War Child Holland wins innovation award

An ambitious scheme to use online media to unleash the potential of children in DR Congo was last night awarded the top prize at the third annual Conn@ct.Now Innovation Awards.
13 March 2014

‘We Are the Present and the Future, Let Us Be the Change!’ was judged to best reflect this year’s awards theme of “meaningful participation of children and young people,” and will receive €45,000 in funding.

Videos by children
The winning project is an initiative from War Child Holland and the Children’s Parliament of the South Kivu province of DR Congo. The project will see Child Parliamentarians make their voices heard by decision-makers in charge of ensuring child rights. Participants will make videos about issues affecting their lives and share them with children from different provinces to exchange views. These videos will then be presented to decision-making bodies and local agencies to ensure that children’s voices are truly heard.

The War Child team in DR Congo were thrilled to receive the award. “I really, really have to run to my phone and SMS the team in DRC to tell them that we won,” said project leader Esther Obdam.

Innovation search
The Conn@ct.Now initiative is a coalition between non-profit organisations War Child Holland, Child Helpline International and Free Press Unlimited and technology giants T-Mobile and TNO. The five consortium members have come together to help improve the lives of children in conflict-affected areas.

The consortium’s annual Innovation Awards stimulate and celebrate innovative solutions to the challenges of reaching children and young people affected by conflict. Entries are submitted by the three non-profit organisations and their partners in the field.

This year’s event saw 30 projects from across the world submitted. Each project was assessed according to its level of innovation and meaningful participation of children and how they combined to give children a greater voice in all matters that affect them.

Five finalists were shortlisted to compete for this year’s award. Two finalists were selected through an online vote. The remaining three finalists were chosen by an independent jury including representatives from ASN Bank, Dance4Life, Save the Children, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Alexander Foundation.

A second finalist - the ‘Peace Negotiators: Colombian Peace Through Children and Teen Voices’ project from PANDI - won a commendation voted for by attendees of the awards ceremony.  

Previous winners
Last year’s winner was the Free Press Unlimited project 'On, open your eyes', which provided a multi-media platform for Colombian young people to speak out on the impact of violence and conflict on their lives.

In 2012 the War Child Holland-initiated project in Burundi, ‘Mighty B Girls Animation’, won first prize with their proposal to advocate and raise awareness on diverse social issues using animation films.