The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has launched the second edition of the DBSA Youth Challenge. The competition is aimed at harnessing innovative solutions from young people in South Africa to address infrastructure challenges.
About the Youth Challenge
People between ages 18 and 35 are encouraged to submit infrastructure development ideas for the competition. These ideas will then be considered for funding and implementation. It’s important to note that the ideas need to align with the DBSA’s key sectors; transport, housing and human settlements, ICT, water and sanitation, and energy and education.
Finalist entries will be eligible for funding worth a total of R1.5m, and also be awarded with a 12-month mentorship programme to assist with the execution of their ideas. For entries to be qualified they must be original, not entered into another competition, innovative, accessible, and feasible to implement. Additionally, entries have to be in the ideation stage and not prototyped. Submissions are open from 28 April to 31 July 2021. The final winner will be announced during September 2021.
Sebolo Matsoso, the head of communications and marketing at DBSA, said, “The emergence of Covid-19 has shown some cracks in the infrastructure endowment of many countries, including South Africa, highlighting the urgency of the need for meaningful solutions. The DBSA Youth Challenge is one of the many ways the bank is inviting young people to participate and help make a difference to these challenges in their own communities.”
Kekeletso Tsiloane was winner of the first edition of the DBSA Youth Challenge. Her idea was a housing and human settlements concept which centred on manufacturing composite bricks made from recycled plastic, sand, and proprietary additives. These elements ensured the blocks were strong, durable, and fire retardant. The process only uses plastic waste, which allowed for the indirect employment of waste pickers.
Zuko Mandlakazi came in second place for the first edition. The idea was an ICT sector implement; a soundwave sensor-embedded product which assists deaf people in being more alert to life-saving sounds.
Lebogang Joy Leshabane and Francois de Beer tied for third place in the first edition. Leshabane’s idea was in water and sanitation; a biogas purification system which produced high grade methane from sewage treatment plants. De Beer’s idea for the energy sector was a solar tracking kit which can be retrofitted to any existing solar installation.
Matsoso said, “The competition is a great spring board for young people to explore and package their innovative ideas and use them to participate in the economy at scale. This is a key driver for the DBSA hence the competition has been developed to ensure ample guidance, mentorship and support for the winner and finalists.”
Those who are interested in the competition can go to the website for more information and to submit entries.