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MTN and WWF Expand Environmental Initiative with Africa PachiPanda Challenge

MTN Group and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have jointly revealed the Africa PachiPanda Challenge, an initiative designed to bolster endeavors in tackling environmental challenges throughout the continent. 

Drawing inspiration from the success of a comparable program in Zambia, this collaborative effort seeks to inspire young individuals and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to create inventive solutions that promote sustainable practices.

The announcement came during COP28, where MTN Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, Nompilo Morafo, met with Zambia’s Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu. 

Minister Nzovu lauded the success of the local initiative, emphasizing the need to scale the program and support emerging businesses that offer tangible solutions to environmental issues.

The PachiPanda Challenge was initially launched in Zambia in 2022 by MTN Zambia and WWF Zambia, attracting over 1,500 applicants. 

The challenge focused on various ‘challenge statements,’ prompting participants to devise solutions to issues such as leveraging technology for conservation communication, addressing conservation challenges through technology, developing environmentally friendly alternatives, and encouraging the use of sustainable energy.

MTN Zambia Foundation Chairperson, Rose Sibisi, expressed pride in the initiative, stating, “We are proud to have birthed an innovative Initiative out of Zambia that evidently supports Youth-led small Businesses in the Climate Space that creates green jobs in a green economy.”

Nachilala Nkombo, Country Director of WWF Zambia, highlighted the belief that the expansion of the PachiPanda Challenge to an African scale would lead to the development of sustainable innovations crucial for addressing the pressing environmental issues facing the continent.

The Challenge is set to expand its reach to four additional countries: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. It will be open to applications from young people aged 16-35 and youth-led SMEs with early-stage or idea-stage solutions to environmental challenges.

Evelyn Mwamubiru-Mwaura, Country Offices Project Quality Director of WWF Africa, commended the success of the Zambia PachiPanda Challenge in its first two years, expressing confidence that the initiative has brought about meaningful and sustainable projects that can transform disadvantaged communities.

The Africa PachiPanda Challenge, slated for launch in 2024, is not just a competition but a platform for change. Mwamubiru-Mwaura noted that It aims to inspire participants to think creatively, develop solutions for immediate challenges, and contribute to the long-term sustainability of their communities. 

She emphasized MTN Group and WWF commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability in Africa, utilizing technology to address environmental and social issues for a greener and more sustainable future.

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