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Press Release: Leveraging Youth Capacity towards SDG Action

Thousands of young African SDG practitioners accepted the invitation to join the SDG Innovation Challenge 2022 and to encompass collaborative ways of advancing sustainable development from the grassroots level up. The organizers embrace the unprecedented turn-out as a timely call to action to increase the program’s capacity in order to connect, empower and transform youth-led SDG Innovations at scale.

The SDG Innovation Challenge is a virtual ideation marathon for young African community practitioners who are looking to further sustainable development in their community while contributing to the SDGs at a more global scale. The initiative has grown in capacity and impact since 2020, creating space and opportunity for youth activism, SDG advocacy, and policy-making to intersect. The SDG Innovation Challenge was created as a pan-African ideation space for young people to come together in co-developing and connecting practical solution ideas for challenges faced by their local communities at the grassroots level.

The SDG Innovation Challenge is back again in 2022 under the theme Transformative Solutions against Global Challenges – Accountability in Leveraging Youth Action to Create and Empower. Applications were open between September and October on a quest to gather some of the best ideas and minds across Africa in diverse groups of 4-7 individuals in time for this year’s edition.

In a joint effort of organizing consortium and collaborating organizations, a record number of 2500+ motivated young people from across Africa sent in their ideas and proposed solutions to alleviate and tackle grassroots challenges relating to the Sustainable Development Goals, out of which 350+ individuals organized in 54 groups could finally be selected to participate in 2 separate but identical iterations of the 48 hours ideation marathon from 28th – 30th November and 1st – 3rd December 2022. With a doubled capacity this year, the Organizers are finalizing the virtual infrastructure for the event to provide a space for participants to connect around SDG-related community challenges and to build their capacity and networks to tackle those challenges collaboratively and with a beyond business-as-usual mindset. Also this year, innovation teams who succeed in the SDG Innovation Challenge will compete for Award Winning Packages, continued support, prize money (figuring a total of 1250 USD), global recognition, and more.

To keep growing the substance, quality, and impact of the initiative, the SDG Innovation Challenge Organizing Consortium is calling on any and all interested organizations, institutions, and enterprises to join the efforts to further accountable and transformative youth leadership for sustainable development across Africa. Potential collaboration avenues include any (one or more) of the following areas:

  • Creating pipeline opportunities (such as access to resources, networks, funding, incubation/acceleration, etc.) for successful innovation teams.
  • Contributing with prize money (e.g. for a particular category) in order to support suited project ideas to take off.
  • Becoming a strategic partner of the SDG Innovation Challenge to help increase the scope, impact, and sustainability of the program.
  • Help secure the financial sustainability of the program, participants’ impact journey, and the growing community of SDG practitioners.

We welcome collaboration and invite interested organizations to connect with us directly to explore further.


Important dates for the SDG Innovation Challenge 2022 are as follows:

  • 28-30 November 2022: SDG Innovation Challenge I
  • 1-3 December 2022: SDG Innovation Challenge II
    (Both events follow the same process, teams will be assigned to Challenge 1 or 2 based on availability and team preference. At the end of the event, teams submit their solution idea, which will be assessed by a judging panel after concluding both challenges)
  • 4- 10 December 2022: Peoples’ Choice Contest (Social Media/YouTube)
  • 12-16 December 2022: Assessment & Evaluation by Judges
  • 17 December 2022: Award Ceremony
  • January-February 2023: Incubation for Shortlisted Teams
  • March-May 2023: Mentoring for Shortlisted Teams
  • June 2023: SDG Innovation Showcase at the 5th African Youth SDGs Summit
    (Winning teams can present their project idea at the prestigious summit happening in person and virtually in Lusaka, Zambia, as part of the winning package for increased collaboration, visibility, and support)

The organizers and partners of the SDG Innovation Challenge 2022 – including Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), The Melton Foundation, GrassRoots Hub Ghana, TECHFARM Hub, Shibuka, The Spaceship Academy, World Assembly of Youth, etc. – look forward to ample engagement of motivated young people, organizations, institutions, and governments at the local, regional and global levels to help make the SDG Innovation Challenge a pivotal opportunity for sustainable development and youth empowerment in Africa, and beyond.

Learn more about the event, and connect with our partners and us here!