The Veolia Foundation and Veolia have supported the initiatives of student associations through the Student Solidarity Prize since 2008. This year, with two winning associations and a special people’s choice prize, the prize has rewarded projects implemented in France and abroad by students from French engineering schools and universities. The awards ceremony was held on 25 September, at the Group's head office in Aubervilliers, in the presence of Estelle Brachlianoff, Chief Operating Officer at Veolia, who presented one of the awards.
In the context of the health crisis, an event marked by resilience
This twelfth event took place in the context of Covid-19 and the lockdown measures implemented in many countries. To carry out their projects, the associations received extensive support from Veolia teams.
We decided to maintain the Student Solidarity Prize this year because it was crucial to help associations carry out their projects during the health crisis. We organised ourselves to support students who were experiencing lockdown. I would like to hail the resilience of the associations which adapted their projects accordingly. The panel was also impressed by the variety of projects presented’, explained Bertrand Delvolvé, Director of Human Resources Development at Veolia.
Of the 152 applications submitted (128 in 2019), about 25% came from abroad, up against previous years. The applications were evenly distributed among the Foundation’s three areas of action: Social Cohesion and Pathways towards Employment, Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity, and Humanitarian Emergency and Development Aid. The eleven finalist projects were presented online on 23 June 2020 before a panel made up of representatives of the Group and the Foundation, academia, and associations, who were also in front of their screens.
152 applications submitted
About 25% of applications came from abroad
11 finalist projects were presented on line
Our relations with schools rely on Veolia events, such as the Student Solidarity Award, which are part of our corporate purpose because they consider all our stakeholders, including students and their institutions, added Isabelle Quainon, Deputy Director of Human Resources
Estelle Brachlianoff concluded:
I would like to congratulate all the student associations, in France and abroad, which took part in this year’s Student Solidarity Prize and particularly those which won awards. This generation of young people is more than ever committed to the themes of ecological and inclusive transformation; it will drive this transformation as it is already demonstrating today!
2020 prize winners
The Tizwit project promotes employability by helping vulnerable and rural populations in Morocco to exit the informal sector in the Ouarzazate region. It provides women and young people in villages with material resources and skills to foster their economic inclusion. With the African and Middle East social entrepreneurship support association Follow'Her, the impact is twofold: women's economic inclusion and the environment. Tizwit made it possible to provide a free and open IT co-working space, access to training (CVs, management concepts, communication) and IT (code, graphics), and support for and awareness-raising of the process to exit the informal sector at the Itrane and Tawesna cafés in Aït Ben Haddou.
• Ficha association, Grenoble management school
Ficha educates users on sorting and managing their waste in commonholds and social housing. Using a smartphone application and a connected container in bin rooms (called a ‘cocoon’), it allows individuals to identify themselves by depositing their recyclable waste and measuring the effectiveness of their sorting thanks to an artificial intelligence algorithm.
This solution rewards selective sorting and more environmentally responsible consumption by increasing the sorting rate using a smartphone application. The user is then rewarded in the form of discounts at partner brands, such as sustainable mobility solutions. The project reduces sorting errors and increases the sorting rate by making it more fun.
• People’s choice prize ‘A library for Vo Koutime’ from the University of Paris-Dauphine’s Go To Togo association
This is a project to build a library in the town of Vo Koutime (Togo) in partnership with the NGO Mission des Jeunes. The University of Paris Dauphine’s Go To Togo student association (created in 2001, fifty active members) aims at the long-term development of the country through education for all. ‘A library for Vo Koutime’ meets several development requirements:
- containing illiteracy: the library appears to be one of the best sustainable solutions to facilitate learning to read.
- opening up to the world: books from various cultures will be offered in French and in the country's ewe language, to support Togolese culture.
- health development: the library’s sanitary unit will participate in the transition to basic sanitation services initiated by the Togolese government in 2014, which selected Togolese builders.
Initially, the teachers at the site where Go To Togo has already built a lower secondary school will manage the library. Then a subscription to borrow the books will remunerate a librarian.
The eight selection criteria for candidate associations:
- coherence with the areas: solidarity, integration, and environmental protection.
- application quality: clarity and relevance of the project
- professionalism of the approach proposed
- technical and financial feasibility of the project, partners, and institutional set-up
- economic, social, and/or environmental impact of the project
- local synergies sought and type of aid
- sustainability: long-term human development
The €9,000 of prize money is distributed among the three winners according to the needs of the associations' projects. The winners also benefit from the technical expertise of a sponsor, a Veolia employee, in France or abroad.
The panel includes representatives of associations, Human Resources, schools, and universities.