Brandt School Universität Erfurt

Commitment Award

Willy Brandt himself represented social change, which was reflected in his social and political reforms. He believed that policies serve no purpose if the policy makers did not have a specific goal in mind when creating it. Thus, in the multicultural and diverse setting of the Brandt School, the Commitment Award seeks to give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned at the Brandt School and to initiate new social initiatives here in Erfurt and around the world.

Three winning projects are chosen at the annual award ceremony in Erfurt. Any student currently enrolled or alumni from the Brandt School may submit an application, but a two-year cool-down phase applies to previous winners of the Award. This year's award ceremony will be streamed online via Facebook page or YouTube Channel on July 9, 2020 at 6pm. Applications were to be submitted between April 1st and May 15th.

A jury of experts carefully evaluates the applications while considering the following questions: How charitable is the project? How much potential and sustainability is incorporated into the project? Will the prize money be used responsibly and effectively? Is the project likely to be actualized?

The jury consists of various members from politics, civil society and the private sector. The 2019 jury members were Marufa Akter, first winner of the Commitment Award, Robert Burdy, Shibumi Leadership Academy and MDR, Michael Dirkx, Schmitz-Stiftungen, Dirk Wegler, TheX, and Anna-Lena Winkler of the Haniel Foundation.

The Engagementpreis Foundation has been sponsoring the Commitment Award at the Brandt School since 2012. We also thank our partners, the foundation Town and Country Stiftung and the Universitätsgesellschaft Erfurt e.V. for their generous support of the award ceremony.

Further information on the last years projects and how they were actualized can be found on facebook as well as on the award's website:

Commitment Award Winners

The 2019 winners

1st Prize: Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedo
“Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub” (Ghana)

Ni Otto Dodoo and Anthony Dogbedo, first-year students at the Brandt School, and their project “Knowledge is Power: The Reading Hub”, seek to support the children living in the Budumburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. The project aims to provide the platform for students to develop, strength-en and sustain their interest for reading and general studies, improve their mathematic skills and receive assistance with schoolwork. The project also seeks to reduce child prostitution, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, drug abuse and ‘streetism’ in the refugee camp.

2nd Prize: Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano
Communitarian-Fabric “Tierra Verde” (Ecuador)

Ecuadorian women, especially young women, single mothers and those of African descent, face outstanding unemployment rates. First-year student Sofia Vanessa Hernández Zambrano`s project “Communitarian Fabric ‘Tierra Verde’” aims to offer an opportunity for social economic productive groups (Asociaciones EPS) consisting of Afro-descendent women and/or single mothers to start their own entrepreneurial initiatives by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and support.

3rd Prize: Tamara Puerto
“Edu-Sex” (Colombia)

Second-year student Tamara Puerto’s project “Edu-Sex” seeks to combat gender inequality and the lack of sex education in Colombia. The project aim is to design, prepare, implement, evaluate and disseminate the results of a set of workshops, study modules and conferences with schools and universities in Colombia on topics related to sex and gender, gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights and diversity.



The 2018 winners

1st Prize: Nabeela Khalid Pervez, Muhammad Usman Khan and Muhammad Arslan Yaseen (Pakistan)

“Har Bacha Mehfooz (Every Child’s Safety)”: The project aims to curb child abuse in Pakistan by equipping 315 head teachers and Assistant Education Officers (AEOs) with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The teachers and AEOs will in turn share their knowledge with 2700 teaching staff, and each teacher will then further train school children up to grade 8, meaning over 30000 school children would benefit in total.

2nd Prize: Ibrahim Koita and Amos Edem Agbenyo (Ghana)

“Water is Life”: The project seeks to provide safe and potable drinking water to the people of Kramokrom by commissioning an ultra-modern mechanized borehole with a reservoir and five taps. Clean drinking water prevents the spread of water-related diseases and reduces the amount of time spent fetching water, meaning school attendance rates could increase.

3rd Prize: Maria Brackin, Hendrik Hebel, Richard Henahan, Rubén León and Aaron Sandoval (Thuringia, Germany)

"Sharing Living Project": The project aims to promote intergenerational interaction through shared living in Erfurt. The project seeks to bring together students struggling to find affordable housing and elderly people who face challenges living alone by creating a centralized online platform to match needs with capabilities.



