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.
Guyana Animation Network Inc.
Guyana Animation Network Inc. - Guyana
The creative industry holds huge potential for economic growth in the Caribbean, however, is a sector that has historically underperformed for various reasons (1). Jubilanté is a lawyer by profession, however, recognised the cultural and socioeconomic need to tell authentic Caribbean stories, and decided to equip young Guyanese and Caribbean people with the capacity to do so by founding the Guyana Animation Network (GAN) Inc.
GAN Inc. is a non-profit organisation that provides digital and creative skills training, opportunities, and resources to children and youth in Guyana, the Caribbean and diaspora communities. With a combined vision and mission to lead, activate, and contribute to change in Guyana’s creative and digital industries, GAN has trained over 400 children and youth, including 186 girls in ICT, entrepreneurship and management skills.
The Guyana Animation Network has hosted annual digital summer camps since its launch in 2016, in which young people have learnt a range of skills such as comic art design, 2D animation, 3D and virtual-reality game development and design, stop motion animation, digital painting, character design, design for business marketing and app design and prototyping.
In 2020, a grant and partnership with the Queen's Commonwealth Trust allowed GAN to support frontline workers by providing 806 3D-printed face shields and to sponsor access to digital training and digital training technology to for children and participants aged between 15 and 24.
Flushh - Namibia
Kaveto is the founder and CEO of Worldview Technology (Flushh) in Namibia, a social enterprise that manufactures waterless toilets to provide an affordable, hygienic, and odourless alternative for people in developing communities who practise open defecation due to inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructures.
Millions of people in the world do not have access to toilets. Since 2000, the number of countries with less than 50% of the population using a basic sanitation facility has declined only slightly, from 56 to 49. Countries with the lowest coverage are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia(1). Open defecation, which is common in rural and low-income communities, can lead to a whole host of waterborne diseases that flourish in areas with improper waste disposal. These diseases can be medically and financially devastating in communities where people do not have proper medical aid, and travelling to clinics that are many miles away can cost a family their entire income.
Flushh is on a quest to provide adequate sanitation to households in Namibia. The award-winning social enterprise builds cost-effected, waterless toilets for people living in areas without sewage facilities. These waterless toilets provide low-income communities with an odourless, cheap ($100 production cost) and portable (37kg) solution. They include a solar light, hand sanitiser dispenser, secure lock, a mirror, and a coat hook. Their business model is based on training and employing local people to become sanitation champions in their community. Flushh’s waterless toilets address the hygiene challenge of open defecation and do not require new, expensive sewage infrastructure to be built. They also turn human waste into compost, which can be returned to the environment as fertilizer.
Green the Gene
Green the Gene - India
Madhav founded Green the Gene at the age of 8 in his environmental science class. Learning about the falling water tables in his home state of Haryana converted a very abstract idea of environmental degradation into a tangible issue affecting the people around him. This inspired him to act. What was once a small environmental club in a school is now one of the world’s largest youth-run environmental non-profits. Now, they span over 62 countries and involve more than 7,000 volunteers.
This youth-led organisation envision a world where no human lacks access to safe water, faces food insecurity or is forced to live in survival mode. Their projects drive impact by partnering directly with local communities and utilising extremely low-cost technology and data-driven solutions to help local communities in acute and immediate environmental crises across the world. They have developed low-cost (< $8), portable, and completely energy self-sufficient water purification devices to ensure water quality and safety through on-device sensors and machine learning algorithms. They’ve already deployed 8,000 of these devices in Mwanza, Tanzania, bringing safe water access to over 40,000 people.
With advanced biomass technology, they’ve developed clean cookstoves that cost less than $4, increase energy efficiency and reduce harmful emissions by 60%. They’ve distributed over 20,000 of these cookstoves in Sierra Leone and India. Their vertical farm projects in Uganda have helped 2,000 young people start home-based farming enterprises and work towards food security. They have also pioneered modular, flat-packable emergency/temporary homes ("Nostos Homes") for people displaced from their homes due to natural disasters or violent conflict. Each unit is delivered in the form of an easily-transported "shelter-kit" which can be assembled into a house for 6 people in less than a few hours with no specialised tools and costs less than 20 cents for each person-night of shelter provided.
