We want to encourage young people in the United States to think critically yet compassionately about international issues. The Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest is a forum for thoughtful high school thinkers to share their analysis on a different international development topic each year.

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This contest asks students to build a creative, persuasive argument for engagement in a country like Mali -- far from students' homes and daily concerns. National winners of this essay contest receive cash awards and recognition. 

Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest theme 2018: Numerous challenges exist in countries like Mali, where many people live in extreme poverty – poor nutrition and health, food insecurity, lack of sanitation and clean water, violence and instability, low literacy rates, inadequate infrastructure, and more. Why should education be a priority given all of the competing needs in a country like Mali?

All students enrolled in grades 9-12 in U.S. public, private, and home schools within the United States are eligible. The essay must be 300-500 words. Additional rules apply -- see official 2018 rules.

  • First place: $250 cash award and publication online

  • Second place: $100 cash award and publication online

  • Third place: $50 cash award and publication online

Essays may be submitted beginning January 1, 2018 via email only to essay@malirisingfdn.org. Deadline for submissions is midnight eastern on March 31, 2018.  NOTE: Do not submit your essay as a google doc link: it will not be accepted. The file must be sent as a word or word-friendly attachment -- see the rules for more details.