The 2017 winners

1st prize: Johny Hilaire and Margarette Pierre-Louis (Haiti)

“Goat Breeding for Entrepreneurship”: Our 2018 Commitment Award winners developed a project with which they plan to empower young residents of Vialet, Haiti. Their goat breeding program seeks to reduce poverty in the area by providing an initial 50 goats among the citizens. Since animal husbandry is the most secured economic activity in Vialet, the citizens will have a solid basis on which to build a sustainable and self-sufficient economic future.

2nd prize: Muhammad Usman Khan (Pakistan)

“Mera Vote – Mera Mustaquil” (“My Vote – My Future”): By tackling the issues of illiteracy, lack of awareness, patriarchal norms and a lack of civic programs, second year MPP student Muhammad and his project will advocate for women’s voting rights in the village of Gagh of District Kushab, Pakistan. The main objective of the project is to empower women to participate in the next general elections.

3rd prize: Matenjay Sheriff and Abraham Keita (Liberia)

“The Ballon Dieu Football Club”: The football club aims to boost the moral and community spirit in the community of Gbanjor by fostering participation in sports among men and women of all ages and thus encouraging community building and healthy living.


The 2016 winners

1st prize: Daniar Matikanov, Aiperi Otunchieva, and Batybek Alymkulov (Kyrgysztan)

“Water for Small-scale Farmers” - As a result of climate change and due to the alteration of rainfall patterns, rain-fed agriculture at Shybran village in south Kyrgyzstan is under risk. Improved technology for rainwater harvesting will be the key to adapt to these changes. Our winners present practical solutions for efficient water use in the absence of water system infrastructure in rural areas. They state that even with annual precipitation levels lower than 300 mm, it is possible to ensure rain-fed agriculture.

2nd prize: Harini Suresh (India)

"Save our Future" - First-year MPP student Harini aims to spread awareness about the issue of child sexual abuse in the city of Chennai, India. Fellows at schools would be provided with a complete set of lesson plans breaking down this complex issue into simpler units that would explain everything to a child.

3rd prize: Grigoriy Grigoryev (USA/Russia) and Jafar Terciano Binasse (Mozambique)

“Computer School in Sub-Saharan Village in Mozambique” - They created a project that is dedicated to the development of computer skills for the young inhabitants of the Marrupa community, in Mozambique. They would like to create an inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer school, where local kids can learn to use computers. Eventually, they’ll be able to learn to code and create programs; as the computers would be running Open Source Software.


The 2015 winners

1st prize: Jessie Jhon Mateo-Magkilat (Philippines) and Hannah Yan-Wai Saley (Canada)

Their project "Reading on Wheels" aims at improving street children’s life by bringing the joy of reading to children in the street of the Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro. The prize money helped to to purchase little trollies and books. Volunteers from Cagayan de Oro-based Xavier University go to the streets and read stories to the kids. For their project, the winners benefited from the Brandt School’s global Alumni network: Manilee Pañares, MPP student in Erfurt from 2012 to 2014, works at Xavier University and supports the idea strongly.

2nd prize: Theresia Nkafu Atemkeng (Cameroon)

The project "Shelter to Educate" provides a two years accommodation and school fee support to three women between 18 and 25 years from rural communities in the Buea region by implementing a special housing model, where coaching and mentoring by the landlord is already part of the educational process.

3rd prize: George Ayuune Akeliwira (Ghana)

The project "Giving Hope to Hopeless Tomatoes Farmers of Zorko" supports farmers in the North of Ghana by providing water pumps to the rural community of Zorko, where more than 90 percent of the population is depending on agriculture and water supply is a big problem in the dry season.



The 2014 winners

1st Prize: Julia Oestreich (Germany)

Julia's project “Weaving for Independence” is based in Sri Lanka and works with the Selyn Foundation. The main idea of her project focuses on empowering women by providing the opportunities and skills necessary to start sustainable textile businesses.

2nd Prize: Krishna Giri (Nepal)

Krishna's project aims to provide safe drinking water for school children in Nepal.

3rd Prize: Steve Wakhu (Kenya)

Steve's project “Adopt a Girl” aims to create equal opportunities for girls in schools by disrupting social stigmas regarding sexual health. Although Steve was unable to attend the ceremony, Nora Böggemann accepted the award on Steve’s behalf.




Commitment Award Team 


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