The 2023 edition of the SDG Innovation Challenge is here! For young Africans.

Are you a young African with a desire to collaborate with others who share your passion for creating positive change starting from the local level? If you are a student, professional, community activist, change-maker, or simply someone interested in making a difference on the continent and in the world, the SDG Innovation Challenge is the place to be!

Designed as a virtual, pan-African collaboration space, the SDG Innovation Challenge is a powerhouse for young Africans (18-35 years) to develop cross-boundary, sustainable solutions to grassroots challenges in order to further the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the grassroots level up. Since 2020, this challenge has called upon participants to employ creativity, collaboration, and complex thinking to tackle problems measurably and systematically. 

Innovation is a force that sets the engine of sustainable development running, uncovering initiatives that build resilience, contribute to more equitable resource distribution, further inclusion, alleviate environmental stress, and so on! Moreover, we emphasize collaboration and partnerships, in alignment with SDG 17 (Partnerships For The Goals), as a central axis around which our efforts are oriented!

With this background, we present the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023, which builds upon its precedents to create a bigger space for expanded outreach and broader horizons! Coinciding with the Global Goals Week (15 -23 September) the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023 supports the annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals, promising to join hands with over 150 global partners to mobilize, demanding urgency to turn it around for the global goals and supercharge solutions for people and the planet.

Under the theme Mobilizing the African Youth for Sustainable Impact, the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023 converges young talent with three primary goals:
To trigger fresh thinking by connecting innovators from diverse backgrounds and sectors.

To develop practical, impact-oriented solution ideas through cross-boundary collaboration.

To ignite transformative action towards sustainable development and improved livelihoods of communities across Africa.

Why Participate?
The SDG Innovation Challenge is where motivated young people from across the African continent 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 many different domains, including engineering, design, civic policy, social justice reform, project management, finance, education, and many others.

How to Participate
To participate virtually on 21-23 September, you must register by 31 August, 2023 before 11:59 PM GMT.

Before registering, here are some rules to keep in mind:

Only groups of 4 to 7 people can register! Read on because the important stuff is yet to come:
Diversity is one of the core values of the SDG Innovation Challenge, and we encourage anyone interested in participating in the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023 to join our pre-event connector space on Facebook to connect in diversity early. Because when people from diverse realities and backgrounds connect around a shared cause, real innovations shape up.

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 an excellent 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 2023!

Any idea entering the challenge must be at a nascent (early) stage at the most: This is an ideation space, not an accelerator program. If you have a fairly refined idea already or if you have your mind set on something specific and are not open to re-think or bringing different perspectives on board, which would probably change how the solution idea is shaping up eventually: do not register it. We’re here to spark fresh thinking, unearth novel ideas through cross-boundary collaboration, and 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.

Be committed to further developing ideas that emerge from the challenge: All ideas that are successfully submitted at the end of the 48-hour ideathon will be provided with mentoring and incubation opportunities and support. Each participant must be committed to being present throughout the entire challenge, contribute to the success of their ideation team, attend virtual sessions during the mentoring and incubation and work diligently together with team members to improve the original idea and make an effort to implement it in the near future.
Register your group by 31 August 2023 11:59 PM Greenwich Mean Time … and take a chance at creating Africa’s next Winning Sustainable Solution idea!


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