International Youth Day 2020: Young Leaders Impacting the SDGs

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This International Day of Youth marks just 10 years until we must achieve the 2030 Agenda. 

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”. One Young World is proud to celebrate the work of young leaders progressing the Sustainable Development Goals, and creating change for the communities around the world. 

Below are just some of the One Young World Ambassadors who are finding and implementing solutions to the most pressing global challenges and threats.

Happy International Youth Day to all the young leaders out there who are creating impact. 



John Taka - Seeds of Hope

John founded Seeds of Hope PNG in 2011 to encourage and fund higher education for children in his local community as a way to minimise tribal conflict and avoid future violence.

Committee members in the village plant and grow produce such as potatoes, cabbage and broccoli, and then sell it to raise funds that support these children through education. 

The organisation also works to support young entrepreneurs to start businesses and to improve financial literacy and inclusion to encourage a saving culture in the community, making families more resistant to unforeseen crises such as weather related emergencies. 


Jordan Sinan Assaid - The Good Socks Initiative

Sinan is the Co-Founder of The Good Socks Initiative, Jordan’s first food-impact social enterprise in the area of lifestyle products. The premise of The Good Socks Initiative is appropriately simple - when a customer opens a can of socks, someone else in the world opens a can of food. Using a distribution partner, they fund a food donation to the most vulnerable and food insecure parts of the population in Jordan. 

The project makes culturally and environmentally sustainable socks, designed and made by local producers saving approximately nine tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of cans recycled. 

Still in its early stages, the team are already receiving investment and making a significant difference in the battle for “Zero Hunger”, reaching over 1,000 people with vital food donations and support.


Mohammad Kanfash - Damaan Humanitarian Organisation

Despite the weaponisation of healthcare in Syria, Damaan Humanitarian Organisation (DHO) supports schools, medical centres and communal kitchens under siege locations since 2015. Mohammad reinvigorated the organisation after a period of closure due to targeted violence and the work of DHO contributed to the change of the Rome statues in December 2019. This amendment will hopefully stop the use of starvation as a weapon of war in civil wars and will contribute to accountability initiatives. 

The organisation continues to grow but faces the constant challenge that the larger it gets the more of a target it becomes.


Cecily Liu- Visionary Education

As Managing Director Cecily Liu supports Visionary Education in its mission to transform education for children in rural China. 

Cecily heads the Teach Rural Schools Program delivering an 11 day summer camp programme with a primary focus on linguistics, story-telling and cultural understanding which in 2019 reached 330 children at the Hebei Lutou Secondary School. Cecily and the volunteers visit each school for camps over two consecutive years, and share the learnings with the principal and management of partner schools to facilitate their innovation.



Alian Ollivierre- I Am a Girl Barbados

Founded by Alian Ollivierre, I Am A Girl is a leadership academy for young, vulnerable female Barbadians, offering a variety of development programmes to empower young women in Barbados suffering with poor self-esteem and alarming rates of depression. 

As of 2019, there are 175 I Am A Girl members and over 1,500 people have received internship placements, attended university, become peer leaders and more. 

Moving forward, Alian aims to build a transitional home to support girls leaving social care institutions and to facilitate more regional collaboration in the Caribbean.



James Thuch Madhier - The Rainmaker Enterprise

James Thuch Madhier launched the Rainmaker Enterprise at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, back in 2016, supported by his award from the Resolution Project. The initiative installs clean water systems in rural South Sudan to tackle health-related and economic problems resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene.

The initiative has instantly born fruit, reducing water collection time from two and a half hours to 15 minutes allowing children more time for school and more productive agricultural processes.


Leroy Mwasaru- Greenpact

Greenpact tackles the consequences of agricultural waste with a bespoke clean energy solution. Leroy Mwasaru’s initiative allows rural families and small organisations to access cheap and safe, renewable energy, saving women time collecting firewood and protecting families from potentially harmful foods. 

Increasing exponentially, at a small-scale, the solution will power five complete days of clean energy for a household from the waste of three cows over a period of just two weeks.


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Ahmed Albibas- Moomken

Ahmed founded Moomken in 2013 to teach young people basic skills in technical media, and has trained more than 600 people to date. The organisation aims to grow the design and technical skills of young people so that they can work as freelancers in Libya following the 2011 uprising.

Journalism is at risk in Libya, with many journalists fleeing the country to escape persecution. Moomken have facilitated connections between young people and international organisations to both fill a skills gap and to provide practical training in conflict analysis and evaluation enabling young people to access lucrative employment opportunities.

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Jonathan Chu- 95%

Even the smartest people only use 5% of her brain capacity, Jonathan and his consultancy ‘95%’ strives to turn workplaces into ‘joyplaces through cultural transformation and tapping into the underutilised 95%. Jonathan and his team have impacted 5,800 business leaders across Malaysia since 2015.

