Enterprise Solutions to Poverty Contest
The Peace Corps Community’s Enterprise Solutions to Poverty Essay Contest
April 2011 – Washington, DC – The National Peace Corps Association and the SEVEN Fund sponsored a global competition inviting the submission of essays that describe innovative ideas for fighting poverty. The winning author received $5,000, is featured in the fall 2011 issue of WorldView magazine, and was a special guest The Promise of the Peace Corps Gala during the four-day weekend of events for the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps.
Why this topic?
If the president proposed a program today that was cost-effective, inspired public service, trained Americans for 21st century jobs, strengthened our interests abroad, countered anti-American propaganda and had bipartisan support, we would consider it miraculous. Yet, we already have a program that does all those things: Peace Corps. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy that established the Peace Corps.
In today’s interconnected world we need to know how the world really works, especially in developing countries where there are myriad emerging business opportunities. One of the Peace Corps’ greatest strengths is it serves as a 21st century job-training program. It provides the kind of training in language, adaptability, working in foreign cultures that simply can’t be taught in business school because to truly understand the world you have to live as others do, seeing the world as they do.
As a result, the Peace Corps also fosters social entrepreneurs. By necessity, volunteers are entrepreneurial because they often work independently or in small groups in areas where there are limited resources and weak government services, forcing volunteers to be creative and self-motivated in devising innovative solutions to problems. Figuring out how to provide a remote village with drinkable water with limited resources is a challenge that has a lot more in common with running a shoestring Internet startup than you would think.
What unique hands-on experiences and knowledge doing microenterprise work can current and returned Peace Corps volunteers offer to the larger development and business communities?
The essay contest
The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and SEVEN invite writers to submit essays exploring first person experiences with small enterprise development solutions to poverty in the developing world. Former and present Peace Corps volunteers are strongly encouraged to apply. Essays should highlight personal grassroots efforts and successes that can serve as models for creating prosperity around the world. We welcome and encourage papers that approach this topic through the lens of diverse cultural, religious, philosophical, technical, and academic traditions, as our goal is to assemble a collection of essays that is definitive both in breadth and depth.
Solutions to poverty require innovative technology and communications, greater attention to women, increased job generation and the promotion of sustainable grassroots efforts. We invite authors to share their first person accounts of enterprise solutions to poverty and the topics above.
SEVEN and NPCA will award a grand prize of $5,000 to one essay. The best piece will be featured in WorldView magazine and the winning author(s) will be introduced at the September 24, 2011 “Conversations: The Future of the Peace Corps Global Leaders” panel. The author(s) will also receive a ticket tothe “Promise of the Peace Corps” Gala in Washington, DC and will be publicly acknowledged in the program. The essay will be given top publicity on the National Peace Corps Association website and in NPCA and SEVEN Fund e-communications.
What are we looking for?
Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges, in relation to the following criteria:
- an engaging hook or premise;
- a clearly defined agenda or thesis;
- emotional appeal;
- compelling data;
- well-crafted arguments;
- robust discussion; and
- a powerful close.
Submitted essays should be 750-1200 words and will be accepted from April 15 – July 31, 2011. Note: This competition is now closed and no longer accepting entries.
Models for the essays sought in this competition may be found in the recently published collection, In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty (Templeton Press, May 2009, www.intherivertheyswim.com).
Questions and AnswersWhat is the essay topic?
The essay topic is this:
“Solutions to poverty require innovative technology and communications, greater attention to women, increased job generation and the promotion of sustainable grassroots efforts. We invite authors to share their first person accounts of enterprise solutions to poverty and the topics above.”
We encourage essays that address this question through the lens of any cultural, religious, philosophical, and academic tradition. The question may be considered from personal, social, economic, political, or religious points of view.Who can participate in this competition?
The SEVEN Fund and NPCA essay contest is open to everyone. We welcome authors from all fields, disciplines, and professions. We encourage contributions from nations and peoples around the world.How do I submit my essay?
Your essay must be submitted electronically in an MS Word or PDF format only via email with subject header “SEVEN Fund Essay Contest submission”. All information requested, including contact information, abstract, and essay should be included in a single document.
