At Pact, a global nonprofit committed to ending poverty and marginalization, the mission is clear: building resilient communities worldwide. In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2020, Pact took decisive steps to empower change-makers across West Africa. Join us as we explore the inspiring narrative of AfrIdea, a regional innovation program supported by the U.S. Department of State.
Crafting a Vision for Change
Pact’s overarching vision is to create a world where everyone owns their future. To turn this vision into reality, they introduced AfrIdea, a dynamic initiative aimed at harnessing the potential of West African entrepreneurs, social activists, and developers to address the challenges emerging in the aftermath of COVID-19. By fostering innovation and collaboration, AfrIdea sought to unlock solutions with a lasting impact.
Navigating Unprecedented Challenges
In 2020, the world grappled with unprecedented challenges in delivering essential services, maintaining economic stability, and ensuring community resilience. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 had far-reaching effects on health, education, and livelihoods.
AfrIdea’s Recipe for Change
Pact’s AfrIdea program embraced a multifaceted approach with the help of IdeaScale:
- Contest: An inclusive contest format allowed young entrepreneurs and innovators from Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Togo to submit their innovative solutions.
- Training: Through mentorship and knowledge sharing, participants received valuable guidance, strengthening their ideas.
- Idea-a-Thon: This exciting platform for collaboration brought like-minded individuals and experienced innovators together to refine and develop solutions.
- Follow-on Funding: Promising ideas were provided with follow-on funding, transforming concepts into actionable projects.
Fostering Hope and Progress
In the words of Taylor Cruz Mwila, Senior Innovation Officer at Pact, “By combining mentorship and crowdsourcing – it’s automatically engaging. It’s bringing a community to you, and whether you get accepted or not, you can actually grow your idea and seek inspiration from a new collaborative community. You’re able to get feedback automatically from a network of experienced innovators or like-minded individuals. Working this way tied us all together to hope and progress in the midst of COVID.”
AfrIdea stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of communities, the potency of innovation, and the strength found in collaboration during times of adversity. Together, they illuminated the path to a brighter and more hopeful future.