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A photo competition shows voluntary commitment from Germany

Climate protection, food and fair trade: these were the main topics of a photo competition in which participants from Germany could showcase the voluntary work they do for a fair and sustainable world.

An initiative to protect mangrove forests in Nicaragua; cushions hand-made in social centres; and a t-shirt that has travelled the world to raise awareness among young people about fair-trade clothing: these are the three main winners in the photo competition ‘Zeig dein Engagement!’ (Show your initiative!). This competition was run jointly by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Engagement Global.

European Year for Development 2015: Show your initiative!

Clubs, groups, initiatives or individuals from Germany were invited to submit photos illustrating the voluntary work they do in the areas of climate protection, food, and fair trade/social and environmental standards. Together with their photos, participants were asked to send a short description of their project or activity, and also to explain what they would use the prize money for.

The three best contributions in each of the three areas were chosen by a jury, who made their selection based on the main criteria of sustainability, relevance to the topic, and the extent of the activities’ reach. The nine finalists all receive a cash prize worth EUR 300. After the pre-selection, a public vote was held online to decide the three overall winners of the competition. They will travel to attend the European Development Days, the biggest international event devoted to development cooperation. In Brussels, they will be able to witness live the different kinds of voluntary work being done around the world.

The European Year for Development

The European Year for Development 2015 was initiated by the European Commission, in order to raise awareness about development cooperation, and inspire people to get involved. You can find out more at the European Year for Development website and join in the online discussion of #EYD2015.

Overall winners of the photo competition have been announced

First place in the competition went to the initiative ‘Protege tu Mangle’, which is dedicated to protecting mangrove forests in Corinto, Nicaragua. The trees provide the local people with firewood for cooking and timber for building houses, but until recently, this usage was not very sustainable. The initiative ran an awareness campaign, with which it achieved some early successes for the protection of this important ecosystem. The prize money is to be used for the reforestation of the mangrove forests.

Coming second was the project ‘CAROKISSEN – Sozial im Quadrat’ in Mannheim, which produces small and colourful cotton cushions in social centres for mentally ill and disabled people, working under fair conditions. The project ensures the environmentally sound choice of the textiles it uses, as well as the packaging. Moreover, for every cushion sold online, one euro is donated to AMALIE, a counselling centre for female prostitutes. The project will use its prize money to purchase a new sewing machine.

Third prize has been awarded to the campaign ‘Dein T-Shirt reist um die Welt’ (‘Your t-shirt travels the world’). Three students form Cologne brought together a group of German school children and young Nicaraguans to tell the story of a t-shirt – from the cotton harvest and textile manufacture, right through to the final upcycling. The aim is to sensitise the young people and prompt them to address issues critically, while also encouraging inter-cultural exchanges. The prize money will be used to fund events for multipliers.

Other examples of voluntary commitment from Germany

The other finalists included the GloW-Team, a group of four young students and graduates who want to design and produce energy-saving stoves as self-build kits for developing countries. This is intended to help people live better and healthier lives, while at the same time contributing to climate protection.

The charitable film agency FairFilm is run by ten film producers and photographers, whose idea is to help international social and ecological projects win over new supporters and sponsors.

Under the motto ‘One ball, one world’, the ‘Spirit of Football’ association in Erfurt organises workshops and school projects. Supported by Senda Athletics as their global partner, they run games using fair-trade footballs made under equitable working conditions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

All photos entered in the ‘Get involved!’ competition are to be presented in a public gallery that can be accessed online at mitmachen.ej2015.de. There, you can find many more examples of Germans’ voluntary work, both in Germany and around the world.

As part of our focus topic ‘initiate.participate.change.’, our #MissionResponsible competition invited Germany-Alumni to showcase their commitment to better cooperation and a more sustainable future on the Alumniportal.


June 2015

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