2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

The 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge is providing grants of up to $100,000 to find a solution that has significant potential to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

This prize program is a call to the world’s artists, scientists, designers, architects, engineers, students, and entrepreneurs committed to playing a transformative role in addressing the biggest issues we face today.

Named “socially-responsible design’s highest award” by Metropolis Magazine, The Buckminster Fuller Challenge program has attracted and awarded bold, visionary, and tangible solutions to the world’s most complex problems. Answering Buckminster Fuller’s call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all, Challenge winners exemplify the kind of breakthrough approach urgently needed to solve humanity’s most vexing challenges.

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INK Fellows program

The INK Fellows program mobilizes young innovators and changemakers from emerging economies to bring their ideas and passion to the INK Community. INK Fellows are budding luminaries in their respective fields, inspirational role models and the architects of tomorrow. Fellows may be entrepreneurs, artists, social advocates, critical thinkers or, innovative changemakers from any field.

Fellows are selected because they are young people who have already proven their potential to be the gamechangers of their industries. INK seeks out these young revolutionaries, brings them together in a supportive peer group, and provides exposure to accelerate the ability of the Fellows to impact society.

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2012 TechWomen Mentorship Program

Harnessing the power of business, technology and innovation, TechWomen brings emerging women leaders in technology sectors from the Middle East and North Africa together with their American counterparts for a professional mentorship and exchange program at leading companies in the United States.

Overview of the Initiative

The TechWomen  program will occur over five weeks from early September through October 2012. The program will commence in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and will conclude in Washington, D.C.

Professional Mentorships

TechWomen Mentees will take part in three-week project-based mentorships at leading companies in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Each Mentee is matched with a Professional Mentor who partners with the Mentee on a technical project at the host company and provides professional guidance and support.

Professional Enrichment

As a complement to the mentorships, TechWomen Mentees will participate in professional enrichment activities. In 2011, TechWomen participants attended leadership and entrepreneurship workshops, “Tech Talks,” and served on panels at community events. They participated in “tech meet ups,” TEDxSoMa, and other networking events.

In 2012, TechWomen Mentees will attend the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, a conference organized by the Anita Borg Institute focused on supporting women in today’s technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.

Cultural Enrichment

Each TechWomen Mentee has a Cultural Mentor who facilitates activities to help showcase American culture and deepen mutual understanding. In 2011, Mentees volunteered with incarcerated girls in juvenile halls and attended neighborhood festivals, book readings, art exhibits and dance performances. They also visited national landmarks in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Interested? Apply Now!

The 2012 TechWomen application is now open. For eligibility requirements and to apply, please visit http://www.techwomen.org/how-to-apply/

The application deadline is February 15th

Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting 2011 – Nairobi Declaration

13th and 14th October 2011

Preamble

We, the delegates to the Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting for Rio +20 at the United Nations Complex at Gigiri, Nairobi:

Acknowledge the African indigenous knowledge of the sacred value of the environment to biodiversity wellbeing.

Commit to promote innovations that will develop a green economy and promote the eradication of poverty.

Take note of the past declarations towards environmental sustainability both at the African and Global level, there is an urgent need for structural and infrastructural interventions in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Recognize the current global environmental challenges, particularly climate change, which impact our common future and wellbeing, we commit ourselves to support of the following mechanisms:

  • Good governance and transformative leadership.
  • Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness
  • Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.
  • Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.
  • Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Attain sustainable green cities and villages.
  • Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.
  • Promote Youth Development and capacity building
  • Good Governance and Transformative Leadership

We recognize the role of good governance and transformative sustainable development leadership that is

  • Participatory
  • accountable,
  • transparent and
  • implementable

at national and county levels. We reject governance that is weak on transitioning to a green economy and embrace that which promotes a green economy which engenders human well-being and social equity and respect for the natural environment, and the value of biodiversity and eco-systems, guided by, and accountable to, a new World Environment Organisation with universal membership by all UN Member States.  We also call for mechanisms in such new institutions that allow for youth participation in decision-making.

Youth delegations have to be engaged at all levels of governance in discussing benchmarks for the green economy. The Youth need to be involved in efforts towards policy formulation and development of institutional frameworks. Additionally, youth participation should be integrated at local, national and international assessments towards the development of an index for measuring the progress towards a green economy.

Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness

We recommend the adoption of green economy and sustainable development education material at all levels of education and public training initiatives by 2014. We intend to achieve this through the creation of various information sharing methods to various segments of the society.

We acknowledge that education underpins awareness; and awareness is critical to the spread of sustainable development principles through multiple levels in society.

Education serves as a hub for understanding the types of information to be considered when thinking about the green economy; how monitoring will be shaped in the context of the information identified as relevant; and the role of education on the environment to serve as a communication/public awareness tool on sustainable development.

Build an understanding toward the intersection of business, environment and society, in educating all people about the tenets critical to achieve sustainable development, especially the Youth.

Action: Build a national curriculum standard that promotes business in a green society. 2015

Action: Educate students in primary and secondary schools on the green economy by creating incentives that allow NGOs, student groups or CBOs to serve as ambassadors for education of the green economy. 2015

Action:  Build a monitoring service from the information-discovered. Discovery of information should be an integrated process involving key stakeholders with a special emphasis on Youth. Progress towards sustainable development goals should be identified as key thematic working groups, using poverty alleviation and institutional reform as output goals, and involvement of youth and CBOs as an inherent part of the process. 2018

Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.

Whereas recognizing the interrelation between our national forest cover and agricultural productivity we recommend the following measures;

  • Increasing our national forest cover to 10% from the current 2% by the year 2015 through creation of green parks, promoting agroforestry and sustainable agribusiness.
  • Phasing out of hazardous chemical fertilizers in arable farming by the year 2015.
  • Promoting the utilization of the green energy technologies to enhance affordable agricultural production.

Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.

Develop sustainability measures and indicators against which government programmes can be measured and assessed.

Advocate for the legislation of policies on sustainable development that regulate the corporations’ adherence to green economy modules.

Ensure that approximately 25% of the annual government development budget goes towards program initiatives on sustainable development, with clear indication on targets towards green growth in community development and individual technological entrepreneurship.  15% of the 5% funding should be geared towards mobilizing and benchmarking activities to demarcate marginal change of youth involvement in the green economy.  35% of that “Sustainable Development funding” should be geared towards supporting renewable energy and zero-carbon activities that are both sustainable and demonstrably financially viable, in a local and youth-oriented level. 2013

Ensure the programmatic and structural archetype of an environmental body that can hold nations and member-states accountable for reporting and making transparent their pathways and transitions towards a green economy. 2015

Ensure that the youth are fully represented at the National Land Commission.

Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.

Establish independent institutional mechanisms for promoting green entrepreneurship and growth among youth.

Set up an independent fund to provide start-up financing for green enterprises by youth

Promote technological, business and social innovation through creating enabling policy environment and platforms

Invest in business models that promote community development

Promote alternative and innovative funding and investment in youth green enterprises such as crowd-funding

Sensitize youth at all levels on green entrepreneurship through different channels such as new media

Create enabling business and policy environment for green entrepreneurship, for example, tax waivers for youth green enterprises

Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.

We recognize the aspect of culture and indigenous knowledge that embraced green economy through agroforestry, organic fertilizers for sustainable development.

For sustainable development towards green economy, we recommend the need for selfless/political willingness from all levels of governance, private sector and individuals in promoting the green economy.

We recommend that; at all levels of policy formulation and participation, there is need for public engagement and concurrence which will enhance easy implementation and sustainability.

We stand for investment, documentation, promotion and development of best practices in cultural beliefs and practices that further conservation and renewable energy founded on indigenous knowledge.

Promotion of community and youth-led exchanges is key in this regard for effective sharing and transfer of green growth skills through access and exchange of information.

We appreciate that volunteerism will act as a means of inculcating community ownership of sustainable development initiatives.

Harness public engagement and Youth volunteerism to benchmark progress on the role of corporations in sustainable development through Corporate Socially Responsible initiatives.

Attain sustainable green cities and villages

Develop an independent institution to assess business models for micro-enterprises to assess their suitability for tax benefits and other incentives. And to regulate and ensure that micro-enterprises do not compromise environmental sustainability.

