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Aid Pioneers awarded for innovative humanitarian efforts

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Aid Pioneers awarded for innovative humanitarian efforts
The event was presented by the Hamburg Initiative for Human Rights (HIM) | Photo: Volker Renner

Aid Pioneers, a young NGO committed to making a difference in low- and middle-income countries, has been awarded the prestigious 2024 HIM Award for their humanitarian efforts throughout the past year. Presented by the Hamburg Initiative for Human Rights (HIM), this award recognizes individuals, organizations, and initiatives that go above and beyond in upholding, protecting, and promoting human rights.

Founded by a group of passionate humanitarians, Aid Pioneers believes in harnessing the potential of local, on-the-ground visionaries already leading effective initiatives within their communities. With a strong understanding of their community’s unique needs, local leaders are well-equipped to launch projects with profound and lasting impacts. Yet, they often lack crucial resources for their work, like medical or solar equipment. Aid Pioneers serves as a bridge maker by connecting global corporations, volunteers and donors with local organizations to supercharge local changemakers’ impact without pushing them out of the driver’s seat.

Julian Adler, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Aid Pioneers, emphasizes the importance of collaboration and connections. “Aid Pioneers aims to create lasting impact by leveraging local structures in crisis areas, steering away from implementing external solutions devoid of a deep understanding of the local context,” says Adler. They have created a lean, efficient method for enacting change by channeling global resources to the most effective local initiatives. “Our objective is to enhance the effectiveness of the non-profit sector by opening it up to any corporation, donor or volunteer eager to contribute, emphasizing collaborative international efforts that resonate with our local partners, rather than imposing our own,” continues Adler. 

Aid Pioneer’s key strategy is investing in locally-led initiatives because local visionaries understand the unique needs of their communities, leading to a more profound and lasting impact. Their partnership with Tuyoor Al Amal, a local organization in northern Lebanon, is an excellent example of how these projects bear strong local buy-in and thrive even after global attention has shifted to new crises. In this case, the school faced significant energy expenses and unreliable electricity supply challenges. Aid Pioneers stepped in to help supply schools and hospitals with affordable solar systems, ensuring the community’s right to education and healthcare.

Aid Pioneers: non-profit organization is promoting sustainable development across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East | Photo: Volker Renner

Aid Pioneers’ collaborative approach has yielded remarkable results, with the value of goods and services provided to local visionaries increasing fivefold, surging from $1 million in 2022 to an impressive $5 million in 2023. These achievements include vital medical supplies shipments to conflict areas and the installation of solar power systems in partner organizations grappling with energy crises.

Prof. Dr. Susanna Hegewish-Becker, the founder of HIM, applauds Aid Pioneers’ innovative approach.

“Their way of working is courageous, intelligent, and unconventional and is therefore more effective than the often outdated methods used by established organizations,” says Dr. Hegewish-Becker.

As they move forward, Aid Pioneers remains dedicated to creating sustainable development across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, aiming to unlock healthcare, education, and gender equality for communities most in need. Their ongoing commitment to creating meaningful change through supporting local leaders and fostering collaboration is increasingly gaining recognition. Aid Pioneers serves as a shining example of the profound impact a team driven by passion, dedication, and persistence can achieve.

I am a Canadian copywriter and marketing consultant that seeks to help business owners and entrepreneurs attain their goals and reach their targeted communities. I am also an avid traveler and book enthusiast.

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EU awards recognize citizen science initiatives

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EU awards recognize citizen science initiatives
CoAct for Mental Health won a €20,000 Digital Communities Prize

The winners of the EU 2024 Prize for Citizen Science have been announced this week. Citizen science – the general public engagement in scientific research activities – contributes to a vibrant civil society and is getting increasingly popular with Europeans.

Out of the 288 applications, three citizen science initiatives received the main prizes and 27 were recognised with honorary mentions. 

The winners are:

  • The ‘Grand Prize’, worth €60,000, goes to the EU-funded INCREASE  project for its outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge on seed preservation through the empowerment of civil society and citizens, in particular from rural areas.
  • The Digital Communities prize, worth€20,000, is given to the Horizon 2020 project CoAct for Mental Health for its use of digital technologies to develop a personalised approach and improve the quality of life for people facing mental health problems.
  • The Diversity & Collaboration prize, worth €20,000, is given to SeaPaCS_Participatory Citizen Science against Marine Pollution for producing transformative knowledge that filled the existing cognitive and emotional gap between society and the sea.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

“I warmly congratulate the winners of this year’s EU Citizen Science Award, but would also like to commend all participants. Your initiatives address some of our most pressing challenges and showcase the transformative potential of citizen science. They improve the excellence and impact of our research, and also deepen the relationship and trust between science and our societies.”

