Africa Rural Connect Contest Announces Second Round Winners from Ghana, the United States, and Senegal

Thu Oct 1, 2009 10:22am EDT

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http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20091001005803/en

Web site driven by unique technology encourages collaborative thinking to help
rural Africa
WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
Africa Rural Connect (ARC), a new online community hosted by The National Peace
Corps Association (NPCA), announced today the second round of winning ideas on
how to help solve rural Africa`s greatest challenges and strengthen agricultural
development. The first, second and third prize winners were from Ghana, the
United States and Senegal respectively. Powered by a unique software program
called Wegora, the ARC Web site is revitalizing the international development
landscape by helping change the way people around the world share their ideas
online and build upon the knowledge of others. 

The site (www.AfricaRuralConnect.org) is a resource for discussing issues,
identifying problems, and building viable solutions to some of Sub-Saharan
Africa's most entrenched problems. To support the growth of these discussions
into viable plans of action, ARC is running a contest for the most creative,
practical solutions that are formed through the site. This contest will run from
August through November 2009, with prizes awarded every month in addition to one
grand prize of $20,000 to help implement the winning plans. 

"We are excited about the caliber of ideas that have been posted on the site so
far and we`re really seeing the Wegora technology help foster a whole new way of
thinking online about these types of issues," says Molly Mattessich, manager of
Africa Rural Connect and a native of Minnesota who served in Mali with the Peace
Corps. "The volume of posts from people and groups around the world has steadily
increased and we hope to see that trend continue in the coming months." 

The second round winners of the ARC online contest are as follows:

 1st Prize: $3,000 project seed money | Self-Support Ghanaian Subsistent Farmers | Ghana  
                                                                                          
 2nd Prize: $2,000 project seed money | Acceleration of Innovation Program | U.S.         
                                                                                          
 3rd Prize: $1,000 project seed money | Project Irrigation Initiative | Senegal           


Through November, monthly winners are chosen based on the number of endorsements
they receive from other participants on the site. Each month, the top three
ideas are awarded a cash prize of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively to help
implement their idea. All monthly round winners will compete in the final round
later this year where one winner will be selected by a panel and awarded $20,000
to implement their plan. 

"The contest has spread geographically and transcended borders--we hope to
continue receiving ideas particularly from participants on the ground in Africa
because we believe they have so much to add to the online discussion," adds
Mattessich. "This is a contest that`s powered by a unique technology platform
that fosters collaboration so that every idea counts." 

The NPCA is a non-profit, membership-based alumni organization that serves all
returned Peace Corps Volunteers and former staff, as well as Peace Corps family,
friends, and supporters.

To bring your best ideas for Africa to the ARC community, please visit:
www.AfricaRuralConnect.org.

About The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)

The NPCA is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization connecting, informing and
engaging returned Peace Corps volunteers, former Peace Corps staff and friends
of Peace Corps committed to fostering peace through service, education and
advocacy. The NPCA network also includes 140 member groups across the U.S. For
more information, visit: http://www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org. 

-Join us on Twitter @ideasforafrica, #ideasforafrica



National Peace Corps Association
Alison Beckwith, 202-536-4077
arcnews@peacecorpsconnect.org

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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