Second place went to Michael Norton, a staff associate at the International Research Institute of Climate and Society Earth Institute at Columbia University. The contest was part of NPCA's ARC program, which brings people together from around the world to discuss innovative ideas to help solve rural Africa's greatest challenges.
"The authors demonstrated a keen understanding of the problems facing rural Africa while also showing a way forward," said David Andelman, editor of World Policy Journal. "The essays were crisply written and will stand nicely next to the professional writers who regularly appear in our publication."
The essays, "Ingenuity, Peanut Butter, and a Little Green Leaf: Combining Local Ingredients to Assuage a Global Problem" by Simms and "Brick by Stone Brick: Microinsurance in Africa" by Norton, describe unique initiatives that African governments, private organisations, or others in the international community can implement to improve food security in the rural regions of Africa.
A panel of academics and media professionals chose the winning essays, including City Press editor Ferial Haffajee, Millennium Institute President Hans Herren, former Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Emmy Simmons, and Senior Fellow for global agriculture and food policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Roger Thurow.
The two essays are published in the Fall 2010 issue of the World Policy Journal. They are also posted online at www.worldpolicy.org and africaruralconnect.org. Four additional essays that were selected as runners-up in the contest will be posted on the World Policy Journal website later this month.
"Once again, through the Africa Rural Connect platform, we have seen that there are a lot of answers to some of the most pressing problems in rural Africa," said Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the National Peace Corps Association. "By tapping the power of the community to come up with new ideas today, we may find the solutions that policymakers will be implementing tomorrow."