The Commitment Awards 2022 for outstanding social and sustainable project ideas all over the world went to three empowering projects in India, Nigeria, and Ghana on July 7, 2022, at the Collegium Maius in Erfurt.
During the 2022 Commitment Award ceremony three prizes were awarded to the following projects:
“Go-Women – Preneurs Initiative” by Chukwudi Okolo and Ebele Odinachi: The project aims at empowering Nigerian women, especially mothers who are the breadwinners of their families. They are to be supported in their business ideas and provided with small loans to get started. Because: 100 euros are enough to start a small business in Nigeria. A laudation speech for the project was held by Prof. Dr. Solveig Richter, Heisenberg Professor for International Relations and Transnational Politics at Leipzig University and former Brandt School professor. She praised: “The project is small, but very practical, it is ambitious but not overwhelming, and it is concrete but still very visionary.”.
“Happy Periods” by Pius Fozan, Shuma Banik and Souvik Bandhapadhyay: The project aims to raise awareness about menstruation in India and to facilitate access to menstrual hygiene. The project initiators plan to work with affected persons, public institutions, and teachers to sensitize political decision-makers to the issue and to combat menstrual poverty. The laudation for the project “Happy Periods” was held by Simon Vaut, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. He addressed the winners by saying: “You showed awareness to a very relevant social problem, you proved great teamwork in coming up with a convincing solution and you have the audacity to deal with a topic that is often being ignored.”.
“Ed-Tech for the Special Child” by Priscilla Appiah: With her project, Priscilla Appiah wants to support primary education for children with special learning needs in Ghana. The initiative will provide ed-tech toolkits with tablets, headsets and customized apps and software for children with learning disabilities. The laudation for the project “Ed-Tech for the Special Child” was held by Robert Burdy, a journalist, author, and coach. He states “what you are proposing for Ghana is a beautiful thing. […] It’s about creating opportunities, it’s about creating chances for individuals.”.
At the 2022 Commitment Award ceremony, Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens, Managing Director of Transparency International Germany, held an inspiring keynote speech on social entrepreneurship, power and transparency.
Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens acknowledged that especially social entrepreneurs often shy away from power: “You need to have scope to act in order to generate impact. You need to have the ability to act. What I’m talking about is power.” She stressed: “Power is a very neutral thing […] it can be used in two ways: in the constructive way, and the destructive way. And it’s your decision to choose what way you will go.”.
She warned that despite obviously working for a good cause, social entrepreneurs should always be critical of themselves. We need to “make sure that this power – that is so urgently needed in these different corners of the world – is not abused. […] Of course, you are going to make mistakes, we all do, all the time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t learn.” Thus, when we have power, we need a risk management system.
Next to the keynote speech and the presentation of the prizes, the ceremony included greetings from Markus Pins (Founder and Managing Director, Engagementpreis Foundation), input by Lena Kiesewetter (Managing Director, Willy Brandt School of Public Policy) and the two moderators Prof. Dr. Heike Grimm (Aletta Haniel Professorship for Public Policy and Entrepreneurship, University of Erfurt) and Houssein Al Malla (Brandt School student), a musical opening by Deslin Ami Kaba and Ludwig Heinze and presentations of all shortlisted projects:
- Priscilla Appiah: Ed-Tech for the Special Child
- Anandhapadmanabhan Vijayakumar, Nitin Sudhakar: Expert Evidence
- Damilola Adeniran: Future Is Now (FiN)
- Chukwudi Okolo and Ebele Odinachi: Go-Women – Preneurs Initiative
- Pius Fozan, Shuma Banik und Souvik Bandhapadhyay: Happy Periods
- Komal Ramdey, Kavya Bhola und Vaibhav Kumar: Mai bhi Curie – I am also Curie
- Carolina Trichet Paredes: Ogygia
- Satya Sai Yasaswi Pantam: Project Pla
We thank the van Meeteren Foundation, zfoundation, Haniel Foundation and Selgros Cash & Carry Markt Erfurt for supporting the Commitment Award 2022.
Below you can find some impressions of the evening.