Many organisations and individuals working on African issues presented their work to the public at the Fair for Bridge Builders (Messe der Brückenbauer), part of the activities celebrating the Kenako Afrika-Festival in Berlin (3-14 July).
The fair is a platform for committed people from Germany and the African diaspora to exhibit their projects for the development of Africa and present them to a large audience.
One of the main objectives of the fair is to encourage those supporting projects in Africa to be physically involved on site in the continent and get to know the people they’re helping and their situation better. Another focus of the fair is on sustainability of projects.
The Fair for Bridge Builders also encourages increased African engagement in initiatives about Africa because it’s the Africans who know best what their problems are and how best to solve them.
For the sixth time the most sustainable and convincing bridge builder projects were honoured with the KENAKO Award. Once again this year, the decision was made by a jury of experts. Factors considered by the panel include equal partnership, innovation, global learning, sustainability and multiplier effectiveness.
Solar Led (Soled) Technology, which develops solar-powered devices for use in Africa, came first. More than 60 per cent of people on the continent have no access to electricity which makes life not only difficult but also hinders economic activities. Soled would like to play an important role in the industrialisation of Africa by producing innovative solar-powered products for use especially in rural areas.
Mweso, a scholarship scheme, won the second prize. The initiative is named after a town situated around 100 km north of the provincial capital of Goma in the DR Congo. Mweso, located on a mild plateau characterized by agricultural treasures and breathtaking natural beauties, is the focus of the many projects of the initiative, one of which is the scholarship program, which sponsors indigent students in the town.
Since 2010, when the scholarship program was launched in Berlin, 133 young Congolese have been able to study at the local Agricultural Institute in Mweso. By 2016, 67 of the sponsored students had successfully completed their studies.
Two associations – Unique 24 and Initiative Perspektivwechsel – tied for third place. Normally, it’s unusual to give the third prize to two recipients, the jury made the unconventional decision because of the extreme difficulty they said they had not to honour both projects.
Unique 24 is an online business & education project while Initiative Perspektivwechsel works for a fairer society without racism, sexism or any form of discrimination. The organisation currently implements educational projects in Berlin and Brandenburg, and in Douala, Cameroon.
The first and second winners – Soled and Mweso – received a flight ticket each to an African destination of their choice donated by Brussels Airlines, one of the festival sponsors.