MTN, WWF announce African PachiPanda Challenge

MTN, WWF announce African PachiPanda Challenge

Building on the success of an initiative in Zambia to encourage young people to come up with ideas to address unsustainable environmental practices, MTN Group and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today announced the Africa PachiPanda Challenge. This extends the organisations’ joint initiative to four more countries on the continent.

On the sidelines of COP28, MTN Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo met with the Zambia Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu who said the local initiative had been a great success and included some first-of-a-kind projects in Zambia: “The Challenge has been a significant milestone in driving tangible solutions to address sustainable and lasting climate solutions in Zambia. The type of initiatives – such as waste-to-electricity plants – which have emerged from the Challenge has been noteworthy. We now need to focus on scaling the programme and ensuring we support these businesses in a meaningful way.”

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To attract new ideas to address challenges, increase conservation awareness and create a more sustainable Zambia, MTN Zambia and WWF Zambia launched the PachiPanda Challenge in 2022 and held it again this year. Attracting more than 1 500 applicants, the events invited young Zambians and SMEs to submit their solutions to a number of ‘challenge statements’. These included:

How might we leverage technology to ensure the benefits of conservation and sustainability practices are communicated to people of different ages, backgrounds and locations?
How do we use technology to address conservation challenges?
In what way can we develop environmentally friendly alternatives to existing unsustainable practices?
How might we develop and encourage the use of sustainable energy alternatives?

“We are proud to have birthed an innovative Initiative out of Zambia that evidently supports Youth-led small Businesses in the Climate Space that creates green jobs in a green economy.” MTN Zambia Foundation Chairperson, Rose Sibisi.

“Through the Zambia PachiPanda Challenge, which is now transitioning into an African challenge, we believe that sustainable innovations key to addressing the pressing environmental issues facing our continent will be developed,” said Nachilala Nkombo, Country Director, WWF Zambia.

The Challenge will now expand to include four more countries – Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda – and will be open to applications from young people (aged 16-35) and youth-led SMEs with early-stage or idea-stage solutions to the environmental challenges presented.

“The Zambia PachiPanda Challenge, run by MTN Zambia Foundation and WWF Zambia, was an absolute success in the first two years, and we believe the initiative brought about meaningful and sustainable projects that have the potential to transform disadvantaged communities for the better,” said Evelyn Mwamubiru-Mwaura, Country Offices Project Quality Director, WWF Africa.

Morafo echoed these sentiments, saying: “MTN Group and WWF are committed to fostering innovation and sustainability in Africa and leveraging technology to achieve that. This challenge is an opportunity for African innovators to contribute to their communities and the wider continent, creating solutions that address environmental and social issues.”

The Africa PachiPanda Challenge, which is set to be launched in 2024, is more than a competition; it is a platform for change. It aims to inspire participants to think beyond conventional boundaries, develop solutions that address immediate challenges, and contribute to the long-term sustainability of their communities.