You are young, African, and want to work with like-minded people committed to making a difference from the grassroots level up? This ideathon is open to students, professionals, community activists, social entrepreneurs, changemakers, and all other interested folks in Africa.
Designed as a virtual, pan-African ideation space, the SDG Innovation Challenge is a powerhouse for young people from across the continent to come together and co-develop practical solution ideas to grassroots challenges while pushing the needle of sustainable development on a global scale. Conceived in 2020, this innovation challenge calls upon participants to employ their design and complex thinking skills that solve problems in a measurable and qualitative manner. The COVID-19 pandemic left a debilitating imprint: according to the World Bank, COVID-19 has pushed nearly 40 million people into extreme poverty in Africa and harmed the economy and livelihoods in multiple ways.
The force of innovation sets the engine of sustainable growth running, developing initiatives that build resilience, empower lesser privileged sections of the population, alleviate environmental stress, and so on! Moreover, we emphasize collaboration and partnerships, in alignment with SDG 17 (Partnerships to achieve the goals), as a central axis around which our efforts are oriented!
With this background, we present the SDG Innovation Challenge 2022, which builds upon its precedents to create a bigger space for expanded outreach and wider horizons! Under the theme Transformative Solutions against Global Challenges – Accountability in Leveraging Youth Action to Create and Empower, the SDG Innovation Challenge converges young talent with three primary goals:
- to trigger fresh thinking by connecting innovators from diverse backgrounds and sectors.
- to develop fresh, practical approaches to furthering SDG impact through cross-boundary collaboration.
- to ignite transformative action towards sustainable development and improved livelihoods of communities across Africa.
The SDG Innovation Challenge is open to participation from young people across Africa.
You want to work across domains and gain insights into the brightest minds tackling sustainable development from the grassroots level up? Here is an opportunity for young, pan-African social innovators and entrepreneurs to change the world, one idea at a time!
- A connection to this year’s challenge theme: Transformative Solutions against Global Challenges – Accountability in Leveraging Youth Action to Create and Empower
- Passion, drive, and commitment to improving livelihoods in your community and beyond
- A genuine interest in sustainable development and desire to contribute to advancing the SDGs in your community and beyond
- The motivation to work in an agile hackathon-like environment, to engage pro-actively, and to ideate extensively throughout the event.
- Desire to connect and collaborate with people from different domains and geographies.
- The ability to work in an interdisciplinary team
- The commitment to take the idea to completion and remain engaged with the cause post the SDG Innovation Challenge
The SDG Innovation Challenge is where motivated young Africans come together to co-develop practical innovations that further sustainable development of their local communities. There are numerous reasons to participate; here are a few of them:
- Access to an unorthodox, dynamic, and diverse platform of youth activists, organizations, and legislators – Tap into a conducive online space to converge around practical SDG solutions!
- A much-needed opportunity to visualize and implement the SDGs at the grassroots level – Participate in the making of our future, and jumpstart your involvement in the sustainable development agenda as an active, passionate global citizen.
- Immense networking potential – Build connections, and be part of a community of practice around eco-systemic, collaborative solutions.
- A space to exercise your global citizenship muscle – Sharpen and hone skills in leadership, innovation, cross-sector collaboration, analytic thinking, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, and allied areas.
- Sourcing diversity of thought, background, and sector – Collaborate with people from a plethora of domains, be it engineering, design, civic policy, social justice reform, project management, finance, education, and many others.
How to Participate
Before registering, read through these consideration and keep these important points in mind:
- Only groups of 4 to 7 people can register:
To register, you must bring a group of 4-7 people – you included. What’s more, we encourage interdisciplinary group composition. When people from diverse realities or backgrounds meet and connect around a shared cause, that’s when true innovation happens: bridging realities, intersecting sectors, collaborating across boundaries, and building forward together.
In short: Diversity is one of the core values of the SDG Innovation Challenge, and we encourage everyone to join our pre-event connector space on Facebook. Whether you’re an individual who’s looking for a group of like-minded people to register, or whether you already have a (small) group in mind but could use some more diversity of thought and talent: The connector space is a great opportunity to meet people who are committed to sustainable development and interested in participating in the event. It’s in your hands to find out more about each other – what motivates you, the skills you bring, the dreams you have, the communities you serve, etc. – and to come together in groups of 4-7 people and register for the SDG Innovation Challenge 2022!
- Any idea entering the challenge must be at a nascent (early) stage at the most:
This is an ideation marathon, not an accelerator program. If you already have a fairly refined idea or if you have your mind set on something specific and are not open to re-think, bringing different perspectives on board and possibly changing how the solution idea is shaping up eventually: do not register it. We’re here to spark fresh thinking, to unearth novel ideas through cross-boundary collaboration, and to converge around solutions ideas. It’s that mindset that will result in the biggest, most transformative impact, starting with your participation in the SDG Innovation Challenge.
Application Deadline: 1 November 2022
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