On June 20, 2018 the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Planning organized a special event to award the top three Ideas for Action proposals from the DRC for 2018 and to announce the launch of the new SDGs&Her initiative. The winning DRC proposals will help to inform the Ministry of Planning’s policy decisions, and connections will be made between the top teams and practitioners working in their respective areas of expertise–fostering both implementation and collaboration.
With more than 270 participants in attendance, the event opened with a dedicated video message from Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations, and Partnerships. Following this, Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, gave an inspiring speech congratulating the I4A DRC winners and pledging continued support from World Bank country office, and Lwanzo Amani, I4A DRC Organizing Committee Lead, greeted attendees with a thank you address.
The first place winner for the DRC is the Lubumbashi-based Kelasi, which aims to create an online education platform to connect all of the stakeholders in the DRC education ecosystem to promote easier and quicker interaction and learning that is beneficial to all. In second place, Bukavu focuses on improving the environment by mobilizing students to plant trees in Eastern DRC, which is a region deeply affected by decades of conflict, while the third place team proposes an innovative recycling project in Kinshasa to help deal with the capital’s trash disposal system.
The DRC is an incredible example of the growing enthusiasm and mobilization of young entrepreneurs to turn their local ideas into global action. Last year, only five teams participated in the I4A competition, but the 2018 competition received 341 proposals from the country. In 2018, the DRC was not only the country with the largest number of teams and participants in Africa, but globally. With the announcement of the SDGs&Her initiative by the DRC Minister of Gender, Family and Children, the participation in achieving the SDGs by the DRC is set to grow even further.
The event concluded with an Inspiring closing address by the Vice-Minister of Planning, reconfirming the commitment of the Ministry to support SDG implementation and youth engagement. The Ministry hopes participation in the I4A initiative will encourage Congolese youth to not only be interested in public service, but to understand the key role they need to play in the development of the DRC.