The winners have been selected by an independent jury of five experts. Two of the three winners of the main prizes are projects funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s previous research and innovation programme (2014-2020). The third winner involves both a former and a current Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellow.

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Young filmmakers get a boost from Netflix and Polish Producers’ Alliance

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Young filmmakers get a boost from Netflix and Polish Producers’ Alliance
Netflix funded scholarships enabling young filmmakers to participate in the annual Film Spring Open workshops  in Kraków | Photo: Samantha Borges

The film and television industry is not only an exciting creative journey, but can also be a fascinating choice as a professional career. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for young people that are about to enter the labor market to know how to embark on this career path.

In a recent survey conducted by the Polish Producers’ Alliance – KIPA, nearly 90% of young people indicated that lack of connections makes it difficult for them to start in the film industry. Another barrier can be the fact of living outside the main urban centers and the lack of specialized education in secondary schools. The lack of new cadres and employees entering into the Polish film industry is quickly becoming a growing challenge for those creating films and series – the number of productions in Poland is growing dynamically from year to year. According to the Olsberg SPI report prepared for KIPA, the Polish film industry already creates an equivalent of 21,000 full time jobs each year.

That’s why last year, Netflix and KIPA launched the “Film Your Future” project, addressed to young people from various regions of Poland who are thinking about a career in the film industry. During the 2-day summer workshops, 136 people aged 18-26 from seven voivodeships learned the secrets of working on a film set, what are the various professions in the industry, and also worked on their very own film production. For the most committed workshop participants, Netflix funded scholarships enabling them to participate in a week-long event – the annual Film Spring Open workshops  in Kraków.

“For me, the “Film Your Future” project was certainly an extraordinary event that changed my view of the film industry and the opportunities it offers by 180 degrees. (…) From a person who considered the film industry to be a kind of unattainable environment for me, I have reached the point where I know what doors to open and I am already taking the first steps towards it,” says Mikołaj, 20 years old, from Bochnia about his experience participating in the workshop.

The positive reception of the workshops, giving young people not only the opportunity, but also the knowledge and skills for a better start in the film industry, led Netflix to continue its partnership with the Polish Producers’ Alliance. 

This year, the streaming giant will be reopening the door to a professional career in the production of films and TV series thanks to the second edition of the “Film Your Future” program. This time, during the upcoming summer holidays, the workshops will be held in the following voivodeships: Podlaskie, Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Świętokrzyskie, Opolskie, Lubuskie and Wielkopolskie. The program is held under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

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£125,000 in grants awarded to UK creatives to support careers in screen arts

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A man filming a scene with a ginger girl indoors
Emerging creative from low socio-economic backgrounds are amongst the talent receiving bursaries.

BAFTA announced over £125,000 in grants have been awarded to 69 talented creatives to support their career development in the screen arts.  

This year, grants of up to £2,000 each have been made available to 58 emerging creatives including production assistants, costumer designers, writers, game designers, and camera and sound trainees to help them progress in their respective crafts. The grants will go towards essential costs such as driving lessons, specialist equipment, training and relocation costs that might otherwise lock talented people out of a screen arts career.  

The Prince William BAFTA Bursary scheme is named in honour of BAFTA’s President. Kickstarted with the support of film director Paul Greengrass, it is now in its fourth year.

For the first time, BAFTA is also awarding grants to individuals who have been forcibly displaced in collaboration with the Refugee Journalism Project. £30,000 in funding has been awarded to 11 recipients including journalists, editors, directors and videographers.  

The Refugee Journalism Project builds on BAFTA’s recent work with Counterpoint Arts – highlighting the importance of authentic portrayals of refugees on-screen, including recent events with BAFTA award-winning filmmaker and activist Hassan Akkad, a masterclass with BAFTA award-winning director Waad al-Kateab, and ‘Introduction to Filmmaking’ workshops with Deadbeat Films. 

Supporting the next generation of talent is an essential part of our mission. The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund is a fantastically effective way to kick-start careers, particularly for those who face socio and economic inequality. The bursaries are transformative for career starters, enabling them to buy an essential piece of kit, secure training, or in some cases it’s as simple as getting driving lessons so they can get to set! There is no shortage of potential in our workforce. Unfortunately, the opportunity to act on that potential is all too often limited by financial barriers. So, I’m delighted to continue The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund, thanks to our incredibly generous network of donors and supporters,” says Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA.

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