers face.

The annual innovation contest will provide two awards of $500 to two youngsters aged 18 years or younger to help them implement ideas that will improve children’s lives in their communities and contribute toward at least one of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The two winners will also be provided with support from Reach for Change experts to help them effectively roll out their initiatives.

The criteria for submissions include providing ideas that focus on improving children’s lives and contribute to at least one of the 17 SDGs. Applicants must be 18 years of age or younger and must reside in an African country to be eligible for the contest. Full instructions for how to apply can be found at africa.reachforchange.org/african-child.

This is the fourth year that Reach for Change has held its Day of the African Child Contest in conjunction with the Day of the African Child on June 16. The contest was first launched in 2015 to draw attention to African children’s needs and to empower young people to use innovative thinking to address societal issues. This year’s theme takes the contest in a slightly new direction by making the contest available exclusively to children and youth aged 18 an under, with the aim of empowering African children to identify and address issues that are important to them and their peers.

Reach for Change, a non-profit organization that supports social entrepreneurs to impact the lives of children and youth, has witnessed a number of children who benefit from its programs going on to become social innovators themselves and was inspired to provide them with opportunities to solve problems that they observe. The aim of this year’s contest is to highlight and celebrate African children as leaders in their own right;  as capable, innovative actors who have important ideas to contribute to the issues that they and other children face. Aiming to empower children to create impact on their own lives, the organization hopes that the contest will help children to understand that they don’t have to wait until they grow up to make a difference – they have the ideas and the capability to change the world right now.

To enter the contest, entrants must pitch their idea on Facebook, explaining how they would use $500 to impact African children in a positive way, and what SDGs they will be contributing to with their proposed idea. The applications period runs from June 16, the Day of the African Child, until June 26, 2017. Between June 28 and July 1, the public will have the opportunity to vote for the winner at www.facebook.com/R4CAfrica.

Last year, Wisdom Kafui Honu, a 24 year old Ghanaian youth, won the Day of the African Child contest and used the award to establish a library for underprivileged Ghanaian children in Agbogbioshie, Accra. Wisdom’s initiative contributes to SDGs no. 1 “No Poverty” and no. 4, “Quality Education” by providing children with access to educational resources they would not otherwise have been afforded and instilling in them skills that can eventually empower them to rise out of poverty. A youth with incredible ambition, Wisdom has since been scaling his impact through his organization Idea Africa to help drive literacy and a love of books to as many children as possible.

To learn more about the contest and the Day of the African Child, please visit africa.reachforchange.org/african-child

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