Jonathan also  expanded his knowledge on the needs of young people in Malaysia through compiling the first One Young World Impact Report with fellow Ambassador Michael Teoh, which was then presented at the One Young World 2011 Zurich Summit.



Willian Mallmann- TODXS

Willian is the Co-Founder of TODXS, a non-profit association empowering the LGBTI+ community and advocating their rights in the wake of violence and the criminalisation of homophobia and transphobia last year. 

The flagship TODXS mobile app software categorises 700 Brazilian laws protecting the LGBTI+ community in an easily accessible format, to improve users’ understanding of their rights. Additionally, users can report LGBTI-phobic abuse through the app.

The organisation provides training for public school teachers and has reached over 1,500,000 through social media and the distribution of a Diversity & Inclusion booklet.


Abhinav Khanal - Bean Voyage

Abhinav is the co-founder of Bean Voyage, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides training and market access to smallholder women coffee producers in Costa Rica.

Bean Voyage has worked with 112 women and more than 500 community members 

working with smallholder women coffee producers to turn their pre-commercial coffee cherries into commercial online products, so that they end up with a significantly greater share of the sale price.



Philipp Gerstenberg- Message in a Bottle

Philipp proposed “Message in a Bottle”, a company-wide campaign to eliminate single-use plastic from all 200 Trelleborg sites by the end of 2020. After receiving Trelleborg’s backing and delivering a call to action, a vast majority of the 200 branches have already begun their journey to zero plastic. One successful example is in Turkey, where the Trelleborg site has completely removed plastic cups already which has eradicated the use of 560,000 plastic cups per year.

While Philipp is no longer directly involved in the implementation of his initiative, he is directly responsible for the change which has only just begun to have a highly significant impact in his workplace and on the environment.



Ismael Essome Ebone - Madiba & Nature

After witnessing the decline in fishing in his hometown Ismael founded Madiba & Nature in 2016 to help preserve the livelihoods of fishermen whilst also addressing the issue of plastic pollution. 

Madiba & Nature collects waste plastic bottles and uses them to create eco-boats. Plastic waste is collected through using eco-bins. In total, 37 boats have been made so far, with each boat needing 1,000 plastic bottles for construction. Madiba & Nature also runs programmes coaching young students and engineers on entrepreneurship in green business. The organisation has also installed eco-bins, made out of plastic bottles, to help collect even more plastic waste.



Anderson Lima- Casa de Aak

Anderson founded Casa de Aak in 2015 to preserve and protect the endangered populations of sea turtles in Guatemala and the organisation has rescued almost 16,000 sea turtle hatchlings to date.

Casa de Aak rescues turtle eggs from the market, incubates and releases them back into the sea. The organisation has chosen to work with the existing market system rather than around it, to re-educate the local fishermen and to advocate for greater care and sea conservation across Guatemala. 

Since 2015 3,117 tourists have also visited public viewings of sea turtle hatchings promoting tourism and supporting local businesses.



Luke Gibson- Two Degrees Footwear & Apparel

Along with his Co-Founder, Luke set about producing a shoe with optimised sustainability and that simultaneously supported conservation efforts. 

Despite minimising their emissions as much as possible, it is impossible to eliminate completely, and therefore through the “Feet for Feet” initiative, each pair of shoes sold protects 1,000 square feet of endangered rainforest.

Two Degrees aims to have protected 25 million square feet of rainforest by 2020.


Luis Bekteshi- Youth Center "Perspektiva”

Luis founded Youth Centre “Perspektiva” to empower young people through educating them about human rights and democracy. The organisation was the first to focus on combating and preventing hate speech through non-formal education at a national level. Participants are trained on how to become multipliers and activists of the ‘No Hate Speech Movement’, learning how to combat and prevent hateful messages both online and offline.

Hate speech continues to be a problem in Albania due to the lack of data on the issue and the difficulty of prosecuting perpetrators due to insufficient provisions in the law. Y Youth Centre “Perspektiva” uses a range of mediums including street art, music and the visual arts to increase awareness and education about the dangers of hate speech and sectarianism.



Joanie Normandin - Sherbrooke Community Involvement

Upon returning from the One Young World 2018 Summit in The Hague, Joanie established the Sherbrooke Community Involvement Committee to build social involvement in her organisation and streamline BRP’s donation politics. 

After this research, the Committee settled on three primary focuses:

  • Environment - Tree-planting initiative with Action St-François
  • Food & Education - Canadian Breakfast Club
  • Health – Fundraising activities and events with the CHUS Foundation 

Local ownership is paramount to the success of all bthe initiatives and the Committee is now supported by six members who ensure these projects maintain engagement and momentum.


For more young leaders impacting the SDGs, check out the One Young World Impact Report



Published on 10/08/2020