It’s not my first year of knowing about the Stockholm Challenge, but this year marks a difference. For maybe the first time, I took the time to look at the history of the challenge earlier in 2005 — and wondered why Nigerian and African projects were not popular in the “winners’ circle” or the entire project’s database.
According to the project website, “The Stockholm Challenge is a networking programme for organisations and individuals who are involved in development work, using information and communication technology, ICT, to improve peopleÂ´s living conditions and their communities. A main feature in the programme is the international ICT competition, the Stockholm Challenge Award. Prizes in different categories were handed out for the first time in 1997 and the program has run for almost ten years”. Beyond that, it speaks about winning entries: “To be a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Award is victory in itself â€“ the best projects get international recognition and promotion by being showcased both at the Awards Event, in the Challenge newsletter and on the website. The jury, a group of highly respected international experts evaluate all competing projects and select the finalist in each category. These projects are considered of such excellence that they qualify for the final round; the selection of the winners.”
While I was considering how to get the news out to ma people (here in Nigeria and across Africa), I got an email from the Stockholm Challenge office. The message was simple, “would you like to be our champion, helping get the news to other projects within your networks”. Your guess on my answer can’t be wrong… and that explains why I’ve joined forces with other projects and individuals as a Stockholm Challenge Champion for the 2006 competition — with six categories (Public Administration, Culture, Health, Education, Economic Development, and Environment).