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Q&A: Education in Emergencies Challenge

Your idea could be the one

By Isabel Stewart and Olivia McLardie

Last week we sat down for a chat with Rose O’Leary, the Project Lead for the Education in Emergencies Challenge. The challenge invites young people to pitch their own solution to barriers which keep young people out of school during crises.

Rose got involved with Oaktree back in 2013 and knew she’d found something special.

How did you become involved with Oaktree?

Back in 2013, when I was in year 12, I did Live Below the Line for the first time. After being part of that participant journey I became really engaged with Oaktree. In 2014, I attended the Oaktree Bootcamp and absolutely loved it! I remember walking through the corridors of where we were staying and thinking man, I have found where I belong.

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

Can you tell us a bit about the Education in Emergencies University Challenge?

Currently, 75 million school aged children are out of school because of a crisis, whether that be a natural disaster, a war or a civil conflict, students are having to flee their homes in order to be safe.

In doing that they leave behind an education, and the impacts of not having access to quality education can have a fundamental and lasting impact on a child or young person.

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. That’s why Oaktree has teamed up with InnovationXchange to run the challenge.

We're looking for ideas in their concept phase and we want to work with finalists to improve their ideas before flying them to Canberra to present to InnovationXchange and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Why should people sign up?

This challenge gives you an opportunity to put your ideas in front of the most influential people in the sector. Your idea doesn’t necessarily need to be something super spectacular, but you never know - it could be the one to change the lives of millions of people.

Who can apply?

We're challenging young people here, so we’re looking for people from the ages of 18 to 28. It would be great if they attend university and potentially a club at their university so that they can share their ideas with or a network within their universities. If not, they don’t need to be university students, they can also be TAFE students or anyone studying at any level in those ages.

Who is behind this program?

Oaktree have really excitingly been able to partner with InnovationXchange, which is a sub branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), for a grant which they’ve given us to make this possible.

We’ve been working alongside InnovationXchange, our incredible panel of experts and a fantastic team here at Oaktree to build this challenge.

When will this challenge occur? What is the timeline?

Applications are now open, which is really exciting, and applications will close on the 20th of August, so make sure you get your submission in quick! After that, the people who are put into the shortlisting process have a chance to workshop and develop their ideas with a panel of experts.

The panel will include people from Engineers Without Borders, youth networks, Solar Buddy and more to be announced! Once those shortlists have been further cut down, the top 6 applications will go to Canberra and they’ll present their ideas to DFAT and Innovation Exchange.

Applications for the Education in Emergencies University Challenge will be open till the 20th of August. Click here to learn more about the challenge.