Mazda Make Things Better Award winner Antti Junkkari has successfully launched his Mazda-funded advocacy project, which takes aim at gun violence in Africa. After officially receiving the €10,000 prize from Mazda at the Geneva International Motor Show, the Finnish medical student embarked in April on a four-day preparatory trip to Abuja, Nigeria.

The purpose of the trip was to meet local NGOs to advance the project, called “Raising Awareness on Small Arms through Interactive Radio Programmes”. With the potential to reach more than 30 million Nigerians, it’s an effective – and cost-effective – means of curbing firearms violence in a region where weapons are widely available and a major problem, particularly among youths.

“Given the current security situation in rural Nigeria, it was important to assemble all of our local contacts in Abuja,” he explained. “However, as 90 per cent of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, it would have been impossible to cover travel expenses without Mazda’s help.” The plan calls for a series of radio programmes to be broadcast across Nigeria in 2015.

“Mr. Junkkari’s project is an innovative example of how to use the media as a modern, efficient educational tool,” said Jeff Guyton, Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO. “The award was initiated to support exactly this kind of dedication to making the world a better place, and Mazda is fully committed to this project’s success.” The Mazda Make Things Better Award was launched in October 2013 in Warsaw at the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, an annual forum bringing together Nobel Peace Prize recipients with young leaders of tomorrow to exchange ideas. Mazda set up the award, which reflects the unconventional carmaker’s spirit of challenging convention to make things better, to promote projects that use modern tools of advocacy to improve people’s everyday lives.

More than 120 participants submitted proposals.