Out of the thousands of Ambassador-led initiatives, One Young World chooses 50 projects for evaluation each year. They are selected to represent all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 8 geographic regions – Europe, Asia, MENA, Africa, North America, Caribbean, Latin America and Oceania.
One Young World also monitors the action of Ambassadors working in the private sector, as young entrepreneurs work to create impact in sustainability-focused startups and young professionals work to embed social purpose in their workplaces and companies' actions.
The final selection of 17 Ambassadors featured in Annual Impact Reports are the 'Ones to Watch', outstanding initiatives tackling each Sustainable Development Goal predicted to create significant social impact in the coming years.
For every $1 of value invested, One Young World Ambassadors deliver $16 of social value, based on a Social Return on Investment analysis of 50 Ambassador-led initiatives addressing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2020.
SDG Impact Tracker
Interested in supporting impactful initiatives led by young leaders? Search this database of over 200 projects from the One Young World Community to find out more.
Search for projects by the following case study categories:
- Ambassador-led Initiatives: qualitative and quantitative analysis of the social impact of organisations or projects which are led by young leaders in the Community.
- Business for Social Good: written case studies for initiatives ran by Partner organisations, led by young professional Ambassadors, or entrepreneurs in the Community.
- Ones to Watch: brief summaries of some of the most exciting new initiatives working to achieve a particular Sustainable Development Goal.
- Covid Young Leaders Fund: detailed case studies of a selection of grant recipients from One Young World's 2020 funding opportunity for projects tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Lead2030: detailed case studies of the Lead2030 award winners and how their projects have generated impact from participating in the programme.
To explore projects featured in the 2020 Annual Impact Report set the 'year' filter to 2020.
Wastezon - Rwanda
Founded in 2018, Ghislain Irakoze had a vision of creating a waste-free world, Wastezon is using its mobile application to trace, sort, and collect household electronic waste in Kigali, Rwanda. They created a win-win solution that encourages everyone to be involved in waste management. They have dedicated their efforts to conserve the environment while giving economical value to recyclable waste.
Only 4% of Africa's produced wastes are collected and recycled (1). The rest pose a great threat to the environment and sanitation. For recycling, recovery, and re-processing industries, one can use the Wastezon app to acquire resources efficiently and quickly. By using integrated mobile technology, they connect all parties that want to transact solid wastes safely and environmentally.
Wastezon provides households and recycling actors with a mobile app technology for efficient waste collection, sorting, and traceability. Wastezon's integrated technological system uses GPS and Blockchain to speed up the reverse logistics. Subscribers of the app can upload information like how much waste they have and their address to understand how much they can earn from their waste household waste. Recycling actors can use the app to search for waste products and use the built-in features to negotiate prices, pay through Mobile money, PayPal or credit cards and create transportation plans.
Ingenieros Top Internacional
Ingenieros Top Internacional - Peru
Jose Luis Vilcahuaman Tovar
"Having grown up in a small town in the Peruvian Andes, Jose has experienced first-hand what it means to not have access to essential infrastructure. In his town, people didn’t have access to electricity, drinking water, schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Jose’s motivation is to change this reality for millions of his people. The world infrastructure gap is expected to be 15 trillion USD by 2040 (1).
Peru’s gap in infrastructure, in 2025, will be 110 USD billion (2). This means that millions of people in Peru and other developing countries are without access to basic public services associated with essential infrastructure. Jose understood that is critical that each infrastructure project have the best possible outcomes. However, one of the biggest weaknesses in doing so is human capital(3). There is a lack of appropriate skills, and shortages of skilled professionals.
That is why Jose launched an online platform to train human capital within the infrastructure sector. They empower them with effective online education to deliver better project outcomes, contributing to the improvement of the quality of life for millions of people, developing a more sustainable and resilient futures as well as addressing the crises of inequalities.
So far, Jose’s project has trained more than 9000 people from Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Paraguay for free. They also offer premium paid courses."
