Freetown Wins $1M Global Mayors Challenge Prize

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The Mayor of Freetown, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyer is set to bring home a highly valuable prize that is worth more than the US$1 Million, plus technical support for Freetown.

It can be recalled that the Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced Freetown and other 14 winning cities as winners of the 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge, the fifth edition of the worldwide innovation competition that supports and spreads cities’ most promising ideas.

The Winning Cities receiving $1 Million and Multi-Year Technical Support are Amman, Jordan; Bogotá, Colombia; Butuan, Philippines; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Hermosillo, Mexico; Istanbul, Turkey; Kigali, Rwanda; Kumasi, Ghana; Paterson, New Jersey, USA; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Rochester, Minnesota, USA; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Rourkela, India; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Wellington, New Zealand.

There are over 10,000 cities in the world and hundreds applied for the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge which 15 Cities won including Freetown.

The 15 winning Cities hail from 13 nations on six continents and collectively represent more than 30 million residents. They were selected from among 50 Champion Cities that spent the past four months working with residents to rigorously test and refine their projects.

With the most applicants to date, mayors from 631 cities in 99 countries submitted their boldest ideas to the 2021-2022 competition, nearly twice the number of cities that applied to the last Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge in 2018.

The winners were selected based on four criteria: Vision; Potential for impact; Feasibility; and Transferability. The ideas provide a powerful snapshot of the innovation priorities of hundreds of the world’s cities.

The most common themes of the winning innovations focus on reducing unemployment, improving health, and addressing climate change, with Freetown pushing the theme: “Create a vibrant new digital marketplace supporting tree maintenance and the urban canopy using digital technologies.”

Four of the winning city projects also have an explicit gender-equality lens. Cities developed new ways to deliver city services to residents and approaches to combat the opioid epidemic.

All of the submissions were generated in part through participatory processes with residents.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge is a competition designed to spark innovative, replicable ideas for improving cities, and the lives of people living in them, by encouraging leaders to think outside the box about how to confront their most difficult challenges.