Wayuuda Foundation - Colombia
Lëmnec’s project, Wayuuda Foundation, works to improve the lives of vulnerable indigenous peoples in and around, La Guajira, Colombia. Through close collaboration with the people they serve, Wayuuda Foundation strives to preserve indigenous methods and maintain cultural heritage while developing a synergy with the STEM field.
La Guajira is characterised by desert landscapes, giant sand dunes and the remote ranches and fishing villages of the indigenous Wayúu people. The daily lives of the Wayúu is heavily impacted by climate change, lack of resources, drought and other inconveniences with waste and energy problems, in addition to child malnutrition.
Lëmnec is a descendent of the Wayúu people. Though he studied mechanical engineering in the city, he did so with a clear objective: to return to his roots and help improve the living conditions of the community. Lëmnec has developed different projects to improve the quality of life of these vulnerable populations ranging from the modernisation of manufacturing processes, ethno-tourism and the inauguration of a school that offers ethno-education - an educational approach that perpetuates the values and ancestral knowledge of the community - to more than 100 girls and children annually. He has also set up an automated solar pumping system, which manages to extract water from the ground more easily, a task that Wayú men have traditionally done by hand carrying buckets. They have produced three prototype solar pump so far that provide water to 3,000 people.
Shuttle - Bangladesh
Reyasat co-founded Shuttle, a startup that addresses and aims to solve a pressing issue in Bangladesh - safe transportation for women. In Bangladesh, 94% women commuting in public transport have experienced sexual harassment in verbal, physical and other forms (1).
Shuttle is a mass-transit startup that provides safe transportation at an affordable fare by moving more people with fewer vehicles and primarily focuses on solving the transportation problem for women in Bangladesh.
With verified and responsible trip managers and a hard-working team, they work relentlessly to ensure safe travel for women with the highest comfort possible. Shuttle runs on specific routes with specific pick-up and drop-off points on a fixed schedule known to the customers. Their primary goal is to ensure each and every woman in Bangladesh has the freedom to commute wherever and whenever they want to. With this service, Shuttle supports an increase in women’s workmen work force and university participation rates. Their future goal is to hire and train women drivers in order to smash the gendered misconception that women can not take on this role. They also plan on developing a women driving school. So far, More than 20,000 women are registered in their “shuttle for women” platform with 750 rides per day. Shuttle ensures safety by incorporating a trained “Trip Manager” to accompany each ride, plus an emergency hotline and 24/7 vehicle tracking service. Each ride is also a fourth of the cost of an average rideshare trip in Bangladesh, which ensures accessibility. Shuttle also provides B2B services with their product “Shuttle for Business”. It provides app-based transportation support to organizations that want to ensure safe and comfortable commutes for their employees. They currently work with twelve companies and serve a customer base of 2,000 people every working day.
Girl Boss - New Zealand
Alexia founded GirlBoss New Zealand in late 2015 as a result of her own experiences as a teenager growing up in Auckland as the only female student of Advanced Physics and Digital Technologies classes. She started GirlBoss because she knew something had to change. The mission of GirlBoss is to inspire, empower and equip New Zealand's young women to develop their STEAM, leadership and entrepreneurial skills in order to become the change-makers of the future. GirlBoss is now a network of 13,500 high school-aged members with programmes implemented in over 100 schools across New Zealand, Australia, and The Cook Islands.
GirlBoss workshops provide a transformative experience. GirlBoss LEAD is an interactive series held in schools to inspire attendees to become strong, confident, and creative leaders. The “Changemakeher” workshops demonstrate why STEAM remains male-dominated and equips young women with STEAM capabilities. Finally, the “GirlBoss: Level Up” initiative helps young women to kick start their careers with access to internships from prestigious multinational organisations. With GirlBoss Advantage, GirlBoss brings high school-aged young women into the workplace for a 5-day rapid-fire corporate internship. Sponsor companies make a contribution to the talent pipeline whilst building authentic brand loyalty. They have also created New Zealand's most comprehensive online career accelerator with GirlBoss Edge, and 1,200 young women and 600 corporate mentors have participated to date. Finally, GirlBoss Awards recognise and award cash grants to trailblazing young women aged 11 - 18 from across Aotearoa. They have up to 9 winners each year in categories such as STEAM, Community, Enterprise and Arts & Culture.
