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School students tackle social issues

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Financial literacy, water, sanitation, communal gardens, sexual harassment and teenage rape are some of the many social issues tackled by New Zealand secondary school students in this year’s P3 Foundation Social Enterprise Competition. Ten student teams from Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are coming to present their ideas at the Social Enterprise Competition finals being held on Saturday 17 August at the Auckland University of Technology city campus.

The competition is a P3 Foundation initiative partnering with Save the Children New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development. It challenges students to work in teams to identify a national or global social issue related to the Millennium Development Goals and come up with an innovative solution. Supported by a P3 Foundation volunteer mentor, students research and develop ideas, then pitch their proposed solutions to a panel of judges from the non-profit sector, business, government or academia.

The inaugural Save the Children Award for Best New Zealand Social Innovation of $1,500 will be presented by Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater, Chair Save the Children New Zealand. P3 Foundation’s Social Enterprise Competition overall winning team and runners up will receive prizes of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively as seed capital for their projects, as well as receiving ongoing mentoring and support from individuals in relevant industries.

Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater says, "Save the Children is thrilled to be involved with P3 Foundation’s Social Enterprise Competition. It’s a terrific initiative that recognises young people’s leadership potential and encourages them to find solutions as they critically engage with the world around them. The competition’s mentoring system is great for promoting positive adult/youth partnerships."

Save the Children provides the project management framework that helps students to structure, present, implement and evaluate their ideas for feasibility and sustainability. Some members of the Save the Children Child and Youth Council, who are at tertiary institutions, volunteer as mentors, alongside P3 Foundation’s own volunteers. The Social Enterprise Competition has grown from five entries in 2010 to 34 teams this year.

Last year’s overall winning project, Lunches4Less, designed by a team from Auckland’s Aorere College, teaches children how to make cheap yet healthy lunches. The first Lunches4Less programme launched with great success at Kingsford Primary School in Mangere East. The Lunches4Less team said that the competition gave them the opportunity to address a very local issue. They recognised that as primary school children, a Lunches4Less programme would have helped them, their families and their community.

P3 Foundation is a volunteer-only New Zealand development organisation that provides opportunities for young people to actively take part in eradicating extreme poverty in the Asia-Pacific region. P3 Foundation currently runs four youth development projects here in New Zealand and has raised over $70,000 for international grassroots development programmes.

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children, working in 120 countries including New Zealand. Save the Children New Zealand’s approach is to partner with local people and provide training, funding and resources to help build healthier and more successful lives and communities for children.

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