Yunus & Youth
Yunus & Youth - USA 1 [coordinating region]
"Frustrated with the short-term impact of charities in Argentina where Cecilia is originally from, she decided to act. Having read Professor Muhammad Yunus’s work on social business, she was inspired to help young people start and scale effective social businesses to tackle the world’s most pressing issues and started Yunus & Youth.
Yunus & Youth believes that connecting young people from all corners of the world and giving them the tools and resources they need to develop social business solutions can successfully tackle issues that have been left unsolved for far too long. Yunus & Youth believes in combining the next generation’s passion to change the world with the knowledge and experience of traditional corporations to promote sustainable global development and economic growth. Founded with the support of Professor Muhammad Yunus, Yunus & Youth combines social entrepreneurship training with technology to remove educational barriers between countries and generations. It is on a mission to promote youth employment and to foster local economies through partnerships with governments, international development organisations, and grassroots movements. Based on their four-stage intervention model, several different programs have been designed and implemented in more than 50 countries since 2014 with the main goal of empowering young people with the knowledge and resources they need to positively change the world.
Yunus & Youth’s ‘Global Fellowship Program’ for Social Entrepreneurs is designed to support early-stage social business leaders in the development of financially sustainable solutions. It is a six-month online program designed to empower young social entrepreneurs and to help them develop their full potential by strengthening their business models, helping them measure their social impact, and defining a scaling strategy. The Social Impact Mentoring for Business Executives program is an active online leadership training for professionals who want to empower young people and promote positive impact. It is an online skills-based mentoring program that enables business professionals to apply their knowledge and expertise to empower young social entrepreneurs anywhere in the world while enhancing their managerial skills at the same time."
Ecobora - Kenya
Through his project, Ecobora, Justine is using green energy as a catalyst for poverty alleviation. Ecobora is equipping rural, marginalized, and under-funded schools with their innovative solar-powered cooking stove that permits around-the-clock cooking, by tapping into the sun’s energy and storing it. This eliminates the need for firewood making it a much safer and cheaper alternative.
Justine’s mission is to build resilient and empowered communities that can thrive. He was inspired to build solar boilers when he noticed that 99% of schools in Kenya were still using firewood to cook their school meals. Cooking with wood is extremely dangerous and is a major contributor to many preventable diseases. It is linked to respiratory illnesses like chronic bronchitis and reduced lung function (1). Justine wanted to challenge the idea that firewood needed to be used.
An added benefit of using solar boilers is that children will no longer need to spend time in the forest getting firewood before school. He would often see school children in uniforms in the morning collecting firewood. Children will no longer have to make a tough choice of either learning hungry or dropping out of school. So far, they have built 15 solar boilers supporting 5 schools and 5100 students. For every solar cooking boiler installed in a school means that schools can save money and redirect that towards building libraries, computer labs, and other learning facilities. They have also built one safety kitchen for cooks that allows them to enjoy a decent cooking experience away from smoke emissions.
Helen's Daughters - Saint Lucia
Despite the high participation of women in agriculture in St. Lucia, it remains a male-dominated industry. This is due to women’s greater involvement in the informal sector and subsistence farming (1). In 2016, Keithlin began the Helen's Daughters campaign to support rural women with the use of adaptive agricultural techniques, capacity-building and improved market access.
What began as a campaign became a social enterprise in 2018, launching the Rural Women's Academy. The organisation has run workshops that train rural women in innovative agricultural techniques and business capacity building. They also facilitate collaborations between the women in the form of supportive unions. The Academy's goal is to transform small, female farmers into agri-preneurs. Participants are trained by senior, St Lucian mentors over a 6 month period who provide them with seminars and weekly classroom hours. One such mentor is the Head of Perishables/Produce at the nation's largest supermarket chain. The curriculum covers agribusiness development, dealing with suppliers and the government, and financial literacy.
