First Mazda Make Things Better Award goes to youth-oriented awareness project

February 14, 2014
  • Mission to improve people’s lives reflects Mazda’s convention-challenging spirit
  • Winning project raises awareness on African small arms violence
  • Award ceremony on 5 March, 2014 at the International Geneva Motor Show

Mazda today revealed the first winner of the ‘Mazda Make Things Better Award’. Antti Junkkari, a neurosurgery student from Finland, will be awarded for his proposal on how to help fight small arms violence in Africa. The 23-year-old’s project ‘Raising Awareness on Small Arms through Interactive Radio Programs’ innovatively uses modern tools of advocacy to promote a cause that improves the lives of local people. The award ceremony will be held on 5 March, 2014, at the International Geneva Motor Show. 

The idea is to use the radio – still the most effective means of mass communication in much of Africa – to educate people in Nigeria and Zambia about firearms. Youth gun violence is a big problem here and elsewhere in Africa where the weapons are widely available. The €10,000 prize money will be put towards getting the three-year project up and running. Organisers hope to eventually expand the venture to other parts of Africa. 

“We were very impressed by the way Antti’s project mirrors the spirit of Mazda’s ‘challenging convention to make things better’ principle,” said Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton, who was head of the award jury. “And we believe his initiative will effectively improve the lives of local people, which is exactly what this award is all about.” 

Mazda launched the Make Things Better Award in October 2013 in Warsaw at the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, an annual forum bringing together Nobel Peace Prize recipients with young leaders of tomorrow to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place. The award jury, which includes unconventional multimedia artist Phil Hansen, chose Junkkari’s project out from all submissions of more than 120 participating students.

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