Develop comprehensive waste management systems by:

  • Placing increased emphasis on waste separation and recycling systems;
  • Establishing dug-in decomposition landfills where decomposable materials are put to decompose; once decomposed the material can be used as organic manure.

Establish awards to recognize and celebrate the effort of cities and villages that take significant steps in transforming into green cities and villages.

Regulate transportation to reduce congestion by:

  • Establishing dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles and
  • Implement mass transport systems such as rail transport.

Promote Youth Development and capacity building

In order to facilitate and further build capacity in youth to fully engage in and drive development processes to address the above priority areas, we call upon our governments to:

Adopt a Youth Development Index as an indicator of the welfare of the youth in the countries; and as a measure of the youth development.

Review existing and develop new policies and legislation to:

Promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship through structures such as:

  • Talent Academies
  • Technology and Business incubation centres

Protect these innovations through structures and measures such as:

  • Strong and easily accessible Intellectual Property protection
  • Moderate and accommodative tax regimes

Promoting youth participation in international forums through

  • Incorporating youth delegations as part of national delegations to international conferences
  • Providing funding for youth to participate at international
  • Incorporating youth in National policy formulation and implementation

Develop and strengthen national and local structures to provide support and training for youth organizations with emphasis in the areas of:

  • Establishment of community and youth led organizations
  • Leadership and organizational management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management

Require that all government ministries establish youth offices and develop and implement youth engagement strategies to streamline youth participation in the work of the ministries.

Convene national and local youth forums to discuss matters relevant to youth development and make recommendations for action in support of youth development by state and non-state actors.

Improve youth access to information especially with regard to rural communities and informal urban settlements, through Establishment of community ICT Digital Villages

Conclusion

We, as young people, this is what we declare and recommend our government, individuals, businesses, development organizations and all stakeholders to undertake ahead of Rio+20 and beyond. Any action to be taken affects us and our future generation to a greater extent. We care about our planet and we will all work together in creating a more sustainable era. Green Economy is Achievable.

Doing Business in the East African Community 2011

The East African Community is deepening and widening cooperation among its 5 member states. Spurred by the need to expand markets, boost competitiveness and attract investment, East African countries have continued to take steps to make it easier for local firms to start up and operate.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Doing business has become easier in East Africa since 2005.
  • Sharing good practices could bring East Africa closer to global top performers.
  • If each East African country were to adopt the region’s best practice in each of the Doing Business indicators, the region’s average ranking on the ease of doing business would be 18 rather than 117.
  • If the best of East African regulations and procedures were implemented across the board, the business regulatory environment in East Africa, as measured by Doing Business, would be comparable to that in Japan.
  • EAC members are already seeking to learn from one another’s good reform practices through the World Bank Group-sponsored Network of Reformers initiative.

Read the  Doing Business in the East African Community 2011 Report here

Nature Challenge Africa

This is a business plan competition targeting entrepreneurs supporting green businesses in Kenya.

It is an initiative of WWF Kenya Country Office in collaboration with the National Environment Trust Fund. The goal of this challenge is to:

  • Identify business models that have a positive and large impact on natural resources and nature conservation and
  • Ensure access to (inter) national markets, technology and finance for the most viable business cases.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/poCpVd

Nokia Create for Millions Contest

Nokia has announced “Create for Millions” a global competition that brings consumers and developers together to create applications for Nokia’s Series 40 mobile phones. Create for Millions also provides developers an opportunity to bring Java and web apps to millions of consumers worldwide and win their share of cash and prizes valued at One Million Euros.

The Create for Millions contest features four categories where you can bring out your best work for Nokia’s Series 40 phones:

1. In the Know –seeking your Series 40 web apps focusing on news and location-based information.
2. Fun & Games – show your Series 40 Java games and entertainment apps that will fill those spare moments during the day with amusing, unforgettable diversions.
3. Emotional Closeness – submit social networking apps that are developed either as Series 40 Java apps or web apps.
4. Access to Knowledge – enter your life improvement apps (e.g., education, health, etc.), and in this category we’ll accept either Series 40 Java apps or web apps, too.

For more information, visit http://www.yipekenya.org/Nokia Create for Millions Contest.htm