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.

The 2018 Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest is completed. Read the winning 2018 essays. Check back on this page for the 2019 essay contest theme and updates in fall 2018.

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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.