The second incarnation of the Academy concluded in March 2020, when the pandemic struck, forcing them to move their operations online. This helped the project to reach more women, especially those in the south of the island. Helen's Daughters partnered with community centres to ensure participants had access to the necessary facilities. In total, 300 rural women have graduated from the various editions of the programme. As a result of the pandemic, the government accepted the Rural Women Academy's certification in lieu of its own, as it was incapable to carry out its own training. Keithlin has also recently secured support from Ashoka, to enable her to pursue enterprise full time in 2021.
Usalama Technology - Kenya
In Kenya, the emergency phone line often goes unanswered due to a lack of resources since being reinstated in 2013, and there are over 50 numbers for various emergency services in Nairobi (1). To rectify rising morbidity and mortality rates an integrated command and control structure is essential, as well as more resources in the relevant departments (2). Through his enterprise Usalama Technology, James is addressing the challenge in Kenya and abroad with his two co-founders, Edwin and Marvin.
The flagship mobile platform is a personal safety companion that links vulnerable people to urgent emergency assistance. It enables users to quickly and simply send emergency messages to emergency service providers. The application makes use of GPS to capture users' exact geographical locations, which is relayed together with the emergency scenario to the responders to ensure that response is fast and efficient. An additional feature is the 'crime distress call' which allows victims to communicate quickly with predefined contacts of close family and friends. Users also receive security-related news updates relevant to their area, can view and connect with nearby users, and can choose to share their locations with selected users to provide additional comfort and protection. The service has grown steadily, serving 1,200 users in its inaugural year, and now 30,000 just 4 years later.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Usalama launched a new platform to connect people with places of worship and help the places of worship to manage their capacity in a responsible and 'Covid-compliant' manner. Users register as members for their respective place of worship, and additionally, they use contact tracing to make sure that if there is a recorded case of the virus the spread is controlled and people are made aware. The platform was launched and 111,000+ members have registered, making a cumulative 330,000 bookings at 89 different venues. An additional pandemic-related service was to send over 120,000 Covid awareness messages to users and contacts of Usalama. In 2021, the group is looking to expand through East Africa once it has established a stable base in Kenya.
Konservation - Kenya
As a predominantly agricultural region, East Africa is set to suffer a significant and disproportionate impact, due to climate change. With 70% of the population obtaining their primary income source from farming, climate change threatens the very livelihoods of farmers dependent on rain-fed crop for sustenance (1).
In 2017, Unelker Maoga founded Konservation, a local non-profit organisation working in south-west Kenya to tackle the climate emergency and facilitate rural community development. The Climate Change Education programme in collaboration with the Kenya Community Development Foundation and the Green Belt Movement has educated 3,200 children in 40 schools in rural agricultural communities in Nyamira County about climate change, and is now supported by National Geographic Explorers. Unelker also launched a Women and Energy social enterprise to increase access to clean energy technology in homes that lack access to electricity. With the help of the Global Greengrant Fund, it has established a retail outlet in Keroka Town which supplies solar lamps to women who run their own kiosks, providing income to female entrepreneurs and clean energy to rural villages. In 2020, Unelker and her sister Sylvia partnered to start another initiative to help marginalised women to secure financial independence. The Inuka Project employs rural women and collaborates with local farmers in the production of sustainable all-natural cosmetic products. It connects young women to education to help counter gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy. During the pandemic, Konservation and Infused Bath and Balms established a workshop with local women and distributed handmade soaps free-of-charge to vulnerable members of the larger community, as part of their Covid-19 response.
Unelker attended the One Young World Summit in London in 2019. In a seminar exploring coffee farming, fair trade, and exploitation of farmers, she sparked up a conversation with Daniel Holod. Daniel joined Konservation, and together they have launched the Regenerative Agriculture project. The project, currently funded by Purpose Earth, seeks to establish locally sustained seed banks for indigenous crops and build capacity on climate-resilient husbandry. The goal is to promote food sovereignty, provide crop alternatives to a monopolised tea framing industry and increase the bargaining power of small-scale farmers in the trade of their own indigenous produce.
