The Muhammad Sanusi II Sustainable Development Goals Challenge (MSII SDG Challenge) is a project committed to empowering highly competent and enterprising education change makers who are taking action to develop learning outcomes in their communities; especially for girls and women.
Last year, following the announcement of the MSII SDG Challenge, which is in partnership with 1 Million Teachers (1MT) – a social enterprise that provides access to high-quality teacher education to underserved communities around the world, over 225 applications with 902 team members from 9 countries within Sub-Saharan Africa were received.
After a thorough review process – the highly awaited top 10 finalists which form Cohort 1 of the challenge were announced and onboarded earlier this January 2021.
With its stated objective to fuel innovation, inspire, and catalyze innovative community development activities that support the achievement of the SDGs, particularly quality education and gender equality – The MSII SDG challenge aims to support the educational projects of the selected changemakers which cut across various communities in Africa.
The 10 finalists were selected based on the inventiveness and originality of their ideas. They are; Jane Chikapa (Bloomers Learning Initiative), Mahfuz Alabidun (Inmates Educational Foundation), Anita Nchat Kevin (Amina Dyslexia Center), Olufemi Folaponmile (Learning To Learn), Adejoh Idoko (Girls For Tech Innovators Competition), Rasheedat Sadiq (The Reading Room), Olusegun Ilori (Unusual School), Yemisi Jetoluwa (The Workbook), Ajibola Mujidat Oladejo (SEIS/Susty Ed), Habiba Abdul Rabiu (The Arty Makers).
The finalists will each receive a five hundred dollar grant which will be used to fund their individual educational project, with a goal of incubating and scaling up 150 projects over the next 10 years.
Giving the keynote speech during the virtual orientation program, Muhammad Sanusi II, UN SDG Advocate and Chairman, Board of 1Million Teachers, emphasized that the importance of the challenge was to implement the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls)
“I’m very delighted to receive our 10 cohorts who are the winners of the SDG challenge. The 10 of you are part of history by taking action to solve very crucial gaps in the educational system in Africa. Through the 1MT initiative; our objective to provide equitable and gender-responsive education through innovative solutions is one step closer to becoming a reality.
“This dynamic selection of these awardees is evidence that the implementation of SDG 4 and 5 in Africa is attainable. I would like to encourage you to take an active part in the structured programs we have planned for you and optimize all the opportunities we will be providing.” Sanusi said.
Other speakers were Shari Hughson – HH MSII SDG Trustee, Director of Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Kingston Canada; Prof Jane Chin – HH MSII Trustee, representing the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University; Dipo Faulkner, General Manager IBM West Africa; Prof Nomunua MNgoma, 1MT Lead researcher; Andrew Nevin, Partner, PWC West Africa, and Chief Economist of PWC Nigeria; Andrew Moss, Coach and Advisor, Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
One of the finalists from Malawi, Jane Chikapa, spoke about her project, Bloomers Learning Initiative: “The problem being solved is lack of literacy skills. According to the UNESCO Institute of statistics, Malawi has an adult literacy rate of 62.14%, (69.7% males and 55.2% females), 130 in ranking in comparison with other countries.
“The goal of Bloomers learning initiative is to enhance reading and writing among 500 primary and secondary school students, vulnerable, exposed to illiteracy, recurrent COVID-19 educational shocks; through physical and online learning by 2021 in Malawi. We want to directly impact 500 people, (150) boys and (350) girls by 2022.”