The awards ceremony of the “University of Ideas” competition 2022 was held on the 18th of January 2023, as part of the iN4iN Conference organized by the SEPT Competence Center, Leipzig University. The Ideas competition seeks to identify innovative ideas, large and small, that can stimulate the development of the topics of digital tools/formats in education, university-business linkages, and career enhancement in the context of improving employability through universities in the Global South. This year’s competition was organized as a collaboration between the ACCESS project and iN4iN with support from the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD), the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Conoscope Resulting Group.

The topic of the Ideas Competition 2022 was “Service Learning as an educational approach to improving the employability of students and graduates of HEIs”. The competition received 76 submissions from participants in universities across Africa, Asia, and South America for consideration. Eight of them were shortlisted as finalists after the pre-final selection evaluation was completed. The final evaluation was done by a team of esteemed international jury members comprising Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger (Leipzig University, Germany), Prof. Noor Un Nabi Md (Khulna University, Bangladesh), Dr. Rabeb Blaiech (ENET’Com, University of Sfax, Tunisia) and Dr. Henry Yatich (Mount Kenya University, Kenya). After further evaluation, these three winning ideas were selected and awarded:

  1. GEMS – Applying Service Learning in an MBA Entrepreneurship Project to promote meaningful service to Nelson Mandela Bay’s survivalist businesses: This idea was developed by Dr. Sasha Boucher of the Nelson Mandela University Business School in South Africa, to improve the skills of survivalist businesses and make them more sustainable. The project would integrate service learning into MBA Entrepreneurship elective courses to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The project would give opportunities for students to offer business consulting services to survivalist businesses in the Nelson Mandela Bay community in South Africa. This project will benefit the local economy by assisting survivalist businesses to become more stable with some scalability. Students who will be engaged in this project would also gain practical work experience through service learning thereby improving their employability after graduating from the MBA program.
    Watch the idea presentation video: GEMS Presentation Video
  2. Incorporating Garbage Sorting into the Internship Program at Businesses: Project for the 4th Year Students at Thuylol University, Vietnam by Huong Nguyen Thi. The idea aims to train students in waste sorting at the source within an internship program with enterprises in Vietnam. As an ideal outcome, students will benefit from this project in terms of expert knowledge and skills acquisition in waste management solutions thereby improving their employability. Also, enterprises that receive students as interns can be more aware of environmental protection by separating waste to demonstrate corporate social responsibilities towards communities. To reduce environmental pollution in Vietnam, the idea of waste separation at source is the first step to promote waste minimization, recycling, and recovery.
    Watch the idea presentation video: Incorporating Garbage Sorting Presentation Video
  3. Virtual Public Health Student Exchange Program by Rose Macharia, Dr. Joseph Muchiri, and Dr. Japheths Ogendi of Mount Kenya University: 
    This is a joint project by Mount Kenya University (MKU) in Kenya and Mount Kenya University in Kigali, Rwanda. The idea aims to create E-Mentorship opportunities for undergraduate students in the School of Public Health at Mount Kenya University in Kenya and Rwanda. The project seeks to connect students to lecturers and industry practitioners in the field of Public Health. Through the E-mentorship program, technology will be employed to facilitate student engagement by empowering them to learn through in-service learning for practical skills acquisition. Students will carry out community diagnoses to identify key public health problems at the community level. With the support of mentors from industry and academia, students will propose solutions to the problems identified in the communities. The project would contribute significantly towards solving public health problems identified in communities in Rwanda and Kenya. Again, the project would improve the employability of students through networking opportunities and industrial collaborations.
    Watch the idea presentation video: Virtual Public Health Student Exchange Program Presentation Video

The three winning ideas will receive 1.000 EUR each to support further development and implementation of the ideas. Also, where possible, the ideas would be considered for integration into ongoing or new activities within the iN4iN network.

For more information about the University of Ideas Competition, please visit:

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