SDSN Panel: SDG Innovators

Global Development Commons (GDC)
Global Development Commons (GDC)
Publication Year:
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The Global Development Commons and SDSN Youth Present: "Youth Innovations in Advancing the 2030 Agenda"



The Global Development Commons in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Initiative hosted some of the brightest minds tackling innovative solutions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.





Meet the Panel

Leticia Pinheiro, Local Pathways Fellow

Brazil, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative

Leticia Pinheiro



The voices of Belo Horizonte women: Collectively building public spaces that are safe and inclusive for all.


In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, women and girls face violence not only in their homes and relationships but also in public spaces. Whether due to intimidation, harassment, or fear, violence limits women's mobility, influencing the way women use and occupy the city. This brings deeper reflection on where, how and when women are allowed to walk in their own cities.


To understand how to plan and manage urban environments so that they are safe and inclusive for women and girls, managers and planners must have accurate information about women’s experiences in the city. The best way to do this is by consulting and making them an integral part of the decision-making process. As a Local Pathway Fellow, Leticia organized two large seminars with the Belo Horizonte government, bringing together civil society, academia, and the city council to debate the lack of a gender perspective in the city planning. Also, she organized a Women's Security Audit in the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in order to bring women together to evaluate public spaces' safety and to recommend changes and improvements. The Women's Safety Audit is a participatory methodology designed to provide detailed information on women's safety issues and to empower women to work with local decision-makers for positive change in the community.


The events, workshops, and activities organized during the Local Pathways program brought together more than 200 people, including city officials, students, urban planners, and civil society organizations. The women's safety audit carried out on the university campus gained national attention, as it was part of the urban circuit organized by the UN-Habitat. Besides, in collaboration with civil society organizations, Leticia has secured a budget of approximately $ 20,000 from the state government to finance new mechanisms for reporting harassment on public transport, which will soon be implemented across the city.




Boris Bulayev, Educate!

Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative

Boris Bulayev



Educate! prepares youth in Africa with the skills to succeed in today’s economy.


Africa will be 40% of the world by 2100 — its population is expected to grow from 1.2 to 4 billion, and as many as 90% of its youth are projected to work in the informal sector. These demographics, along with a scarcity of jobs, have led to dramatic rates of youth unemployment. Education systems around the world already face challenges meeting young people’s needs — current curricula and teaching methods don’t consistently prepare students for what’s to come following graduation. Despite an eagerness and commitment to learn, even students who finish secondary school often find themselves lacking the skills needed to attain further education, overcome gender inequities and secure one of the few available jobs, leading to unemployment and underemployment.


Educate! believes that by transforming post-primary education and the transition to employment, we can equip youth with the skills to disrupt the systemic problem of youth unemployment. By creating new skills-based educational models that change what and how young people learn, Educate! is empowering youth with the skills to drive measurable change. Educate!’s experiential solutions teach the transferable/soft skills demanded most by both employers and students themselves, such as teamwork, public speaking, networking, critical thinking, self-confidence, and creativity, and on top of those foundational soft skills, we layer the hard skills of business including planning, budgeting, savings, and market research.


Two rigorous external evaluations of our flagship in-school model, including a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), found that towards the end of secondary school, participants of our program earn nearly double the income of their peers. A follow-up RCT found that four years later, youth have improved transferable/soft skills, like grit, creativity and self efficacy, increased secondary graduation rates, increased tertiary enrollment for women, increased tertiary completion, and are pursuing higher-earning majors. Female participants are also having fewer children, delaying pregnancy, and experiencing less domestic violence. These large and durable shifts in skills, coupled with significant improvements in education and gender-related outcomes, shows that participating in Educate! sets youth on a higher trajectory. Our graduates change their lives and their communities, such as Daniel who opened a rural health clinic in his community employing two people and conducting about 350 checkups per month.




Sofia Cavalleri

Thailand, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative

PhD-researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute and at the Department of Environment, Development and Sustainability (Chulalongkorn University), Bangkok, Thailand.

Sofia Cavalleri



Community-based agritourism to link rural food producers with urban consumers: localizing SDG 11.a in Bangkok.


Covid-19 has recently disrupted our complex linear food systems. Due to the phenomenon of unplanned urbanization, unchecked industrialization and loss of multifunctional peri-urban agricultural land-use, cities are becoming increasingly reliant on their regional hinterlands for resources such as food, considered as one of the main provisioning ecosystem services (UNEP, 2009). 


Community-based agritourism practice models have emerged in Bangkok city-regional food system to support sustainable social, economic, and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas, localizing SDG 11.a. 

Best practices

An overview of what the youth-led start-up is achieving with its Happy Trips to the hinterlands near Bangkok and what the Organic Tourism Thailand movement is all about. 




Rahul Kumar

India, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative

Rahul Kumar



Promoting organic farming in state of Goa and formulating marketing strategies to remove intermediaries to give farmers fair prices. Lot of farmers were unaware of prices of organic produce to be sold; surplus produce was getting wasted. Also, remote location of villages and farming lands made them vulnerable to sell them to intermediaries at low cost.


Tying and setting up a unit called Food Producers Organization which helped in procurement of these organic produce at fairer and transparent prices and selling it into the market. Large collaborations with local restaurants and hotels in Goa for selling these organic produces in masses rather than importing from different parts of the country. Applied crop rotation to reduce land wastage and increased surplus.


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