The DOW/YALI RLC Accra Design Challenge targets YALI RLC Accra Alumni working in the environmental sustainability space to validate the assumptions and explore the opportunities that motivate the search for solutions for waste management in the region. The challenge adopts techniques which communicate, interact, empathize and stimulate its participants, helping them to obtain an understanding of their needs, desires and experiences. It is a unique approach to problem solving; one that starts with the people you are designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs. The process will also involve the adoption and utilization of inspiration, ideation and implementation in the problem-solving approach. 

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This process is contextualized in a two-part online curriculum centered on sustainability, the SDGs and the Circular Economy. This is not a theoretical program – participants will actually prototype their solutions to the Design Challenge and build on the ideas as they progress through this curriculum. The course follows the “Watch – Think – Do – Explore – Collaborate” pedagogy in a highly experiential learning format. Throughout the duration of the program, Alumni will discuss their own experiences and deepen their knowledge in key areas where further sustainability practice and development are needed.  

The Design Challenge for Sustainable Waste Management will be held online over a twelve (12) week period, starting tentatively in mid-March, 2021. 

The objectives of the Design Challenge are to: 

  • Highlight the talent embedded within YALI West Africa Alumni 
  • Obtain new ideas for waste management in the region in alignment with the key tracks of the YALI curriculum   
  • Align with the existing Dow Social Impact Fund project
  • Leverage the YALI Alumni Innovation Fund (YAIF) to prompt business development
  • Incorporate the design challenge concept with the Dow-YALI sustainability curriculum (as implemented in East Africa) 

The Design Challenge will focus on the respective roles of each of the three YALI RLC Tracks in solving sustainable waste management challenges in the sub-region.

Alumni of the YALI RLC Accra working in the Circular Economy/Green/Sustainable waste management space, irrespective of the track, are encouraged to apply for the Design Challenge. 

Criteria for Alumni: Participants will represent all three YALI tracks but are Circular Economy/Green/Sustainable waste management biased and willing to devote twelve weeks to the process. Alumni will apply individually, but successful applicants will be randomly placed in groups of four to compete for with other challenge teams. 

The structure of the Design Challenge will comprise an initial three-week Sustainability and Circular Economy Training delivered via interactive webinar sessions. The sessions will use polls and discussion groups to query participants’ understanding and application of sustainability and circular economy.  The next step of the Challenge will be the main Design Challenge, which includes interactive online sessions and weekly coaching by experts in the sustainability and circular economy. The Design Challenge stage will be implemented over a nine-week period. 

The completion of the Design Challenge will pave way for the YALI Alumni Innovation Award, an online ceremony where participants will present their ideas and receive feedback from a panel of judges. The online session will also host and provide an instructive conversation with an online audience of Alumni of the Center. The highlight of the award ceremony will be the announcement of the winning Challenge group. The winning group will receive $10,000 to implement their challenge project/ idea.

The award ceremony will be followed by a twelve-month mentorship period for finalists of the Challenge. Finalists will be assigned to mentors for this period and submit quarterly progress reports. 

 The Design Challenge will feature the following:

  • Successful applicants will be drawn from all three tracks and with an equitable country representation (with respect to the nine countries the Accra RLC recruits and trains participants from), and put into random groups of four to compete against other groups; 
  • There will be a total of 12 groups (representing 48 Alumni/successful applicants) to be selected to participate in the Design Challenge 
  • All twelve groups will collaborate internally to work (online) on their design/idea, participate in all online sessions and present at the final, where the winning group will be selected by a panel of judges 

Applications are now open for Alumni of the YALI RLC Accra.  Access and complete the online application form here.  The application period is from Monday January 11, 2021 to Sunday January 31, 2021.

After the close of applications on January 31, 2021, the selection process will take place in February, 2021 with the training for the Challenge commencing in mid-March and run for a total of twelve weeks.   

The Design Challenge is being implemented by Kenyan-based MK-Africa in partnership with YALI RLC Accra and DOW. 

Visit the Official Webpage of the DOW/YALI RLC Accra Design Challenge for more information


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