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PRESS RELEASE July 11, 2017

World Bank Group and Wharton School Announce Winners of Global Youth Development Finance Innovation Competition Ideas for Action (I4A)

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2017 – The World Bank Group (WBG) and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania today announced the winners of its 3rd annual global youth development finance innovation competition, entitled Ideas for Action (I4A).

Over 5,000 youth from 118 countries participated in the competition, working in teams to develop and share their ideas on how to finance and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals which seek to end poverty, promote peace, and preserve the planet for future generations.

The competition offers the winners a platform to share their ideas as well as access to leading professionals in global development and the private sector. “These young adults have to be the ones planning to reach the SDGs since their generation will be the most affected. Our competition fosters a sense of ownership while incubating some exciting ideas that can shape our future for the better,” said Djordjija Petkoski, Lecturer and Senior Fellow at Wharton Business School.

“Three billion people -- nearly half the world's population -- is under the age of 25, and they will be inventing and implementing solutions for our global challenges,” said World Bank Group Senior Vice President Mahmoud Mohieldin. “Engaging Youth is critical to everyone on our planet and these young thinkers and entrepreneurs will shape our future for decades to come,” he said.

The 2017 annual I4A competition was concluded after three rounds of review by panels of development experts, business leaders, and academicians. The winning teams for 2016-2017 include:

First place winner: Team Kitovu (Nigeria). The 2017 winning proposal, Kitovu, from Nigeria, is an innovative platform that matches the type and quantity of fertilizers, improved quality seeds, and other inputs, to the right soil. The group proposes a web- and mobile-based decentralized fertilizer/seedling warehousing system that matches the right inputs to different farm locations owned by smallholder farmers in distant locations so as to lower the cost of cultivation while ensuring increased yields. The platform also seeks to create market access for smallholder farmers in distant locations by using a mix of web, mobile, and SMS platforms to link them to processors, produce buyers, inputs, and other ecosystem stakeholders so as to tackle post-harvest losses and enable produce to be tracked, while also increasing farmer income.

Second place winner: Team Gifted Hands (Uganda). The second-place proposal, Gifted Hands, from Uganda, is a network that reduces breast cancer deaths and provides an employment opportunity for visually impaired women. The network would facilitate training for visually impaired women to become certified medical tactile examiners to carry out early breast cancer detections and preventions. This would create an opportunity to boost employment for visually impaired women while saving lives of women through early examinations, preventing breast cancer deaths.

Third place winner: Team Agratam (India). The third-place proposal, Agratam, from India, works in the state of Bihar to convert low-lying, waterlogged wastelands into productive fish farming units. This is aimed primarily at providing sustainable employment opportunities to extremely poor fisher communities that do not have access to a consistent and stable source of income. By aggregating this unproductive land, Agratam also provides rental income to marginal/small-holder farmers who own small parcels of land from which they cannot extract any value or generate economic returns.

Runners up (in alphabetical order): Project Forward (USA); Save (Philippines); She Is (Colombia). The winning proposals, the runners-up, as well as the honorable mentions (Commodity Band, DataRise, Haima, and Water Brainiacs) will be compiled in the 2017 Ideas for Action book, which will be launched during the WBG-IMF Annual Meetings this October. (See the 2016 Ideas for Action book here.)

The 2017 Ideas for Action competition drew participants from 1,965 registered Teams representing 5,254 youth from 118 countries.  The competition received 743 submissions in total, with 38% of participants representing Sub-Saharan Africa, 15% from Latin America & Caribbean, 13% South Asia, 12 % East Asia & Pacific, 12 % of North America, 8 % Europe & Central Asia, and 2 % of from the Middle East & North Africa. The largest numbers of proposals were received from the USA (82), Nigeria (70), Kenya (46), India (36), Indonesia (33), Uganda (31), and Pakistan (31).

Ideas for Action is organized in partnership with Youth 2 Youth Community of the World Bank Group and the Young Americas Business Trust of the Organization of American States.

For more information, please check Ideas-For-Action Facebook and Website


Mike Kelleher