Their members are united by their passion to use 21st-century skills to solve problems in their day-to-day lives and make a positive impact on the world. Through this project, GirlBoss continues to build a future where the next generation of girls and boys will have choices, purpose and power.
SNAI3I - Algeria
Education has been one of the hardest hit of the SDGs during the crisis in 2020. Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for UNICEF in the Middle East and North Africa, has advocated the need for an innovative reform of education systems in the region to counter this damaging disruption. One Young World Ambassador Yaakoub Benarab has been doing just that for Algeria and the surrounding countries. Yaakoub, as the CEO and Co-founder of SNAI3I, aims to enhance the imagination of the next generation, by leading an organisation that provides education beyond that which schools and formal institutions offer. Said education has the purpose of providing children who participate with the necessary skills and abilities to prosper in the future economy and wider society.
SNAI3I’s curriculum is designed to offer high-tech, innovative courses to achieve this goal. However, education is technical, but also teaches more fundamental aspects of education. It involves the essential education of “how to think and learn”, which is crucial in creating the leaders of tomorrow. Content for these courses is sourced from and guided by a selection of teachers, who are paid to take the lessons and help design the materials.
Children who participate are aged between 8 and 16 and are aimed at students from lower-middle-income families who would not normally afford private tuition. The course costs an estimated 30 EUR per student. The students take part in weekly classes over a two-month period in groups of 10, exploring topics such as AI, robotics, and 3D printing. These remote classes have been vital in continuing children’s education amidst school closures. The aim is to implement a means-tested system with free sponsorships to ensure it is accessible to all, expanding its reach further through the MENA region.
Peque Innova - Bolivia
Marisol Torrez Daza
When Marisol was a child, she was lucky to be able to access a good education. She excelled in science and enjoyed it tremendously. However, she was aware from an early age that not everyone had access to education like her. In Bolivia, only a quarter of secondary-age children attend school. (1). That is why she founded Peque Innova.
Peque Innova is an organisation that creates educational materials that support learning processes in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). Peque Innova aims to reduce inequalities in education that arise from socioeconomic factors such as gender, income and ethnicity by stimulating children's curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking that will enable them to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities for brighter futures. Peque Innova was born in 2017 as one of the winning projects of the ALUMNI network INSPIRA of the US Embassy in Bolivia.
Peque Innova’s programmes are based on workshops for children from 5 to 12 years old who do not have access to these types of opportunities in Bolivia. The main beneficiaries are girls and boys from public schools, rural areas, hospitals and orphanages.
Puente Digital - Colombia
Online access and skills have been able to transform lives, however, these opportunities are not equally available.In Colombia there is a need to invest heavily in the digital transformation as much of the population still lacks the necessary skills and education to prosper in an increasingly digitised economy (1).
Néstor Eduardo founded Fundación Puente Digital to make digital skills more accessible to groups that have been neglected so far. Fundación Puente Digital aims to inspire a new generation of digital leaders who can create change in their communities with technological solutions. Since 2018 Fundación Puente Digital has been operating in Colombia, in 2020 the foundation expanded its operations to México. Néstor Eduardo, with co-founders, the team, employees and volunteers, provides digital skills workshops to young people in rural areas. These workshops develop digital and soft skills by focussing on practical skills such as programming and robotics.
So far the foundation has provided this education to over 200 students, who have provided 20 unique digital initiatives. Puente Digital has also offered scholarship opportunities worth approximately 2.5 million pesos. In addition, the student volunteers who support the project as part of the organisation have been provided with workshops digital skills. This year Fundación Puente Digital is trying to establish partnerships in México to provide these workshops to students of rural public schools in Sierra Norte, Puebla, México.
ZNotes - United Kingdom
Zubair founded ZNotes in 2014 as a blog to share IGCSE revision notes. Hundreds of thousands of students worldwide take the exact same exams and yet, the access to resources, advice, and support available for them varies drastically. Realizing this after his first set of international exams, 16-year-old Zubair did what he could do: set up a blog to share the resources he created for his own exams. Through word of mouth, these high-quality and concise revision notes were discovered by students all over the world, and ZNotes was born. Today, ZNotes has transformed into a global community-led learning platform with a mission to end educational inequality by providing free access to quality education and empowering young people in becoming global changemakers.
The notes are designed to be concise so students can get the complete content while accelerating their revision for exams. With over a hundred contributors, the growing international team of students leverages personal insights on examinations and collaborate to help others achieve their best results. The ZNotes Discord server also offers the space for students to engage in peer-to-peer learning with an active community of learners; answering and asking questions as well as receiving advice from other students from around the world.
ZNotes' mission to end education inequality has become even more critical with the exacerbation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has impacted learning outcomes for many students that have been preparing for their international examinations, as well as shedding light on the issues relating to unequal access to educational resources. Through their learning platform as well as live classes and podcast, ZNotes has reached over 3 million students from every country on this planet.
Itetero Iwacu Organization
Itetero Iwacu Organization - Rwanda
Malnutrition is a challenge that is proven to damage cognitive development which in the long term harms school and work performance (1). Joseph established Itetero Iwacu Organization in 2017 with peers at college in Kigali to help tackle these related global challenges.
Itetero Iwacu runs three main streams of impact. For education, it has launched the Itetero Bright Academy, which is a range of nursery and primary schools across the country. The organisation works with the government, model private schools, international educational organisations, and private providers to implement five aspects of its strategic plan: increasing access to both pre-school and primary education for vulnerable children, improving the quality of education through a competency-based and hands-on learning, incorporating basics coding skills and other innovative learning approaches, identifying and nurturing kids with special talents, and strengthening a spiritual and cultural education in order to help children enhance their social skills. The organisation also runs FOOEd, a nutrition programme to create school-feeding programmes that improve the school experience as well as inspiring the physical and intellectual growth of children. The team organises community workshops to teach pregnant women, mothers, and other interested community members on how to prepare a balanced diet using available foods in their households. Itetero Iwacu also partners with nutrition-related organisations to provide food supplements to malnourished children in the network.
The advocacy department of Itetero Iwacu Organisation helps children living with birth defects and NCDs to get effective healthcare. This also benefits parents living with NCDs. These efforts are powered by academy teachers and community health counsellors. The team runs SMILE AFRICA TV, a YouTube-based TV channel that broadcast to advocate for the rights of children in danger, spot children with talents to be nurtured, and provide a platform for kids to entertain their fellow kids and the online community in general. The channel also provides educational resources for kids around the world, connects kids with people who might be interested to sponsor their education, as well as fundraising the money to support vulnerable kids at risk.
OptionsMD - United States
Morgan Hewett and Kyle Pierce founded Options MD in April 2020 after they watched a family member battle treatment-resistant depression. After watching him try medication after medication to no avail, they knew there had to be a better way.
30% of people with mental illnesses will not respond to conventional treatments (1). These patients are commonly referred to by the medical community as “treatment-resistant”. In order to alleviate their severe, debilitating depression, they often need cutting-edge treatments, which exist but are extremely difficult to access. On the other hand, cutting-edge treatment providers have difficulty finding the right patients to try the next generation of medications.
Options MD has developed a proprietary treatment and provider matching software to help Americans with treatment-resistant depression finally access treatments that work. Patients interact directly with the software, taking a short assessment and then being able to review personalized treatment and doctor recommendations.
They built a team of medical researchers from institutions like UPenn, Stony Brook University and UCLA as well as technologists from Linkedin and OptumRX. They've received investment from angels like CVS Health's former President and United Healthcare (through their Accelerator with Techstars), and have a waitlist of 1,700 patients with treatment-resistant depression that is growing at 30% MoM. They are currently testing and refining their MVP.
Hout Bay Volunteer EMS
Hout Bay Volunteer EMS - South Africa
Hout Bay Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (HBVEMS) is Cape Towns oldest volunteer ambulance service. The organisation has been operational since 1994, but Matthew joined back in 2008 as a volunteer medic. In 2013, Matthew took on the role of CEO, managing the executive committee to ensure the smooth operations of the service.
