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SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 - The Pilot Experience

Initiating a legacy of action, SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 was a virtual ideation marathon for motivated young people from across Africa to come together in developing and connecting practical solution ideas for challenges faced by their local communities at the grassroots level.

Following the conceptual co-development with partner organizations Youth Advocates Ghana, GrassRoots Hub and Techfarm Ghana, we spearheaded the development and implementation of the maiden SDG Innovation Challenge held from 26-28 October. In alignment with the theme and focus areas of the 3rd AYSDGS, the challenge aspired to engage up to 100 participants from across African to yield approx. 25 solution ideas centered around SDG 3, SDG 4 and SDG 9.

By engaging in an approx. 50 hours online hackathon-style environment, participants connected around shared interests in challenges faced by their communities, and, in interdisciplinary teams of 4-7 people, worked together throughout the SDG Innovation Challenge to unpack a problem statement of their choice, and design tangible solution ideas encircling our three focus SDGs.

Good Health and Well Being
Quality Education
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


The maiden edition of the SDG Innovation Challenge took place from 26 – 28 October 2020. The three winning ideas and teams had the pristine opportunity to showcase their solutions virtually at the 3rd African Youth SDG Summit, Africa’s biggest Sustainable Development Youth congregation.

Theme: Securing the 2030 commitment beyond the post-COVID-19 era

The SDG Innovation Challenge provides a collaborative ideation space for young people to trigger fresh thinking and prototype novel ideas that can transcend into tangible action to advance the SDGs.

Young people of today are the torchbearers of our legacy and imprint on this planet. Issues such as extreme poverty, climate change, increasing inequality, quality education, demanding accountability have occupied the centerstage today, and young people have the right as well as the responsibility to lead the Agenda 2030 forward, and strengthen partnerships with a fresh paradigm for development.

With the SDG Innovation Challenge, we’re fostering knowledge sharing, cooperation, and the prioritization of pressing issues concerning an increasingly complex and diverse global society.

The 2020 edition of the innovation challenge opened new avenues for young women and men across the African continent – and possibly beyond – to localize the SDGs, catalyzing purpose-driven interactions, and systematically increase the youth-led impact on SDG attainment.

Our participants took one step closer towards reimagining equitable, developed, and sustainable communities!

SDG Innovation Challenge 2021 - Apply Now!

With double the capacity, we aspire to amplify our impact and coalesce the brightest minds from each corner of Africa!

Key Takeaways and Impact

The nearly 250 registrants and close to 100 successful participants included youth professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators averagely between 18 to 35 years, working on projects, start-ups, and community organizations across diverse industries that are promoting SDGs 3, 4, and 9. Registered participants came from across the African continent including the following countries: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, and Ghana.

The participants of the 3 winning teams have been considered for Award-Winning Packages, which include:

  1. Business Modeling and Registration.
  2. Recommendation to Investment Match-Making Opportunities.
  3. Access to Business Incubation and Pro-bono Mentorship.
  4. Digital Literacy Tools for Startup Upscale.

The SDG Innovation Challenge post-2020 – building a Pan-African SDG catalyst

Following the successful prototype launch of the program, we are pursuing a shared vision to transform the SDG Innovation Challenge into a pan-continental, community-driven, empowerment-based platform for young people of all walks of life, background, origin, or geography to be able to connect, collaborate and access needed support structures to help build the sustainable, equitable and peaceful society envisioned by the Agenda 2030.

Watch the solution ideas of the winning teams of the challenge here

Inspired to take action and start your journey as a crusader? Explore avenues to connect with us and accelerate your dreams!

Organizers & Partners

Embracing SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals, the SDG Innovation Challenge is a collaborative efforts of numerous local, regional, and global organizations, including the following: