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On winning a Gates Foundation Grand Challenge Explorations Grant

Thursday, 23 May 2013 21:59



Late last night South African time,  The Gates Foundation announced their latest  Round 10 Grand Explorations Challenge awards. Matchboxology's proposal (designed with our collaboration partner CSI+) was one of the few chosen for an initial round of $100,000 in seed funding.   So what does this mean for Matchboxology?aidquest-network

First off, it reinforces the fact that world class thinking can come from anywhere in the world.   Out of the literally thousands of concepts the Foundation received from big and small companies and organisations around the world, ours was one of the 9 they'll be putting money behind.

Second, we'll be joining an exclusive little consortium that's bringing amazing global minds together to keep development aid flowing into areas where it is making real impact. 

The relatively small amount of money invested in development has changed the future prospects of billions of people—and it can do the same for billions more if we make the choice to continue investing in innovation….we are convinced that when people hear stories of the lives they’ve helped to improve, they want to do more, not less.
– Bill Gates, 2012 Annual Letter

So how do we plan to convince the world that development aid works?  Our solution is designed around the insight that we humans learn most when we experience things for ourselves.  

Our project will create a digital community of 7th graders from schools around the world--linking them together in a communal AidQuest.   AidQuest will give 13-year-olds the chance to become real life social entrepreneurs – by empowering them to to tackle very real world development challenges together in a custom built crowdsourcing portal . Our first group of “Hacktivists” will be drawn together from selected schools in six countries – South Africa, Nigeria, USA, UK, Sweden and India.  AidQuest will give these kids a chance to work their way through Hack U together,  tackling specific, real world development challenges identified by fellow 13 year olds in developing countries.  Through the process, we believe they'll learn how much difference each one of us can actually make in changing the world for the better.  And discoover the joy of working together creatively in a global communityto  find solutions to pressing problems.  

Is it idealistic.  Unashamedly so.  Is it going to be fun and fasctinating.  Absolutely.

We're proud to be a part of the Gates Foundation community.  We're humbled by the responsibility and opportunity that comes with this challenge.

Stay tuned...this is going to be a great journey and we'll share it with you!