"Giving back to your community is an important part of the Scholars Program, yet few young leaders have the opportunity to make an impact at a young age," explains Ashley Collier, manager of the Scholars Community. "The Social Venture Challenge equips these young leaders with the tools, resources, mentorship, and capital they need to ensure that their venture is successful, and to maximise their impact."
"Winning the challenge is an important milestone that will allow me to address problems faced by tea farmers in my community," explains John Wanjiku, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Pretoria. "With my project Ukulima Halisi, I hope to improve the tea collection process, both reducing the costs associated with spoiled tea leaves, and cutting down on the time Kenyan farmers spend waiting for tea collection. By shortening this process, Ukulima Halisi will provide farmers with additional time to engage in other economic activities that could increase their income, as well as preventing illnesses that occur when farmers spend long hours waiting for tea collection."
"Winning the Social Venture Challenge will help us achieve our goals, communicating to our community in Baringo County, the huge potential in honey production," says Sylvia Mwangi, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from the University of Toronto. "With the mentorship offered to winners of the challenge, we will design capacity-building workshops in beekeeping that will change how women spend their days, and we will develop sales channels that will reduce the exploitation by middlemen."
In 2016, the Mastercard Foundation first partnered with The Resolution Project, offering 16 Scholars on five competing teams the opportunity to pursue their aspirations and increase their appetite for leadership and impact. Winning projects address a wide range of challenges scholars observed first-hand in their communities, including food security, access to sanitation, and young women's access to reproductive health education.
Impact evaluation data reported by The Resolution Project shows that, while type and reach of impact varies, an average of 3,200 community members benefit per fellowship awarded. With over 350 Resolution Fellows active in 65 countries, more than 1.2m people worldwide have been positively impacted by their work. They are driving progress in their communities, making each Resolution Fellow a change agent and a force for good.
"We are fortunate to have such an outstanding partner in the Mastercard Foundation," says George M. Tsiatis, CEO and Co-Founder of The Resolution Project. "The Foundation saw the work that we were doing and the ideas that their Scholars had, it was a perfect match, and we are thrilled to be expanding our efforts together to give these young leaders a platform from which to launch lifetimes of impact."
The 2017 cohort of Social Venture Challenge winners include projects based in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana Uganda, Rwanda, and the United States:
• AgriMatters - Clive Matsika - Arizona State University
With his AgriMatters initiative, Matsika will partner with local fertiliser companies in Zimbabwe, harnessing nanotechnology to manufacture Greenfert, a rich, environmentally friendly fertiliser that can be sold to farmers at a reduced cost.
• Baringo Asali - Sylvia Mwangi - University of Toronto
By working closely with marginalised communities in Baringo, Kenya, Mwangi aims to increase local revenue generated from honey production. Through partnerships with local and international apiaries, Mwangi will roll out training in advanced beekeeping techniques and local community skills training.
• Dash for Girls - Frances Aanyu, Agatha Akello and Lisa Anenocan - Makerere University
Aanyu, Akello and Anenocan are working to empower the girl child in Karamoja, Uganda, by providing access to correct and accurate information about the dangers of teenage pregnancy so as to help them make informed decisions.
• ECO Sanitation Services - Kwabena Adu-Darkwa, Abraham Addy and Justice Nyamadi - Ashesi University College
Adu-Darkwa, Addy and Nyamadi are working together to tackle the problem of the 2.4bn people worldwide who lack access to safe toilets. Eco Sanitation Services (ECOSaS) provides environmentally friendly and affordable micro-flush toilets to low-income earners, supporting them with a flexible payment system.
• Prawji-Mama Food Bank - Pauline Nalumansi and Ephrance Kalungi - Arizona State University
With Prawji-Mama Food Bank, Nalumansi and Kalungi are working to develop a sustainable food bank system supported by youth entrepreneurship and technology to overcome hunger in rural communities.
• Rwanda Youth Initiative for Agricultural Transformation - Annet Mukamurenzi, Gerard Ndayishimiye and Yvette Abizeyimana - EARTH University
By working with vulnerable farming communities across Rwanda, Mukamurenzi, Ndayishimiye and Abizeyimana are committed to improving food security. They will equip smallholder farmers with modern farming skills, strategies, and technologies to grow sustainable food security solutions and protect the environment.
• Sparky Thermal Dehydrator - Kayiza Isma and Nsubuga Thomas - Makerere University
To address post-harvest losses, a leading cause of food insecurity in Uganda, Isma and Thomas will introduce the Sparky Thermal Dehydrator. Sparky, which operates using biofuels as a source of energy, is a low-cost, efficient device that dries farm produce 10 times faster than the conventional sun drying methods.
• Strong Women, Strong Love - Ritah Arishaba and Alpha Ngwenya - Arizona State University
From Uganda to America, Arishaba and Ngwenya are providing health education and feminine hygiene products to homeless and economically disadvantaged women. In Uganda, the pair will be teaching young women and girls to make their own sanitary products.
• Ukulima Halisi - John Wanjiku - University of Pretoria
Most tea farmers in Kangema, Kenya, spend a lot of time waiting for their tea leaves to be collected. But, Wanjiku believes, if farmers had access to tea leaves collection schedules, farmers would have more time to devote to other farming activities and improve their incomes.
• ZAZI Growers' Network - Thabu Mugala, Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi and Martinho Tembo - EARTH University
Mugala, Chinyukwi and Tembo are committed to empowering and connecting women farmers in rural Zimuto, Zimbabwe. ZAZI Growers' Network will provide women farmers with technical agricultural training and mentorship to help them improve their crop yields and enhance the community's development.