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Go Make A Difference 2017 

In the picture, Jill Longson and Colin Habgood assessing 2017 applications

This year, Go Make A Difference, a grant scheme that allows current students across all UWC schools and colleges to run projects that put the UWC ideals into practice and a UWCx initiative, has been expanded with a total of $30,000 being awarded to 30 UWC projects to go and make a difference immediately after they graduate.

2017 will see UWC students deliver community projects to make a difference in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. This year, 54 applications were received from 14 schools and colleges across the UWC movement, including applications for the first time from Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa, UWC Robert Bosch College and UWC Changshu China.

There were a significant number of applications to choose from and deciding on which projects should be worthy of an award proved difficult. Applications were awarded on the originality of the project, the level of impact and sustainability they will have, the level of personal development and challenge for the students and their likelihood for success. The founders, Colin Habgood and Jill Longson, were impressed, as Colin said, “Jill and I were moved by the diversity and quality of projects and the obvious commitment from students.  We looked at all the applications in great detail before deciding which projects should be awarded.  It is really humbling to see the ideas students have and their desire to go and make a difference.  Whilst it is not possible for every application to be awarded a grant, we hope somehow that everyone who applied can use this process as a catalyst to deliver their projects in some way."

In true UWC spirit, some projects were delivered by students coming together across more than one school/college. For instance, "Solar Salone" led by Abubakarr Sidique Konneh from Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong and Dominic Hindolo Said from UWC Mahindra College seeks to provide sustainable and reliable solar panels for school students affected by power shortage in Sierra Leone. "I am Malawi" is a project giving youth access to information, internet services, promoting entrepreneurship and teaching skills such as sewing. The project will be delivered by Mungo Casper Ligoya from UWC Dilijan and MaBlda Mchazime from UWC Maastricht. "Kenyan Youth for Peace" aims to help youth overcome violence in relation to elections and will be delivered by Nawal Abdulrahman Ali from UWC South East Asia and Shamim Mohamed from Pearson College UWC. "Giving Back Strength" will be delivered by Hadjaratou Gado Alzouma from UWC Mostar and Abdoul Nasser Bounia Yahya from UWC-USA, who will be working with women who suffer from obstetric fistula to teach them how to sew and sell their products.

The Journey Much Desiredis a planned autobiographic novel from John Michael Koffi, a UWC Robert Bosch College student: the novel follows John Michael’s refugee life in Malawi and later in Swaziland, focusing on the struggles of being a refugee youth with the constant disruption to education and friendships.

Special mention goes to Drishika Dugar and Elizabeth Dowell from UWC Atlantic College for their "E2" (Electronic Education) application. This project plans to install sustainable online libraries powered by solar panels in Nepalese communities that do not have access to books or internet, improving academic performance of the students. This project was perceived as the top application received this year achieving the highest marks against all the assessment criteria. In recognition of this, the students will be receiving a $1500 donation.

Everyone at GoMakeADifference looks forward to posting the reports from the successful applications as the projects are delivered and would like to thank everyone who applied and the local UWC coordinators who help with the application process.

We hope 2018 leavers can be inspired by these projects and can start to think about how they can make a difference in the near future!

To know more about Go Make a Difference and the awarded projects, visit the website www.gomakeadifference.global.