Environmental Network Malawi
Environmental Network Malawi - Malawi
Malawi has been in a state of environmental crisis due to rates of deforestation which threaten to strip the country of all trees by 2079 (1). In 2015, responding to the deforestation at the hands of national charcoal businesses in a village in Dedza, central Malawi, she founded the Environmental Network Malawi (ENM) to protect the community and environment from being exploited.
Through a mixture of advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and education, Sue has revived lands in the region and protected vulnerable wildlife. Sue produces an agro-waste alternative to charcoal, reducing the demand for charcoal which drives a significant proportion of the deforestation in Malawi. These Yatsa briquettes are affordable (0.10 MWK per briquette) and provide local communities with access to clean energy sources. The organisation has sold 5,500 bags of briquettes nationwide, and demand for charcoal in 2,000 local households has dropped by 96%. In the summer of 2020, Sue rounded up all the villagers, village chiefs and local authorities to plant trees in Chigaro village, southern-central Malawi, to plant trees, clean up the local lake and distribute free briquettes as an alternative to charcoal. She also ran educational sessions to equip the communities to maintain the restored ecosystems. Initiatives like this have helped ENM to tackle the rapid deforestation in the region. Forest coverage had dropped as low as 30% when the initiatives began, and is recovering year by year, and coverage is currently estimated at 50%.
Another successful initiative has been the founding of a farmers' cooperative to support elders who are vulnerable in a rural community in Chileka. ENM has also run separate programmes to promote inclusivity in sport for young women in rural villages, people living in extreme poverty, and people with disabilities.
Bambuhay - Philippines
Mark Sultan Gersava
Mark Sultan grew up in a family of slash-and-burn farmers living below the poverty line in the conflict-ridden and one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines in Sultan Kudarat. This upbringing inspired him to find a solution to the decline of agricultural productivity for these communities, a recognised cause of widespread poverty in rural Philippines (1). Mark founded Bambuhay, a social enterprise generating opportunities for marginalised indigenous communities through the process of environmental conservation. He started this social enterprise with only $200. Farmers in a simple educational programme through which they are introduced to sustainable agriculture practices and encouraged to shift to bamboo farming.
Bamboo is the perfect crop for this scenario as it “rapidly sequesters carbon in biomass and soil” and “can thrive on inhospitable degraded lands” (2). The bamboo grown by these retrained slash-and-burn farmers is then purchased by Bambuhay generating 200-500% higher income for the farmers than their previous produce. This bamboo is then used to produce plastic-alternative products such as straws, toothbrushes, and bottles, the process of which employs 25 indigenous individuals, including single parents, Indigenous People and people with disabilities. And, impacted 13,910 farmers. This process protects the environment in two simple ways. The reforestation of 428 hectares of denuded land restores the carbon capture capacity of the region. Additionally, produce from the fast-growing bamboo removes the negative environmental consequences arising from plastic pollution, an issue particularly prevalent in the Philippines (3).
The enterprise has grown impressively since its humble beginnings. Bambuhay has received significant grant funding from the British Council and other organisations, raising over $40,000. It is also sustaining itself with sales of its products. The organisation has reinvested all of its $380,000 revenue over the past 3 years to cover all costs. The project's success, and the international recognition gained by Mark since speaking at the One Young World Summit in 2019, has lead to interest from other organisations in replicating the initiative in Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, and Brazil.
Climalab - Colombia
Maria Alejandra Téllez Correa
Since 1991, Colombia's National Constitution has embedded the necessity of education as an essential tool in promoting and raising environmental awareness (1). This is an especially important topic for a country where climate change threatens "significant and long-term effects on fragile and unique ecosystems" (2).
