Thirteen teams of a total of 25 emerging African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the 2020 Resolution Social Venture Challenge. Thirty-eight teams of Mastercard Foundation Scholars gathered virtually to compete in the multi-step competition that identifies promising young leaders with bold ideas for change. Winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge are provided seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of global change-makers. Now in its fifth year, this collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and The Resolution Project provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to make a difference in their communities.
“Africa’s young leaders are brimming with talent, energy, and a deep desire to solve local challenges that will have a positive impact on their communities. Yet few young people receive the support and tools they need to undertake a project in their community,” explains Ashley Collier, Lead of North American Partner Network with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. “The Social Venture Challenge equips young leaders with the skills and capital they need to ensure their venture is successful, and to maximize their impact.”
“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to spotlight young African talent and leadership that is ready to ignite the continent with innovation and positive change,” said George M. Tsiatis, CEO & Co-Founder of The Resolution Project. We are grateful to work with such inspiring individuals and have them as part of Resolution’s community, and we are grateful to the Foundation for its continued support of this collaboration!”
In the five years that The Resolution Project has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation, over 100 Mastercard Foundation Scholars have become Resolution Fellows, unlocking $250,000 in micro-grants for social enterprises. These Fellows have implemented social ventures which have positively impacted 17,208 people, including 2,361 women and girls impacted by empowerment initiatives and 770 people benefitting from skills-based training. Additionally, Fellows have hired 132 paid employees and supported 390 people to generate a sustainable income through self-employment.
Winning projects address a wide range of issues Scholars have observed first-hand in their communities and come from across the continent, including Somalia, Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
What the Winners of the 2020 Social Venture Challenge said:
“Winning the 2020 Resolution Social Venture Challenge (SVC) means resilience to us because we never gave up when our team did not win in 2019,” says Dorcas Babet Kwofie, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Cape Coast and a co-founder of Impart Reading. It means hope for the basic school students in the rural areas of Ghana who do not have library facilities and provides employment to the unemployed. It means one child will get a quality education to become a changemaker one day. Thanks to the SVC for giving Impart Reading the financial, mentorship, and technical support. Today, Impart Reading is one step towards reducing school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, social vices as well as improving education and youth development in Ghana as a whole.”
“Winning the 2020 Resolution Social Venture Challenge means a lot to my team because it’s a validation of our idea and pushes us closer to accomplishing our dream of impacting the lives of refugees,” said Safali Libia, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at Makerere University and a founding member of the A Hand for a Refuge Project. “By becoming a Resolution Fellow, my team will have the opportunity to be funded, mentored, and given access to a network of likeminded people who are passionate about creating change in Africa. Together with The Resolution Project, A Hand for a Refugee will accomplish its vision of creating a brighter future with equal opportunities for our refugee communities.”
Congratulations to the 2020 Social Venture Challenge Winners:
A Hand for a Refugee: Safali Libia, Kataike Viola, and Kevin Wanai at Makerere University in Uganda
A Hand For a Refugee aims to raise refugee welfare and ensure sustainable support for education among refugee teenagers in the Kyangwali refugee community by providing training for passionfruit farming, a market for the fruit they grow, and financial literacy training along with savings and credit support.
Agricare: Edem Fie, Dorothy Napor, and Etornam Tsyawo at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana
Agricare will provide farmers with technical agricultural training and mentorship to help them improve and preserve their crop yields. Edem, Dorothy, and Etornam are committed to empowering and connecting ginger farmers in the Buem District of Ghana’s Oti Region.
AgriDesert: Mohamed Jama at EARTH University in Costa Rica
AgriDesert is working to improve agricultural outcomes in the arid semi-desert region of Somaliland. The project will construct a greenhouse using local materials and create a demonstration farm to grow tomatoes thereby introducing agriculture to a community that traditionally relies on livestock.
Fastmere: Ndagire Maria at EARTH University in Costa Rica
Fastmere is a social enterprise that uses an online platform to help smallholder farmers in Kampala, Uganda sell their produce at more profitable prices. Fastmere also seeks to connect farmers to large scale customers like restaurants and hotels, and help customers buy fresh produce at affordable prices without visiting crowded marketplaces.
Fona Health Initiative: Samson Idabu at the University of Cape Town in South Africa
Fona Health Initiative is a community education project based in Tanzania that trains vulnerable youth and rural communities about nutritional education and nutritional supplements. It also provides them with the tools and knowledge to produce a pumpkin seed and chickpea supplement.
Holistic Organization: Annelle Kayisire, Crepin Kayisire, and Kevin Kayisire at Wellesley College in the US and the African Leadership University in Mauritius
Holistic Organization is providing out-of-school teen mothers and children from Nyamata in Rwanda’s Eastern province with the intensive vocational, psychological, and social tools they need to be successful.
Impart Reading: Maame Essel and Dorcas Kwofie at University of Cape Coast in Ghana
Impart Reading will provide access to books, both through mobile and brick and mortar libraries, to encourage reading, English comprehension, and to improve literacy in Cape Coast, Ghana.
ISOKOFARM: Kevin Gansa and Lawali Ghislain at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon
Operating out of Kigali, Rwanda, ISOKOFARM is a mobile app startup that allows the exchange of relevant information between farmers and marketers. This platform aims to address the shortcomings of inefficient and unreliable physical markets.
Kibera Canaan Library and Youth Empowerment Centre: Grace Bako and Doris Mwangi at the University of Cape Town in South Africa
Kibera-Caanan Library and Youth Empowerment Centre aims to provide free access to books, mentorship, and technical skills training for youth in Kibera, Kenya to improve literacy and create job opportunities.
Kwabeng Robotics and Mentorship Hub: Ofori Richard and Yamoah Veronica at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana
The Kwabeng Robotics and Mentorship Hub seeks to ignite the desire of students to pursue STEM majors at the tertiary level, slow school dropout rates and improve academic performance.
Laboratory Rats: Miracle Ainembabazi and Ashaba Annah at Makerere University in Uganda
The venture aims to train women in Kamuganguzi sub-county, Kabale district, South Western Uganda to rear laboratory rats, sell them, and earn income. The initiative also seeks to improve the quality of scientific research results.
Project Ignite Her: Lauryn Mwale at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland
Project Ignite Her is a social enterprise designed to close the gender STEM gap. It will be a curated online platform and a community fostering the holistic development of young women on their journey to success. The team will provide advice, support, and mentorship to allow young women to thrive academically and professionally in the field in which black women are deeply underrepresented.
Small Holder Farmer Innovations: Kondwani Kamsikiri and Godwelll Manda at EARTH University in Costa Rica
Small Holder Farmer Innovations is dedicated to increasing agricultural production amongst the smallholder farmers of Malawi. The venture seeks to introduce, produce, and distribute leading carbon-based organo-mineral fertilizers to minimize production costs and improve soil health.