MTN, WWF announce African PachiPanda challenge
MTN Group and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today unveiled the Africa PachiPanda Challenge, a project to encourage young people to develop solutions to unsustainable environmental practises.
This brings the organisations' collaborative initiative to four more African countries.
MTN Group chief sustainability and corporate affairs officer Nompilo Morafo announced the challenge on the sidelines of COP28, meeting with Zambia minister of green economy and environment Collins Nzovu, who said the local initiative had been a great success and included some first-of-their-kind projects in Zambia.
"The Challenge has been a significant milestone in driving tangible solutions to address long-term climate solutions in Zambia," he said. “The type of initiatives that have evolved from the Challenge, such as waste-to-electricity facilities, has been significant. We must now focus on scaling the scheme and providing significant help to these enterprises."
MTN Zambia and WWF Zambia created the PachiPanda Challenge in 2022 and organised it again this year to draw innovative ideas to address difficulties, raise conservation awareness, and create a more sustainable Zambia.
Attracting more than 1 500 applicants, the events invited young Zambians and SMEs to submit their solutions to a number of ‘challenge statements’. These included:
•How might we leverage technology to ensure the benefits of conservation and sustainability practices are communicated to people of different ages, backgrounds and locations?
•How do we use technology to address conservation challenges?
•In what way can we develop environmentally friendly alternatives to existing unsustainable practices?
•How might we develop and encourage the use of sustainable energy alternatives?
"We are proud to have birthed an innovative Initiative out of Zambia that evidently supports youth-led small businesses in the climate space that creates green jobs in a green economy," said Rose Sibisi, the chairperson of the MTN Zambia Foundation.
"Through the Zambia PachiPanda Challenge, which is now transitioning into an African challenge, we believe that sustainable innovations key to addressing the pressing environmental issues facing our continent will be developed," stated Nachilala Nkombo, Zambia's country director for WWF.
The Challenge will now be accessible to applications from young people (aged 16-35) and youth-led SMEs with early-stage or idea-stage solutions to the environmental concerns outlined in four more countries: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda.
"The Zambia PachiPanda Challenge, run by MTN Zambia Foundation and WWF Zambia, was an absolute success in the first two years, and we believe the initiative brought about meaningful and sustainable projects that have the potential to transform disadvantaged communities for the better," said Evelyn Mwamubiru-Mwaura, WWF Africa's country offices project quality director.
"MTN Group and WWF are committed to fostering innovation and sustainability in Africa and leveraging technology to achieve that," Morafo said. “This challenge provides a chance for African entrepreneurs to benefit their communities and the continent as a whole by developing solutions to environmental and social concerns."
According to the partners, the Africa PachiPanda Challenge, which will be launched in 2024, will be more than just a competition; it will be a platform for change.
It aims to motivate participants to think outside the box, to create answers to immediate problems, and to contribute to the long-term sustainability of their communities.