Every year, Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award Prize Program, generously sponsored by the Templeton Religion Trust, honors and rewards think tanks through the Regional Liberty Awards. The recipient is awarded a prize up to US$10,000 and recognition on stage at the applicable Regional Liberty Forum. The finalists are selected based upon their measurable impact in spreading understanding and appreciation of free enterprise, individual liberty, and the policies that encourage prosperity. Students Organization for Liberty and Entrepreneurship (South Sudan), Nkafu Policy Institute (Cameroon), and Africa Centre for Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment (Ghana) are the finalists for the 2022 Africa Regional Liberty Award. Read on to learn more about their inspiring projects.
In the last three years, Students Organization for Liberty and Entrepreneurship (SOLE) has empowered hundreds of South Sudanese women to exercise their property rights. In 2019, they began an educational campaign that runs community outreaches to educate women on their rights. Based on the feedback from these outreaches, it was noted that some of the institutions that have the authority to uphold and enforce the rights of women to own property are inadequately equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to defend women, who are the victims of harmful cultural practices denying them their rights. SOLE conducted trainings in Yambio and Nzara towns to 100 stakeholders and organizations to equip them with the tools and information necessary to speak up for freedom. Furthermore, SOLE has bolstered their social media and radio presence to share stories and research to demonstrate the need for change. SOLE is creating a better livelihood for the women in South Sudan as they begin to understand and exercise their rights.
In Cameroon, the Nkafu Policy Institute advocates for women’s rights and economic independence. The government actively discriminates against married women, which significantly limits their economic opportunity. For example, married women need their husband’s approval for tasks such as registering a business or opening a bank account. The institute has worked with several organizations, such as the government’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment, to research the unique challenges that face women business owners and entrepreneurs in Cameroon. In 2016, Nkafu established the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center to ensure all women have access to their own finances. The organization is continuing to work toward much-needed policy changes that will affect women’s lives for the better in the coming years.
The majority of African countries rank as unfree or repressed on the Index of Economic Freedom, but Africa Centre for Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment in Ghana is dedicated to allowing everyone in their country to earn an independent living. Their Regional Entrepreneurship Freedom Index project focused on creating methods of research and data analysis to identify areas of potential growth in economic productivity. This index allows them to track economic data over 16 regions in Ghana to generate economic statistics and watch for informative patterns. This project has shown the public and key policymakers the need for improvement to create a freer and more prosperous environment in Ghana.
Register today for the Africa Liberty Forum to learn more from these organizations!