Following an international search that received applications from 36 countries, AstraZeneca has announced the two winners of its 2022 Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 3.
Formed by One Young World and powered by some of the world’s leading businesses, Lead2030 finds, funds and accelerates SDG solutions created by founders under 30. Since coming together in 2018, Lead2030 partners have provided $1 million+ and hundreds of hours of executive mentorship to support enterprises identified through Lead2030.
AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) works to help young people take control of their health, especially to combat long-term conditions such as cancers, diabetes, respiratory and heart diseases, and mental ill health. These are often called non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are by far the world’s greatest cause of mortality. NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. 15 million of these are ’premature’, occurring between the ages of 30 and 69 (1). YHP activities support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.4 – to reduce premature deaths linked to NCDs by one third by 2030 and promote mental health and wellbeing.
In line with this commitment, AstraZeneca launched a Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 3 during the One Young World Summit 2021 in Munich. The Challenge welcomed scalable, youth-led solutions that tackle the causes of air pollution to improve the long term health of young people. Globally, air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths each year, including more than 5 million caused by NCDs related to air pollution (2). This makes air pollution the second leading cause of deaths from NCDs.
The two selected Challenge Winners will each receive a US$50,000 grant to further develop their solutions, as well as mentorship from AstraZeneca and YHP professionals to help scale their impact.
Meet the Challenge Winners
Enkhuun Byambadorj: Breathe Mongolia
Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition (Агаарын Харуул) is a non-profit organisation working to end Mongolia’s air pollution crisis. Their passionate and dedicated team is on a mission to arm people with the resources to fight air pollution on the ground and through policy. Breathe Mongolia creates bilingual digital spaces and tools to address the lack of a centralised source for quality information and insight into the air pollution landscape in Mongolia. In doing so, Breathe Mongolia aims to:
- Educate the public so that they can protect themselves and their loved ones.
- Build a community of allies to foster cooperation between those working to fight the air pollution crisis.
- Hold decision-makers and policymakers accountable by monitoring policies.
Through this strategy, Breathe Mongolia hopes to prompt behavioral changes and policy improvements that uphold the fundamental human right to breathe clean air. The team’s vision for their work is a clean, sustainable, and prosperous Mongolia.
Vidyut Mohan: Takachar
Many crops produce residues that cannot be used as mulch or animal feed. These residues can often impede the growth of the next crop and unfortunately the fastest and cheapest way to address residue removal is simply by setting it on fire in the field. However, burning residues has been attributed to air pollution that affects the respiratory health not only of the local farming communities, but also of nearby urban centers such as Delhi (3). Recent studies have estimated that this leads to as many as 1 in 8 deaths in countries such as India, and reduces the affected population’s life expectancy by around 5.3 years (4).
Takachar is developing small-scale, low-cost, portable systems that can latch onto the back of tractors and pick-up trucks to deploy to remote, hard-to-access communities. This system can locally convert biomass residues into higher-value products such as fertilizer blends, biofuels, or chemicals without any external energy input. This is expected to support closed-loop, self-sufficient rural communities, create additional livelihood opportunities in underserved regions, reduce air pollution and carbon footprint associated with open-air biomass burning, and ultimately improve public health outcomes.