In January 2019, Maria and her co-founders Jhoanna and Andrés Urrego established ClimaLab, to engage and educate young Colombians and women in the country. A month later they began their flagship initiative "Colegios Al Clima Con El País". The primary aims of the project are to provide academic tools on climate action to schools, identify the main sources of environmental damage caused by schools, mitigate said sources, improve the administrative processes in schools to adapt to climate change, update curricular and extracurricular activities on the environment, and place schools at the forefront of sustainability and climate change education. In 2019 and 2020, they have partnered with two schools, Liceo de Colombia Bilingue School and San Mateo Apóstol School. The team works with teachers to integrate environmental education into the curriculums, and also run long-term programmes with students to educate them and engage them in tackling some of the causes of climate change, and create a generation of climate leaders within the institutions. They are also working to develop the capacity for the schools to measure their footprint and thus set themselves environmental targets, a part of the initiative delayed by the pandemic's impact on schools in 2020.
Additional programmes include a documentary that Climalab has produced to explore the intersectionality between the environment, rurality, and gender called "Retratos de Campo: Mujeres de Tierra y Agua". Another is a collaboration with artists to explore and depict climate change and its impacts in a gallery in Bogota. The team has worked in various spheres to drive the discussion on climate change, especially the collaborative work done in the framework of the "Climate Promise" project conducted by the UNDP in Colombia (2020). The objective was to make recommendations to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in regard to the update of the Colombian NDCs which allowed the team to coordinate regional tables to talk with young leaders from all the corners of the country to bring their perspectives and thoughts in just one recommendation report.
Tlejourn Shoes - Thailand
In university, Padinya studied rubber and polymer technology. After attending a workshop at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok, Padinya and his peers founded a non-profit that gives trash a new life. His project, Tlejourn Shoe, upcycles old flip-flops that have made their way into the ocean, turning them into new shoe soles.
There is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris floating in the world’s oceans (1) with flip-flops accounting for more than 25% (2). Padinya aims to reduce these numbers through his project. Tlejourn Shoe is powered by a close collaboration between Trash Hero volunteers, polymer scientists of Prince of Songkhla University Pattani, designer brands and locals of Pattani Province, Thailand. Trash Hero Volunteers collect the sea-wandering flip-flops from the beach, clean and shred them, mix them with the polymer glue and then compress them into sheets. The compressed sheets are then cut into soles to make new flip flops. Any remainders will be shredded again, repeating the process. The new soles are transported to a village where they will be made into flip flops and packaged.
Tlejourn operates on a zero profit model and a network of volunteers from diverse backgrounds. The income of this project goes directly to the local shoemakers and volunteer activities of Trash Hero Pattani. Through their project, they provide job opportunities for Pattani locals and support fair trade. The locals can make the flip-flops part-time while continuing to maintain their jobs and lifestyles. Tlejourn also supports local clothing shops and use their cloth for their packaging. Another goal of theirs is to raise awareness about the issue of marine waste and encourage their clients to adopt an eco-lifestyle through talks, arranged tours and Trash Hero Pattani cleaning events.
Yuludarla Karulbo - Australia
Despite progress in Australia in improving conditions for Aboriginal communities, said progress has been slow and there are still significant disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Yuludarla Karulbo is a social purpose organisation that is looking to tackle the prejudice at the root of these issues, by empowering young indigenous people to promote their community and culture.
Lisa co-founded Yuludarla Karulbo back in 2016 with two main goals. The first is to share Aboriginal culture with the wider community through Indigenous-designed products, cultural-activity workshops and cultural awareness and capability workshops. Based in Brisbane, Yuludarla Karulbo also operates workshops in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. In schools, these sessions may expose students to native Australian plants and indigenous cooking or introduce them to traditional oral story-telling as a form of education. Education is interactive, physical, and engaging. Yuludarla Karulbo has also provided cultural awareness training in more than 100 organisations, whereby 98% of the participants have left feeling more confident to work with Indigenous people.
The second goal is to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth to connect back to their culture and take part in activities that challenge them, and provide learning experiences to assist them in developing the skills required to become future leaders in their chosen field. Young Aboriginal Australians who are often struggling students are employed in the different programmes. They receive mentorship from elders and work experience to build their confidence. Of these facilitators, 98% feel more confident in the role, and 98% feel more connected to their culture.