HBVEMS and its volunteers are committed to improving the access to emergency healthcare and training community members in first aid. It achieves this by running an emergency ambulance over weekends and public holidays, in conjunction with the Western Cape Dept. of Health - Emergency Medical Service. The organisation targets geographically isolated communities in Hout Bay that have low rates of health insurance and a high disease burden. In the past 5 years, the organisation has responded to over 3,000 emergency medical incidents, and 95% of recipients of their service are significantly socio-economically disadvantaged. Each call attended to by the organisation's volunteers allows the provincial EMS ambulances to respond to other pending calls. Priority calls are responded to in an average time of 9 minutes, 61% of which are medical emergencies and 34% are responses to trauma. During the pandemic, volunteers have slightly reduced operations to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus. The ambulance was modified to ensure crew safety and so that it could stay operational, and thankfully trauma-related incidents reduced.
The organisation is also expanding its training and education programmes, to empower people to protect their peers and react in an emergency. Having trained 30 people in 2019 to administer first aid, this branch of operations was put on hold as a result of the pandemic. However, the organisation aims to reach an estimated 100 people per year once the Covid-19 restrictions relax.
Eye Care for All
Eye Care for All - Gambia
The Gambia spends 42% less on healthcare per capita than other Sub-Saharan nations and 36.45% of healthcare costs are covered by external resources. Recognising the need to bridge the gap in funding access to healthcare in her country, Fatoumatta founded Eye Care for All.
Eye Care For All is a community-based organisation that provides free individualised home-based and community eye care services for the less privileged in society, including the elderly, refugees, people with disabilities, mentally challenged, orphans, and prisoners in The Gambia. Due to the exorbitant cost of eye treatments, the organisation has built a network to cover unaffordable costs of eye treatments, from surgery and medicine, to travel and other indirect expenses. The main treatments provided address glaucoma and cataracts, prevalent conditions which often go untreated. Another project includes the distribution of prescription glasses, donated to teachers via the Special Needs Unit at the Ministry of Education and community members. During Covid-19, the organisation has distributed 1,500 face masks to an overcrowded prison to protect 750 staff and inmates. Additionally, due to the closure of the referral Eye Hospital during the pandemic, Fatoumatta and her team have offered free online counselling and consultations. They have provided 380 free cataract surgeries for the elderly who were blind from cataract. One hundred cataracts were funded from the OFID's grant in 2019, one hundred and twenty-five cataracts were sponsored by Lifeline Pillars and House of Innocence Charity in 2020, thirty cataracts sponsored by ADRA Gambia in 2019 and the rest were sponsored by our volunteers and some Gambians who live in the diaspora.
Fatoumatta attended the One Young World 2018 Summit in The Hague as part of OFID's delegation. Recognised by the organisation, she was the recipient of a €5,000 grant to support the work of Eye Care For All. The team have also received crucial support from a charity based in the UK called ""Aidgambia - The Community Health Charity"" during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fatoumatta also leads Prospect for Girls providing vocational skills training and health education to vulnerable women and girls in The Gambia. In 2020, their project supporting women with disabilities was suspended due to the pandemic. Instead, they ran a sensitisation campaign in partnership with the US Embassy to raise awareness on the virus and how to prevent its transmission.
Lifeaz - France
In France, each year, over 50,000 people die prematurely from cardiac arrests. This, and the fact that 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home, inspired Johann to conceive the enterprise Lifeaz in 2015 (1). The premise is simple, to make defibrillators as commonplace as a fire extinguisher.
There are two main aspects to Lifeaz's work. The first has been the development of the first defibrillator designed for individuals, named 'Clark'. It is completely automated, selecting the correct therapy to be used without the need for the individual to make an informed decision. It comes with clear visual and vocal instructions for use and is lightweight and portable. Clark also has simple monitoring guidelines, a green light indicating all is well and a red light indicating an anomaly. It also automatically updates to receive the latest innovations. The second, and equally important, part of the programme has been education. Training in life-saving skills should be accessible to everyone, and Lifeaz has developed a programme inclusive of people regardless of their social category, age, or location. The Everyday Heroes app includes digital learning programmes to equip people with the knowledge and reflexes to act in an emergency. With support from partners, it also runs training in person.
In November 2020, Clark became available to the general public for purchase, having previously been in the workplaces of company partners since the end of 2019. After a long period of developing the programme and the product, it has managed to educate over 80,000 people. Additionally, Clark has been used to intervene in approximately 100 emergencies. As the product becomes more widely adopted by the general public in France and beyond, Lifeaz's impact will grow exponentially.