​​​​​​​Zambia: Sleeping well for the environment

In Zambia, the German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation (DSIK) and its local partners are supporting an innovation program for children and young people that promotes entrepreneurial spirit and potential business ideas. 13-year-old Mishale Jenkins won the top prize for developing a compostable bed pad that also protects mattresses and bedding.

13-year-old Mishale Jenkins won the main prize for developing a compostable bed pad that will also protect mattresses and bedding.

The "Kids MBA Program" was designed to introduce children and teens to complex concepts in sustainable business management, pricing and taxes through engaging lectures, activities, and games. The idea is to encourage young people to engage with and explore social and innovative business topics. 

For this purpose, DSIK Zambia is working together with "Study Connect" and the British non-governmental organization ABE (Advancing Business Education). Together, they have set themselves the goal of providing disadvantaged children and young people around the world with access to education - especially in the areas of entrepreneurship and business start-ups.

Compostable bed pad wins main prize

In December, the first "KidsMBA Program" with German Sparkassenstiftung took place in the Zambian capital Lusaka. A total of 30 children aged 11-15 attended the creative modules. There they developed a wide variety of business ideas. At the final event or "business pitch", all business ideas were then presented virtually in front of a jury. In addition to three winners in two age categories each, 13-year-old Mishale Jenkins was named "Star Performer" for her innovative idea: Mishale developed a compostable bed pad that protects mattresses and bedding.

Inspiration for other young people

The idea is so original that the Zambian non-governmental organization "iSanitize" took direct notice of Mishale and her environmentally friendly idea. They quickly hired Mishale as their "Brand Ambassador" for a year. iSanitize will distribute Mishale's products on a trial basis, as well as provide her with a platform to give talks at various schools to share her zest with her peers.

Through the program, Mishale and the other winners have been given the chance to work with an organization that provides startup capital as well as advice and mentoring to aspiring young entrepreneurs. In addition, all have received a free savings account at a Zambian commercial bank with a seed capital of ZMW 500 (equivalent to 20 euros). This is intended to make it easier to get started in life economically.

After all, the long-term goal of the program is to promote the emergence of many young, innovative companies. In this way, a change in mentality is to be brought about among Zambian youth so that they can create new jobs and thereby opportunities for others.

By Anna-Claire Mikat and Jennifer Berbuir

Deutsche Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
Simrockstraße 4, 53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 9703-0
Fax: +49 228 9703-6613 or -6630

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