Only a last-minute appeal for funding ensured that the annual One World Charity Challenge went ahead last week.

The Challenge is a yearly programme organised by Manx charity One World Centre.

It tasks Year 12 students to learn and present about the work of a small international development charity, and each of the six teams who reach the finals deliver lively presentations about their respective charities, explaining the issues that they were dealing with and the impact their work is having.

Speaking at the event, One World Centre coordinator Wendy Shimmin said that the programme had almost not taken place this year because of a lack of funding.

While a last-minute change to the charity's application to the government’s International Development Education and Awareness Raising grant secured the costs for the educational and organisational side of the project, funding for the prizemoney remained elusive.

 ‘It was only by putting out an extraordinary appeal to One World Centre members that we were able to put a prize fund together,’ said Ms Shimmin.

‘This is an important element of Charity Challenge as it is a great incentive to the students to win money for their charities and, as we focus mostly on small charities, those charities can really make a difference with the money they receive.

‘We are extremely grateful both to the government and to those other funders who enabled the project to go ahead.

‘We are now seeking potential sponsors for the 2024-2025 programme.’

A team from Ballakermeen High School clinched the top spot in the challenge finals event which took place at Babbage’s, Mountain View Innovation Centre, just outside Ramsey.

Performing in front of an invited audience including the Chief Minister Alfred Cannan and other MHKs and MLCs, the director of education, charity representatives and families, the finals featured the winning teams from the previous in-school round of the competition at each of the island’s six secondary schools.

Ballakermeen’s team, consisting of Izzy Craig, Mia Degerholm, Lucie Hepworth, Ania Majewska and Liam Bedford, scored highly for their very professional and passionate presentation and also for their innovative idea of producing a storybook for young people to help raise awareness of the prejudices that can still be held against those with disabilities. The team won £1,500 in prizemoney for their chosen charity Disability Africa.

Coming a very close second, and also picking up the AFD Prize for Advocacy, was the team from Castle Rushen High School: Dora Giummri, Lucy Sloane and Amelie Hutchinson who stood in on the night for Freya Gelling. They were representing Village Africa, a new charity appearing in the Challenge.

The team from Castle Rushen High School took second place but also won the AFD Award for Advocacy. Pictured from left to right are: David Dorricott (AFD), Dora Giummri, Lucy Sloane, Amelie Hutchinson, CRHS link teacher Emma Metcalfe and Alison Dorricott (AFD)
The team from Castle Rushen High School took second place but also won the AFD Award for Advocacy. Pictured from left to right are: David Dorricott (AFD), Dora Giummri, Lucy Sloane, Amelie Hutchinson, CRHS link teacher Emma Metcalfe and Alison Dorricott (AFD) (-)

Presenting their information in the form of a news bulletin, the team described the vital work of Village Africa in bringing healthcare and education to those living in a remote mountain area of Tanzania.

Their advocacy work included being interviewed on Manx Radio and approaching their local MHK about international development. They won £1,000 for second prize and a further £1,000 from the AFD Advocacy Prize for Village Africa.

Picking up third place was the team from Ramsey Grammar School. Despite only being a team of two - Eireann Crawley and Georgia Sutton – they gave a seamless performance about the work of their chosen charity The Leprosy Mission and how it works to help those afflicted by the disease.

They won £750 for The Leprosy Mission.

Runners up in the competition were the teams from King William’s College representing The Virtual Doctors, Queen Elizabeth II High School representing Pump Aid and St Ninian’s High School representing Self Help Africa. All three teams won £500 each for their charities.

The judges for this year’s competition were Jesamine Kelly, principal of University College Isle of Man; Phil Gawne, who as a former MHK and minister was chair of the island’s International Development Committee for six years; Michael Manning, the eighth Manx Bard; and Dr Christa McCartney, lecturer in business ethics and social responsibility. The venue and technical help were kindly provided by AFD Ltd.

Overall, a record number of 32 teams had taken part in this year’s One World Charity Challenge programme, which was the 17th edition since first being launched in 2007. 

As well as introducing students to international development and the issues and inequalities facing those living in developing countries, the project helps students to improve their research, organisation, teamwork, time-management, communication and presentation skills.

Ms Shimmin added: ‘If you speak to any of the students involved, you will find they get so much out of the project and it is an excellent opportunity to support our young people become not just good Manx citizens but responsible global citizens of the future.’

Anyone interested in funding future editions of the One World Charity Challenge should contact Ms Shimmin by emailing [email protected]