Youth tackling world ills get cash through Clinton

Fri May 29, 2009 12:06pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A soccer ball that absorbs energy to light a home and a radio program to help Nigerian farmers are among 78 projects sharing in $400,000 funding through former U.S. President Bill Clinton's youth humanitarian program.

The Clinton Global Initiative University announced the winners on Friday for the projects aimed at improving communities around the world.

Clinton said the funding "will help innovative college students make a tremendous difference in the world" and that he hoped they would "inspire others to take action."

Another winning program will allow people in Ghana and Nigeria to text message drug companies to check that their medication is not counterfeit.

The Wal-Mart Foundation and Pat Tillman Foundation, created to honor U.S. football player Pat Tillman after he was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2004, are providing the grants for the projects.

Like the four-year-old Clinton Global Initiative, the CGI U encourages students to take real steps toward tackling global education, energy and climate change, global health, peace and human rights, and poverty alleviation.

The initiative was born out of Clinton's frustration while president from 1993 to 2001 at attending conferences that were more talk than action. The annual New York gathering, which started in 2005, attracts heads of state, celebrities, business leaders and humanitarians. The CGI U launched in 2007.

Harvard University student Jessica Lin and her team of students will receive $1,500 to buy soccer balls and internal parts for their "sOccket" project -- a soccer ball that harnesses the energy of being kicked around during a game for later use in a home.   Continued...

<p>Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivers his keynote speech during an opening ceremony of the 3rd C40 Large Cities Climate Summit Seoul 2009 in Seoul May 19, 2009. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak</p>