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Innovating Sustainable Development with the SDG Innovation Challenge 2020

The SDG Innovation Challenge is a virtual ideathon for motivated young people from across Africa to come together in developing practical solution ideas for challenges faced in their local communities at the grassroots level.

The SDG Innovation Challenge is a virtual ideathon for motivated young people to develop practical solution ideas for challenges faced in their local communities at the grassroots level.

By engaging in a collaborative ideation space online, participants connect around shared interest relating to the SDGs and, in interdisciplinary teams, work together to generate and prototype novel solution approaches that can transcend into tangible action to advance the SDGs. Designed as an online hackathon-style environment, the SDG Innovation Challenge leverages Design Thinking, Social Innovation, and Global Citizenship as a guiding framework for interaction.

The maiden edition of the SDG Innovation Challenge took place from 26–28 October 2020 with a focus on SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure). The three winning teams emerging from the event had the opportunity to showcase their solution idea on 5 November 2020 during the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit.

Embracing SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals), the SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 was a collaborative effort between Melton Foundation, GrassRoots Hub, TECHFARM Hub, and Youth Advocates Ghana. In addition, numerous collaborators – including organizations like Unleash, Global Changemakers, InnoHub, and Civicus Youth – contributed to the success of the event through cross-promotion, pro-bono mentoring, speaking engagement, and more.

Impact of the SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 

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.

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

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.

Connecting local solution ideas to a pan-African platform offered by the African Youth SDGs Summit increases not only the possibilities of making local solutions more visible – and thus replicable if not open to collaboration – at the global level, but also does it create a more compelling incentive for participants who, through their participation in the SDG Innovation Challenge, can showcase their work widely, rally for wider support and resources, and join a global community of SDG advocates and practitioners. As we are working with teams providing continued mentoring and support to turn their solution ideas into innovative projects, we are looking forward to taking the SDG Innovation Challenge to the next level, building on the learnings and insights harnessed during the maiden event. 

Learn more about the SDG Innovation Challenge 2020 by reading the full event report here! Stay engaged with us by connecting here!

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