The email address for submission is:
Every essay must, in addition to the actual essay, add a 100 word abstract at the beginning of the document that includes:
- Contact information: your full name and mailing address, a contact telephone number, and your email;
- A brief, one-paragraph biography of each author, including your Peace Corps country and years of service (if applicable)
Note: Submission of an essay is considered consent to be published, if selected.Why have SEVEN and NPCA selected the short essay format for this competition?
We believe that the short essay format is a powerful and underutilized mechanism in development thinking. It is a versatile medium that requires succinct, insightful writing that can be published in multiple venues.How long should the essay be?
Essays should be greater than 750 words and should not exceed 1,200 words and must be written in English. (This word limit does not include the 100 words allowed for the Abstract, any sources, or footnotes.)How will essays be judged?
A panel of judges will evaluate and rank the essays according to the criteria described in the call for essays. Winning authors will be required to enter into a contract with NPCA prior to receiving the final award.What is the prize?
SEVEN and NPCA will award a grand prize of $5,000 to one essay. The best piece will be featured in WorldView magazine and the winning author(s) will be introduced at the September 24, 2011 “Conversations: The Future of the Peace Corps Global Leaders” panel. The author(s) will also receive a ticket to the “Promise of the Peace Corps” Gala in Washington, DC and will be publicly acknowledged in the program. The essay will be given top publicity on the National Peace Corps Association website and in NPCA and SEVEN Fund e-communications.Can I submit multiple essays?
No, each author may submit only one essay.Can I collaborate with another author?
You may decide to submit an essay together with another author, but the prize money is per essay, not per author. Prize money will be disbursed equally among multiple authors. SEVEN especially welcomes teams from different disciplines, as we believe that integration across domains provides the greatest insight into complex global problems.What if I am unable to submit my application electronically?
Only applications submitted via email will be accepted. If you encounter problems, please contact NPCA.How is this essay competition financed?
This call for essays is supported by a generous grant from the The SEVEN Fund and is under the management of the National Peace Corps Association.What if I have additional questions?
Please send any additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Announcement: April 15, 2011
Deadline for Submissions: July 31, 2011
Selection of Finalists: September 2011
The Small Enterprise Panel: September 24, 2011
Announcement of the prize-winner will be made at the “Conversations: The Future of the Peace Corps Global Leaders” panel on September 24, 2011.
Terms & Conditions
The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) has sole and absolute discretion to determine which submission entries, if any, merit an award. NPCA reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to change, modify, extend or reduce the terms and conditions of, or to suspend or terminate, the competition without prior notice. NPCA will endeavor to inform participants of any such change, modification, extension, reduction, suspension or termination, as the case may be, through any media outlet deemed appropriate by NPCA in its sole and absolute discretion. NPCA further reserves the right to nullify and/or cancel any part or all of the competition if it appears that any fraud or malfunctions have occurred in any form whatsoever. Each participant undertakes to indemnify and keep NPCA and SEVEN harmless from and against any loss, damage, claims, costs and expenses which may be incurred by or asserted against NPCA and/or SEVEN as a result of such participant’s participation in the competition. NPCA reserves the right to edit, copyedit, or modify any submission. Submission of an essay comprises permission for NPCA and SEVEN to publish the contents in any form it deems appropriate, including but not limited to, its website, newsletter, manuscripts, conferences, and other publications. Authors will receive proper attribution. It is NPCA’s intention that the collected essay manuscript will be published, but NPCA does not warrant that the manuscript will be accepted or that any specific essay will be guaranteed publication.
About the SEVEN Fund, Inc.
SEVEN (Social Equity Venture Fund) is a virtual non-profit entity run by entrepreneurs whose strategy is to markedly increase the rate of innovation and diffusion of Enterprise-based Solutions to Poverty. It does this by targeted investment that fosters thought leadership through books, films and websites; supporting role models – whether they are entrepreneurs or innovative firms – in developing nations; and shaping a new discourse in government, the press and the academy around private-sector innovation, prosperity and progressive human values.
About the National Peace Corps Association
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community through networking and mentoring to help guide former Volunteers through their continued service back home. It is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps and its values.
NPCA wishes to thank Michael Fairbanks, Andreas Widmer, and Elizabeth Hooper, principals of the SEVEN Fund, for their generous support. More information about the SEVEN Fund can be found at www.sevenfund.org. The opinions expressed on this page and in the essays are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SEVEN Fund, Inc.