Students & Campus
02 December 2022

Teams from Africa and Europe Win 2022 Geneva Challenge on Poverty Reduction

The Geneva Challenge, created thanks to the vision and generosity of Swiss Ambassador Jenö Staehelin and under the patronage of the late Kofi Annan, is an annual contest that encourages master students to bridge the gap between their studies and real development policy by developing innovative and practical proposals for effecting change.

For the 2022 edition of the Geneva Challenge, teams of graduate students from academic programmes all over the world presented innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of poverty reduction. Out of 86 project entries submitted by 344 students, 18 teams were chosen as semi-finalists. A jury then selected five finalist teams, one per continent, who then defended their projects at the Geneva Graduate Institute on 22 November 2022. 

This year, the jury exceptionally chose two projects for first place: the team from the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES) with their project “JACCA Agro-Warehouse Integrated Solutions”, and the team from the London School of Economics and London School Of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with their “Project Connect”. JACCA Agro-Warehouse Integrated Solutions proposes a system of warehouse and storage facilities to significantly reduce the post-harvest losses of rural farmers in the North-West of Cameroon while also offering them easier access to capacity building and microfinance. Project Connect proposes using high-school student internships to identify individuals that would be eligible for Indian government welfare schemes but who are currently not enrolled to increase the enrolment rates and effect of the state system. 

Second place went to the team from Latin America with their project “What a Waste (Water)!”. The teams from North America (“Sahaja Project”) and Asia (“ePASADA”) won the third prizes. 

In her introductory remarks during the award ceremony, Marie-Laure Salles, Director of the Geneva Graduate Institute, stressed the value of young voices for poverty reduction and sustainable development. 

Elhadj As Sy, Chair of the Board of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), discussed the paths towards poverty reduction, stressing the importance of equity and international cooperation. Reflecting on the way we conceptualise and measure poverty, he highlighted those aspects that get lost in the purely socio-economic measurements like the international poverty line (IPL), including place of birth; gender; ethnicity; ability and many more. In his conclusion, he emphasised how equity, leadership, good governance and active citizenship are crucial in the fight to reduce poverty. His speech was followed by a conversation with Martina Viarengo, Associate Professor of Economics and Chair of the Academic Steering Committee for the Geneva Challenge.

In his congratulatory speech, Michael Møller, President of the Jury, announced the theme for the 10th edition of the Geneva Challenge, which will be "The Challenges of Loneliness". Loneliness has proven to have a negative effect on people’s mental and physical health, overall well-being, and ability to fully participate in the political, social and economic life of their societies and therefore affects their material well-being and prosperity. Loneliness, while prevalent everywhere, is especially present in vulnerable and marginalised communities and in situations that impact people`s lives much more fundamentally, such as forced displacement, migration, war, and economic, climate and health shocks. The ‘Advancing Development Goals Contest’ of 2023 calls upon graduate students from around the world to develop innovative solutions that address the global challenges of loneliness.

The Geneva Challenge 2022 Award Ceremony