10 Awards for Social Engagement

On November 30, 2018, the Jacobs Foundation bestows 10 awards to social innovators and change makers in the field of child and youth development. Each award will come with an amount of CHF 100’000. The recipients provide solutions for positive child and youth development at low cost, which are sustainable and can be easily implemented on the spot. What the ten awardees have in common is their wish for social change and their restless personal social engagement.
They are beyond talking – they act.

Get to know the 2018 Recipients

  • Boris Bulayev

    Educate!, East Africa

    Educate! empowers African youth with the skills to solve poverty for themselves and their communities.
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    Organization Focus
    Educate! transforms secondary education in Africa to teach young people to solve poverty for themselves and their communities. We provide youth with skills training in leadership, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness along with mentorship to start real businesses at school. Our goal is to make this practical, skills-based model part of national education systems across Africa. In 2018, we’re working in 175 secondary schools in Rwanda and over 700 schools in Uganda, reaching over 42,000 students intensively and 530,000 more broadly.

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    At Educate!, we see education reform as the most cost-effective way to make a large-scale, sustainable impact on millions of young people across Africa. The 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award will provide us with the incredible opportunity to invest in further learning, testing, and iteration around the question “how do proven solutions integrate into national education systems?”. We believe that successfully answering this question has the potential to unlock opportunity for millions of African youth, so continued research and development for our government integration solution is our top organizational priority.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Educate! equips youth with key 21st century and employability skills, which help them to build confidence, discover their passion, and succeed in the challenging labor market they will face after school. Through our program, youth learn skills like problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, grit, conflict resolution, and entrepreneurship. These skills not only enrich our students’ personal development, but also ensure that no matter what challenges they face in life, they will be better able to create their own opportunities, overcome obstacles, and manage risk.

    Empowering African Youth

    Rana Dajani

    We Love Reading, Jordan

    The We Love Reading program is an innovative model that provides a practical approach to increase reading levels among children.
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    Organization Focus
    Reading is essential to the development of children’s personality, imagination, and cognitive skills.  Children must learn to love and enjoy reading to reap its benefits. Research has shown that reading aloud is key in fostering the love of reading. The We Love Reading (WLR) program is an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves youth, women and men and the community to increase reading levels among children by focusing on the read aloud experience to plant the love of reading. WLR constitutes training local youth, women and men (WLR ambassadors) to hold reading sessions in public spaces in their neighborhoods where books are routinely read aloud to children in their native language. This is our “WLR library”.  WLR chooses books that are age-appropriate, attractive, neutral in content, and in the native language of the child. In addition to promoting the experience of reading, WLR empowers youth and women readers to become leaders in their communities, builds ownership in the children and community members and serves as a platform for raising awareness on issues such as health and environment by reading stories about such issues.

    My plan with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    Our vision is to reach every child in every neighborhood. Using the latest technology and pedagogy we will develop an online course in multiple languages to train on how to start WLR in your community. We will upgrade our mobile application to include multiple languages so that all WLR ambassadors around the world can be connected to share challenges, success stories and resources to ensure sustainability, quality and continuity. The app is an M and E tool and will include resources, experts, good practices, children literature, references and a shared community of support for parents to learn about reading and social emotional wellbeing of their children especially 0-5 years of age. Develop children’s books in local languages from local stories around the world to be used for reading aloud for children to take home. Conduct research on the quantitative impact of WLR on the social and emotional status of the children and youth involved with the WLR Program.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Through reading aloud not only do children begin to love reading and engage in it for their enjoyment, they also become less violent, more empathetic, and more resilient and positive. The success expands beyond children. Adults and youth who were involved in WLR became leaders, found work and created their own businesses, becoming social entrepreneurs because they have realized their potential and ability to make a difference. The parents of the children who in many cases are the WLR volunteers themselves start to find hope and a way to communicate with their children to relieve trauma and build resilience through reading. The community starts to support reading and change moving from being dependent on others to taking control and being the change they want to see. Most importantly WLR believes in starting very early, as early as when the mother is pregnant because reading aloud by the parent promotes the connections between the neurons in the brains of the children.

    Planting the Love of Reading

    Luke Dowdney

    Fight for Peace, Brazil

    Fight for Peace adopts a public health approach to prevent and reduce youth violence.
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    Organization Focus
    Fight for Peace (FFP) was founded in 2000 in the Complexo da Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro, as a community-based response to the arming and employment of young people by drug trafficking gangs. FFP has since become a global youth development NGO that adopts a public health approach to violence prevention, delivering localised primary, secondary and tertiary level interventions to prevent and reduce youth violence.