BIMBA - Kiribati
Kiribati has been slow to adopt inclusive legislation on LGBT+ rights, and homosexuality remains criminalised in Kiribati (1). While levels of prosecutions are fortunately low, advocacy is essential in changing public policy and perception to create an inclusive environment for this marginalised community. Tebeio co-founded the Boutokaan Inaomataia ao Mauriia Binabinaine Association (BIMBA) to drive progressive change in his country. It is an NGO supporting the human rights of the LGBT+ community in Kiribati, primarily focused on the plight of gay men and transgender women.
The organisation partners with public and private actors in Kiribati to build a supportive network that is educating the wider population, providing support to the LGBT+ community, and building the capacity required to effectively advocate for LGBT+ rights. There are currently around 100 active members who both support and are supported by the organisation's activities. They attend the annual meeting at the beginning of each year to help to set BIMBA's direction and are consulted on strategy for new initiatives. Such projects include anti-discrimination workshops, presentations, and consultations. The team has conducted radio outreach and awareness programmes in schools. During the pandemic, BIMBA has ensured its network continued to be supported, through a food drive, and pandemic rapid emergency plan designed in collaboration with 10 partner organisations.
The organisation's ultimate aim is to decriminalise homosexuality in Kiribati, and BIMBA continues to build a foundation for the necessary advocacy by tackling stigmas and changing people's attitudes.
Monkiri - Canada
After leaving university, Trevor particpated in an impact investment internship providing debt relief and micro-financing in Cambodia. He noticed the underlying issue for late repayment tended to be education and knowledge. In March 2019, he founded Monkiri, aiming to become the 'duolingo' for finance. Monkiri is a mobile e-learning platform focusing on improving financial literacy and inclusion with gamified learning. It educates users on core financial concepts and provides transparent info on relevant financial service providers and resources.
The free mobile app uses a content management system that makes it simple to create, edit and localize lessons. This allows lessons to be delivered anywhere, in all countries, will an easy system to localize the content. Monkiri is sourcing partners to help collate the necessary, local, content. Monkiri has launched in Myanmar and is launching a pilot with content partners in Cambodia and Canada. Having access to formal financial services helps to economically empower people.
Trevor and his team have launched an innovative series educating people on how to manage their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. They've recently partnered with the SPTF to develop additional COVID-19 related financial literacy lessons. Monkiri are translating the lessons into multiple languages so that people all around the world can have access to the resources, and have recently expanded their Content Management System to allow more organisations to distribute mobile lessons through the app and continue to reach their users.
Digital Citizenship Programme
Digital Citizenship Programme - Palau
The internet infrastructure in Palau has expanded quickly since the investment into fibre-optics in 2016, which will be built on by a second internet submarine cable in the near future (1). With increasing access to the internet, it is of paramount importance that the population is equipped to use the new digital resources safely and responsibly.
Joleen, who works as Chief of Staff for Governor Franco B. Gibbons of Koror State, recognised the need to prepare the Palau population to protect them from the potential security and privacy risks which arise from irresponsible or ignorant use of the internet. With support from the Governor, Joleen and a small team of volunteers have organised workshops, an online course, and three youth summits providing over 1,000 people - 5.5% of Palau's population - with the skills required to protect themselves or their families online.
They have delivered 2-hour sessions for parents which include discussions, and learning resources, on how they can keep themselves and their children safe online. Three sessions have also been tailored for school children aged 11-13 to educate them directly on data privacy and responsible use of the internet. The CyberSmart Youth Summit has also been run three times, reaching around 50 children per event, with longer-form workshops, real-world case studies, group discussions, presentations, and practical lessons.
In Summer 2020, Joleen ran a month-long online course that delved deeper with 20 adolescent students into online safety and digital citizenship. These participants were also taught project management skills as they helped to shape the programme and agenda of the 2020 summit. Recently, Joleen has been awarded $10,000 funding from the US Embassy and Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland to develop and expand the programme throughout the country, and to prepare more people in light of greater dependency on the internet as a result of the pandemic.