Hear it from: Project Lead for the Education in Emergencies University Challenge

Recently, the innovationXchange announced the Education in Emergencies University Challenge, which will run in partnership with Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth run organisation. The Education in Emergencies University Challenge is an exciting opportunity for young people to create and share ideas that tackle the issue of providing quality education for students in emergency settings.

Rose O’Leary

Currently, 75 million school aged children are not receiving an education because they live in a crisis-affected area. This may be the direct result of a natural disaster or conflict. Communities may have been displaced, or their school may have been destroyed. These situations create a lack of opportunity to obtain a quality education, and this can have a lasting impact on a young person and their future.

We believe that university students have a unique perspective on this issue and can provide a really important insight into what it takes to maintain or create a suitable environment for quality education in an emergency setting. That’s why Oaktree teamed up with the innovationXchange to run the Education in Emergencies University Challenge – to champion the ideas of young people and make lasting change.

We are looking for ideas in their concept phase and we want to work with finalists to improve their ideas before inviting them to live-pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. This opportunity is invaluable to young people in Australia and we’re really excited to be leading it.

My role as Project Lead for the Education in Emergencies University Challenge is to manage a team of three people. Together we’ve been working to make this Challenge happen. Fundamentally that includes work on university outreach, social media engagement and all the other logistical tasks that come up along the way, such as running design sprints in universities around the country.

On 17 September, submissions will close and our panel of experts (made up of incredible sectoral experts from organisations such as Engineers Without Borders, UN Youth and Solar Buddy) will be judging the top submissions, providing feedback and then narrowing the applications down to the top six. These six people or teams will then be trained in pitching, before further developing their ideas with a member of our expert panel. We’ll then fly them to Canberra to present their ideas to the innovationXchange!

We are currently running design sprints around the country. These involve a collaborative process where students workshop their ideas in a team. Initial ideas are developed, challenged and refined, before being pitched to the audience. I’ve been lucky enough to attend and facilitate all of these and there have been some game-changing ideas developed in that space. Young people are really passionate about being at the forefront of global issues like this one and being able to have an input has been an invaluable opportunity for many.

Promoting this challenge has been a whirlwind, and we’re loving every minute of it. Considering that Oaktree are continually working to champion the ideas of young people, this challenge has been a perfect partnership and project for our organisation to be a part of.

We’re also learning a lot from working with the innovationXchange on such a valuable project. The skills we will take away from this program will be highly beneficial for the work we do at Oaktree in the future.

About the author:

Rose O’Leary, the Project Lead for the Education in Emergencies Challenge at Oaktree, has been the driving force behind the strategy and training involved in the challenge. When Rose isn’t busy working on this project at Oaktree, she’s managing the Oaktree state fundraising teams or she’s studying for her Bachelor of Health Promotion and Public Health at Deakin University.

Rose O’Leary with Oaktree’s Outgoing Head of International Engagement, Rachael Nunn

Keep up-to-date on the Education in Emergencies Challenge on Twitter:


Comments 2

  1. Hi there! I am almost done with my proposal and will be submitting it before the deadline. I wish to confirm that international students are also allowed to pitch their proposals.

    Thank you.

    1. Post

      Hi Aarushi, thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, the Education in Emergencies University Challenge is only open to students based in Australia. Please keep an eye out for future challenges, as most of our programs are open to all countries.

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