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    Over the past 17 years, FFP has grown from a grass-roots initiative in Rio to become a global NGO with over 150 staff delivering a comprehensive, research-based methodology towards youth violence prevention at a community-wide level. With this expertise and proven track record, FFP will use funds from the prize to invest in advocacy work to increase awareness of the issue of youth violence, and galvanise support to catalyse our existing violence prevention strategy as a template for other communities. Funds will be used for advocacy-focused staff, implementing targeted social-media campaigns, participating in international development forums and events, and building key international development partnerships.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Advocacy work will help us scale the impact of our Five Pillars methodology, which addresses youth violence across the following levels:
    Primary: FFP delivers a holistic, integrated set of activities (Combat Sports, Education, Employability, Support Services, Youth Leadership) that improve all young people’s physical and mental well-being, and connect them to opportunities in education and employment.
    Secondary: FFP addresses the drivers to youth involvement in crime and violence, supporting young people to become resilient to risk factors and overcome challenges, and ensuring their socio-economic inclusion.
    Tertiary: FFP supports young people already involved in crime/violence, and provides pathways to sustainable exits through education and employment.

    From the Favela to the World

     

     

    Noreen M. Huni

    REPSSI, South Africa

    REPSSI works in East and Southern Africa to promote the psychosocial and mental wellbeing for girls, boys and youth so that they live with hope, dignity and happiness.
    Profile links
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    Organization Focus
    REPSSI is a regional registered Non-Profit Organisation, working in 13 countries in East and Southern Africa to promote the psychosocial and mental wellbeing for girls, boys and youth so that they live with hope, dignity and happiness.
    To realize its mission, REPSSI generates psychosocial support (PSS) knowledge through research; advocates for the integration of PSS into programmes and services for children and youth; builds government and non-government partners’ capacity to implement PSS in child and youth programmes; and is establishing the Africa Psychosocial Institute (APSSI) to foster professionalism and excellence in child and youth psychosocial support and mental health in Africa.

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    REPSSI will partner with Ministries of Health and Child Care to mainstreaming PSS into Early Childhood Development (ECD) in 2 countries where REPSSI will:

    Conduct evidence-based Advocacy for universal access ECD in Africa by:

    • Supporting national governments in developing ECD policies and guidelines
    • Working with Africa Early Childhood Network to raise awareness on the value of ECD
    • Holding African national governments accountable for commitments made on ECD

    Strengthen ECD capacity by:

    • Delivering the REPSSI CBWCY Programme and the Babies and Young Children Package to at least 30 community-based ECD practitioners
    • Working with 50 community caregivers and teen parents, to establish community and family level child nurturing and stimulating knowledge and practice centres

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Nurturing and stimulating care lays the foundation for children and young people’s cognitive, emotional and spiritual wellbeing for them to survive and thrive. The children will grow in loving, supportive and protective families that enable them to realise their full potential and grow to be healthy, compassionate, just, responsible, resilient adults who can transform their own lives and their broader society in which they live. Children participation will be possible with communities putting children at the centre of development efforts. Children will express their needs and access basic child rights including social, health and education and social protection services.

    Resilience is the Key to Change

    Lucia Kossarova

    BUDDY, Slovakia

    BUDDY provides the most important element missing in a life of an institutionalised child – a stable and caring adult.
    Social media links

    Organization Focus
    It is a human right for a child to grow up “in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” (UNCRC, 1989). Yet in Slovakia there are still approximately 5,000 children in 100 children’s homes. There is extensive evidence about the detrimental effects of institutional care and how many children fail to integrate into society when leaving the care system.

    BUDDY finds, trains, matches and continuously supports caring mentors for these vulnerable children. This one-to-one long-term mentoring relationship helps children overcome their traumas and acquire essential skills for a successful integration into society.

     

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    We would use the funds mainly towards improving our monitoring and evaluation, and prepare the program for growth:

    • Prepare a program manual/blueprint.
      We are reviewing our processes to identify areas of weakness, improve these, and standardise.
    • Introduce standardised tools to measure the impact on the child in the short and medium term.
    • Prepare for a possible external evaluation – an experimental study comparing children in the BUDDY program with other children in children’s homes.
    • Introduce a system for weekly monitoring of needs and safety of the volunteer and the child.

     

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    BUDDY provides the most important element missing in a life of an institutionalised child – a stable and caring adult. This mentoring relationship is therapeutical and brings safety and trust to the child’s life. Over many years the volunteer mentor helps address the children’s individual needs, transition through adolescence, improve at school, discover their talents and passions, and empower them. They prepare the children for the real life outside the walls of an institution so they find a job and a home. The volunteer acts as a long-term safety net who can help the child turn his or her life around.

