RCE SDG Youth Challenge

Youth for the Goals - RCE SDG Youth Challenge

Today’s youth face extraordinary global challenges. Youth are bombarded with messages about their future and challenged to make positive change, yet are not often given the chance to constructively do so at a meaningful local level. The RCE SDG Youth Challenge “Youth for the Goals” is an international youth-led project-based initiative run annually that connects youth leaders working in their own communities to a larger global platform that includes mentoring support and peer validation. The initiative aims to engage and empower local youth leaders with the opportunity to have a voice and implement their own place-based projects on issues that mattered to them. Each project is shaped by its youth leader and/or youth team to address the needs of their communities in line with the Challenge theme. Using a peer-peer learning model, youth drive change from a grassroots level incorporating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) principles. Supported by the Global RCE network, this initiative was originally developed and led by the A-P Youth Regional Coordinators, Brittany (RCE Greater Western Sydney, Australia) and Emmy (RCE Yogyakarta, Indonesia - who has since moved on). We encourage all young people around the world to join us and become a local change maker!

Highlight summary for the SDG Youth Challenge 2018 - 2021, with SDGs represented

Join the RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2021!

The 2021 RCE Youth SDG Challenge will again be focusing on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 15: Life on Land. The repeat is due to the impacts on COVID-19 seen in our previous challenge. We are welcoming youth-led sustainability project from any RCE's, university, school or educational organisation. To get involved, you must first seek approval from your RCE/organisation and submit a brief project plan online (opens in a new window) to sign up. Please note, there are no funds to support projects.

While project creativity and design are completely up to you (you might like to create something new or build on an existing initiative), there are a few factors that must be considered before you start:

  • Projects should be designed by youth, for youth.
  • Your project must align to sustainability in all its forms and the Challenge’s SDG themes (SDG 11, 12 and/or 15; and their associated targets) underpinned by education in some way (SDG 4). Finding links with other SDGs is also encouraged.
  • Projects must be led by a youth or group of (35 years or younger), however project teams can be made up of non-youth members (35 years and older).
  • Project leaders will be responsible for not only coordinating your project, but also the contact person to provide regular written project updates and submitting two formal reports (mid-way and final)
  • The Challenge will run from February – October, so you will be committed to your project for at least 6 months, but we always encourage projects to continue on after the Challenge.

Each participant will be connected to a network of other passionate young people, receive a branded certificate to acknowledge their participation upon completion, as well as have your project published in our annual global youth e-publication. Ready to take on the Challenge and become an advocate for the goals? Expressions of Interest (opens in a new window) to join the next RCE SDG Youth Challenge – Youth for the Goals are now open and close at the end of February.

Previous Years

RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 (SDG 11, SDG 12 and SDG 15)

The 3rd annual RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 “Youth for the Goals: Resilient Communities and Planet” was hosted by RCE Greater Western Sydney (Western Sydney University). It focused on localised action to address SDG 11 Sustainable Cities, SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 15 Life on Land. Commencing in February 2020, this year’s youth-led sustainability projects have been broad and included virtual summits, school workshops and DIY activities, training courses, conservation camps, restoration activities, design competitions, and e-learning development. The Challenge still persisted despite the impacts of COVID-19, with many projects changing their original project plans to adapt to worldwide lock down orders and the new ways of online learning, working and engaging.

Download the final 'Youth for the Goals 2020: Resilient Communities and Planet' (PDF, 11596.67 KB) (opens in a new window) report.

RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2019 (SDG 1, SDG 6 and SDG 10)

The Youth SDG Challenge 2019 commenced in February with a focus on SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. This year’s projects include clean-ups, photography workshops, youth/school conferences and workshops, technological and app innovations, registered training courses and disability e-sports. In total, 10 individual youth-led sustainability projects were delivered across the globe from youth in Australia, America, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Mexico. This year they collectively engaged over 8,000 individuals.

Download the final 'Youth for the Goals 2019: Social Equality' (PDF, 7055.18 KB) (opens in a new window)' report.

This initiative was a finalist in the 2019 Green Green Awards in Benefitting Society, and in the 2019 Okayama ESD Awards. Watch the highlight video.

Asia-Pacific SDG Youth Challenge 2018 (SDG 13 and SDG 14)

The first Asia-Pacific Youth SDG Challenge focused on Goal 13 Climate Action and Goal 14 Life Below Water, using a global peer-peer learning model which was youth focused and driven from a grass-roots level. The challenge concluded with a Virtual Youth Summit providing the opportunity to share stories and projects online with a global audience celebrating their achievements. In total, the SDG Challenge involved 23 projects and engaged directly with 8,800 youth across the region in Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Australia and Bogotá.

Download the final 'Youth for the Goals 2018: Climate Action and Life Below Water (PDF, 8512.25 KB)' report.

This initiative has been recognised by the Global RCE Secretariat for a ‘Outstanding Flagship Award’ at the 11th Global RCE Conference in Cebu, Philippines in December 2018.