Aug 182013

MANILA, Philippines – Ilaw ng Tahanan, a project designed to train women inmates to produce low-cost solar lamps, brings young Filipino lawyers Margarita N. Gutierrez and Doranne Lim to Singapore for the finals of Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World, hopefully to win the US$25,000 Women’s Empowerment Grant.

Gutierrez and Lim will compete with nine other Project Inspire finalists from Canada, India, Netherlands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda and United States, whose projects will benefit communities in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East or Africa (APMEA). The 10 finalists were selected based on their sustainability, impact and economic or social benefit, out of this year’s 577 submissions from 62 countries around the world.

Jointly organized by the Singapore Committee of UN Women and MasterCard and supported by INSEAD, Project Inspire is a digital and social media driven initiative that encourages young people across the world to empower disadvantaged women and girls. It was launched in 2011, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 25th anniversary of MasterCard in APMEA.

Open to 18-35 year olds all over the world, Project Inspire provides a five-minute platform for pitching transformative, sustainable ideas and a grant for the winner to implement the initiatives, which can range from education and skills training, to financial inclusion or social entrepreneurship.

It’s the third time Filipinos made a mark on the competition. For Project Inspire 2011, a micro-entrepreneurship program, Hapinoy, won the Grand Prize. Hapinoy equipped underprivileged women with the skills, tools, and resources to run sari-sari stores (small neighborhood convenience stores) or retail-based outlets.

In 2012, Project Stitch bagged the People’s Choice Award, with its aim of providing support and livelihood to displaced women in the poor communities of Manila through sewing co-operatives.

Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Cast your vote on the Project Inspire Facebook page ( on or before Aug. 29. The project entry that receives the most online votes will win the People’s Choice Award.

In a “live” pitch event on Aug. 30, the winning project for the Women’s Empowerment Grant will be determined by an esteemed judging panel composed of today’s top global development and social entrepreneurial experts, social advocates, and last year’s Project Inspire winner Rustam Sengupta from the Women’s Private Personal Marketplace in India.

 Leave a Reply