    Better Together

    Nathalia Mesa

    aeioTU, Colombia

    aeioTU operates 30 early childhood development (ECD) centers across Colombia, with the capacity to provide high quality ECD services to 14,500 children.
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    Organization Focus
    Three million children in Colombia under the age of six (half of all children) live in vulnerable conditions creating an achievement gap that causes Colombia’s current socio-economic situation.  aeioTU develops the potential of children with its innovative early learning curriculum and operational model.  aeioTU operates 30 early childhood development (ECD) centers across Colombia, with the capacity to provide high quality ECD services to 14,500 children.  Furthermore, aeioTU shares its knowledge with other teachers and ECD centers in Colombia and around the world via diverse strategies and intensities.  Since 2008, aeioTU has impacted the lives of 157,000 children, 279,000 families, and 10,000 educators.

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    There still needs a lot to be done to integrate more vulnerable children into the ECD service system with sustainability and high quality.  aeioTU plans to use the Klaus J. Jacobs Award as matching funds to mobilize local companies to open 11 new aeioTU centers.  The company’s commitment and the government support will ensure 550 children have access to high quality services on a sustainable way.  Furthermore, the income received from operating these ECD centers will be reinvested on the current network of aeioTU centers, therefore supporting in a sustainable way the operation for 2,500 children.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    A longitudinal study carried out proved that “aeioTU had a positive, important and stable impact in the cognitive development of children, specially in vocabulary; the impact has remained in most children, even after entering school; and positive impacts are also achieved in reading and math for some cohorts of children”.  During its first decade aeioTU broke the paradigm of impossibility of early education in poor contexts.  With the strength of the evidence provided by this evaluation, aeioTU will continue growing its sustainable ECD centers, developing the potential and changing the lives of thousands of children, and setting an example for professional development for others.

    Early Years are Vital

    Selcuk Sirin

    New York University, USA

    Project Hope is an online platform for game-based learning. It enables children to learn and play anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
    Profile links
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    Organization Focus
    In 2013, I led the first research team to document the educational and mental health needs of Syrian refugee children. Our work (Sirin & Rogers-Sirin, 2015) provided the foundation for the first comprehensive report on Syrian refugee children’s well-being. In order to address the needs, we identified in our first report, I led a second international team of researchers, including top innovators in the field of game-based learning, to design an intervention for refugee children. Project Hope is an online platform that enables children to play videogames anywhere in the world with an internet connection (Sirin et al., 2018).

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    I am ambitious in terms of my goals for the next phase of our work with refugee children: I aim to reach thousands of children within the next five years. In order to make this a reality, I plan to build a non-profit organization that will make online learning available as a viable alternative learning opportunity for disadvantaged children, including refugee children. Specifically, I will devote my time over the next year to bring together game developers, educators and non-profit workers serving children in emergency settings, and develop an optimal digital game-based online learning platform.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    As a native of Turkey with the privileges of a tenured professor in the US, I have an ethical responsibility to fight for social justice both in the US and globally. In order to fulffil that responsibility, I conducted the first empirical study on Muslim American youth to document the effects of Islamophobia, I completed longitudinal studies with children of immigrants to document the effects of anti-immigrant sentiments in the US, and I have dedicated my career to the betterment of Syrian refugee children living in Turkey. I am eager to create innovative learning solutions for those children in need.

    Hope for Children in Distress

     

     

    Judy Stuart

    Future Farmers Foundation, South Africa

    To provide young people who are passionate about agriculture with opportunities to enter the industry. 
    Profile links
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    Organization Focus
    To provide young people who are passionate about agriculture with opportunities to enter the industry. Unemployed school and college graduates come to Future Farmers for assistance. Most of them have little or no practical experience. We try to find positions for them on farms where they earn and learn as apprentices. The best are then sent to overseas internships for 12 months (37 in Australia and the USA at the present time). They usually return confident and capable. There are many commercial farmers who take on these Future Farmers and many end up in top positions. Some have started their own businesses and although we discourage land ownership there are opportunities for them to become contractors in commercial operations. We set people up for success.

    My Plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    I would like to build accommodation and a training facility. Many young people travel very far to meet us. There is nowhere for them to stay overnight and often they stay in our home. The facility would have rooms for them to spend the night, and also a class room. This would enable us to hold courses, such as first aid courses at the facility. At the moment, this is done at the office and we do not have a suitable space. Other courses could also be offered. 

    How will my work change Youth’s lives
    It enables young people to obtain valuable skills while they are earning. Instead of draining the family and community for education, they send money home every month. The overseas internships enable them to earn a considerable amount of money which is used to build homes, educate siblings and fund education for themselves on their return. Most important is the fact that the program builds self-esteem. They are respected by their peers and are able to hold down well-paid jobs. This has a positive impact on communities and younger people are inspired to join and see farming as a respectable career. Mentoring teaches them the importance of attitude, integrity and work ethic.

    Farming for the Future

    Agatha Thapa

    Seto Gurans National Child Development Service, Nepal

    Seto Gurans envisions Nepal as a country, in which the rights of all children are ensured, where all children receive quality opportunities for learning and developing to their full potential.
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    Organization Focus
    Seto Gurans envisions Nepal as a country, in which the rights of all children are ensured, where all children receive quality opportunities for learning and developing to their full potential, to grow up healthy, happy and with self-esteem, and to become contributing members for the positive transformation of the society and the nation. Seto Gurans (White Rhododendron) is a flower, whose beauty is seldom known because of its existence in inaccessible mountain regions, whereas its sister flower Lali Gurans (Red Rhododendron) is found in abundance on the foothills of Nepal and is honored as the national flower. In the same way, a large number of children are surviving in difficult situations and their rights are often being neglected. Disparities based on gender, ethnicity, geographical barriers and severe poverty deprive them of their rightful opportunities. Through its Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs Seto Gurans wants to help these children to unfold and bloom to their full potential.

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    The need for developing resource centers and resource staff is essential. I plan to utilize the Award money for establishing seven new regional resource centers in seven provinces. These resource centers will be established in the deprived and disadvantaged communities where the government’s initiative is beyond reach. Today, we are active in 59 districts out of 75, and I plan to expand the district chapters to all the districts to give equal justice for quality opportunities to all children in all seven provinces.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the starting point of human life. Early stimulation, health, nutrition, protection and participation is required from prenatal stage. Seto Gurans offers quality ECD services in around 36,000 urban and rural ECD centers. We also provide parenting education, which is a very important component for the holistic development of both children and youth. We have succeeded to include ECD in the constitution of Nepal under article 39 which states: “Every child shall have the right to elementary child development and child participation”. This is the golden achievement for us.

    A Constitutional Right

    James Urdang, founder and CEO of Education Africa
    James Urdang

    Education Africa, South Africa

    Education Africa offers educational interventions and benefits from pre-primary schooling through to tertiary educational levels. 
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    Organization Focus
    It is common cause that Africa struggles with critical issues affecting the education of its citizens. Poor levels of education include a lack of infrastructure, poorly trained teachers, and lack of an early child development (ECD) emphasis, among other things.  This is further challenged by the fact that often, learners come from dysfunctional homes and the parents/caregivers themselves have limited to no education. This results in many people being ‘stuck’ in a cycle of poverty.

    Education Africa‘s focus is to break the cycle of poverty through our project portfolio that offers educational interventions and benefits from pre-primary schooling through to tertiary educational levels. 

    My plans with the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award
    I plan to utilise the funding for our Education Africa Early Childhood Development (ECD) project. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for acquiring fundamental cognitive, physical and emotional skills, yet an astonishing 75% of ECD teachers in South Africa have never received any kind of training. Through our ECD project we offer pre-school caregivers in disadvantaged communities a cost-free and comprehensive certified training curriculum made up of theoretical classroom workshops, practical implementation within ECD centres, onsite support and ongoing assessment. With the funding we plan to sustain our existing ECD training, and aim to train additional ECD trainers to expand our reach and enable more communities to benefit from this programme.

    How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
    Our focus through our ECD project is to make an impact on townships and rural children to ensure they will not be vulnerable to lifelong, irreversible cognitive impairment and that they will have the best possible start to their formal schooling.  This early intervention is essential to break the cycle of poverty, and to help ensure that children benefiting from our ECD project have a chance at becoming productive members of society in the world of work.

    Aside from benefiting pre-schoolers, Education Africa’s ECD project provides unemployed and unqualified youth with a credible tertiary qualification and a chance at a new career path in ECD education, thus empowering the broader community economically.

    Making Change Happen

Selection Criteria
• Social innovation & social change
• Social engagement – driven by one man or one woman (or a small team)
• Children’s learning and development & education
• Local approaches with potential for scaling up

 

Nomination Process
The nomination process is completed.

Alexandra Guentzer
Jacobs Foundation
Seefeldquai 17
CH-8034 Zurich
award@jacobsfoundation.org