SDG Impact Projects 2021

From 9-15 December 2021, 100 young leaders from over 30 countries collaborated to create over 20 impact projects addressing four UN Sustainable Development Goals. Below, you find information about selected projects, some of which are currently mentored by the University of Oxford in the follow-up of GLC 2021.

Lack of education is a major push to child marriage especially in rural communities of LMICs, with children not going to school being about 3 times more likely to get married early.
The longer schools remain closed due to COVID-19 measures, girls are more likely to drop out of school than boys and not return due teenage pregnancies, which has drastically increased since the lockdown and most of these pregnant girls face criticism from parents and teachers forcing them to abandon school.
The economic hardship on families caused by the pandemic has predisposed about 10million girls to child marriage worldwide. 

Ensuring girls' access to quality education:
- providing free school supplies (so, less burden on parents),
- providing a transportation to school (bicycle for girls, so it's safer for them to commit to schools),
- vocational trainings (to equip them with new practical skills for further employment or work from home due to COVID-19)
- Conduct information and educational campaigns through local communities, churches or mosques among residents of remote regions on the consequences of early  marriage to young girls (physical, psychological, economic)
- Working with community based organisations to carry out community assessment 

Through the implementation of our actions/activities, we’d have informed communities in developing countries where women and girls are treated as key stakeholders in policy making using their influence and domain to advocate for the rights and privileges of women and girls.
Our educational campaigns will foster the promotion of brave and safe spaces and empower women and girls to be able to use their voice and skills to add value to their communities and empower other girls and women.
With these actions taken it will reduce the rate of early marriages which in turn will keep girls in school enabling them to contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities.

Responsible Leadership
This project demonstrates responsible leadership in the following ways: 
1. Changing the norm - with our actions taken we want to keep young girls in education and reduce the rate of early marriages. Our key aim over time is to change the norms and the way girls and women contribute to their society. 
2. Joy in seeing others grow - One key component of responsible leadership is making the growth of others a key component of your leadership aims. With our initiative, not only do we want to help keep young girls out of early marriage, we also want to help them get a quality education. We believe that not only will this help the girls, but it will also help the boys and the later women, men and entire community. 
3. Leading with empathy and compassion - We pledge to lead with compassion and empathy when talking with the different stakeholders. We understand that for example parents may see marriage as a safe-haven for young girls and we will have to demonstrate how we believe to have found a feasible alternative that may even help their children more in a compassionate and empathetic way. In certain communities young marriages have been practiced for generations and it is important that we listen to their needs and wants and understand that the topic may be sensitive to some. We aim to treat all stakeholders with understanding, even if their views may be contrary to ours. 
4. Active listening to the communities and our stakeholders - (goes hand in hand with point three of leading with compassion and empathy). We understand that in certain communities child marriage has been practiced for generations - we think listening to the communities and there reasons for child marriage will be very important. We need to understand their deep needs. This way we can try to address any underlying concerns they may have. We understand that without having the community on board, we will never be able to create lasting change. For that reason active listening - and learning from the communities - will be a key component of our leadership style. 
5. Focus on positive impact - We want to focus on the positive instead of the negative. 
Not only that but we want to center our communication by focusing on the positive impact - articulating it, believing in it and living with a clear purpose and vision. Positive leaders deliberately define and live their values, strengths, and passions, and they understand that the same needs to be done at the organizational level. 
6. Empowering others - we want to empower young girls and help them empower their entire communities. We truly believe that by preventing early marriages in girls, not only are we helping them but their future kids, the husbands and the community. A key component of responsible leadership also includes empowering your employees, letting them assume responsibility and empowering your employees to empower themselves. We want to focus on empowering others and letting them take ownership and commitment for decisions.

Education and Child Marriage amidst COVID-19

Whilst the public is constantly generating health-related data, such data - as an ever more valuable commodity - is increasingly gatekept, and utilised without transparency, by large corporations. As such, this data is often unavailable to institutions and researchers. Consequently, healthcare research is often based on, and reflects, limited selections of the population. Moreover, the resultant research is often published in venues and forms inaccessible to the general public. These issues culminate in a lack of public voice in health research and decision-making.

Munity, a community empowerment and equitable information exchange platform, seeks to remedy these issues through supporting individuals in reclaiming ownership of, and leveraging, their health data to instigate and promote research-informed change in healthcare and offers access to resources and information to support public health and well-being. Munity affords users the opportunity to select health research projects with which to (anonymously) share their data, and enables access to research-based healthcare information, insights, and guidance developed therethrough (researchers are obliged to share research insights, and are incentivised to engage with the community through a rewards system). Thus, the platform promotes transparent, representative health research, developed community health and well-being knowledge, and provides a forum in which communities may mobilise in advocating for research-informed healthcare change and reform.

Munity is foreseen as having a number of impacts. Firstly, the platform will democratise health research through facilitating greater public involvement and representation in research processes. Secondly, Munity fosters greater research transparency, offering a platform where researchers and the general public may engage and incentivising the sharing of research-based information, insights, and guidance. All of this ultimately empowers communities, the third area of impact, in taking greater control of their personal data and its use, developing health and well-being knowledge, and advocating for healthcare change and reform in an informed manner.

Munity: A Community for Health Research Democratisation

The Problem: Unpaid domestic care work done by Women. It matters because:
1)	Women spend 2x to 10x more time on unpaid care work than men. 
2)	it is the missing link in the analysis of wage gender gaps in labor outcomes.
3)	Lower wages for women means lower quality of life which initiates a ripple effect on their children and so on.

We plan to address the challenge by challenging the stereotype acclaimed to women on unpaid care through: 
Action: Leverage the power of social media to run a roleplay campaign. Participants strategically nominate the next role-play actors(including institutions).
Context: African countries with the highest social media reach - S/Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco. 
Partnerships: The Art communities (NFTs), social media influencers i.e. Falz/Mr. Macaroni; YouTuberWode Maya, Tiktokers (Khabane).

Short-term outcomes: 
1) Recognise the concept of unpaid domestic care and consequently promote a new narrative that encourages shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate. 2) Drive awareness amongst public and private institutions

Long-term outcomes include changing societal mental models on prolonged hours of domestic care done by women and redistributing policies at institutional & national levels that enforce paid domestic care work for women & shared responsibilities with men. 
Therefore, this project leads to a better world for the younger & next generation of women through leadership with empathy and creates an avenue for male leaders to empathize with women in their society. The project is a sustainable solution to Gender stereotypes and gender wage gaps, domestic care because it initiates a long loop that eliminates wage gaps as women have more hours to earn and more mental capacity to be productive.

Roleplay Challenge “Become a Wife for a Day”

Our sustainable future depends on local action and lasting and meaningful impact. This is particularly true for developing countries. To make sure, we achieve sustainable progress there, we need to adopt a new mindset based on new principles of:
 - Enabling locally 

- Fostering high-impact entrepreneurship  

- Building on social enterprise principles 

- Collaborating on eye-level

We therefore see entrepreneurship as the best way of achieving equitable and sustainable development. However, women in particular, still face many problems when wanting to start their business. We want to focus on education to remove the structural barriers that still keep many highly talented women from starting their business. These problems can be summarised under 3 main bullets: 
- Limited Access to Financing Options 
- Persistent Knowledge Gaps 
- Lack of encouragement
To support and empower promising, young female entrepreneurs working on innovative, scalable solutions for societal or ecological problems, we are designing a fellowship program which addresses those three topics by focusing on hands-on capacity-building, mindset building and financial support. The program will focus on practical skills and personal mentoring to support the founders through their journey and a monthly stipend will allow to try out entrepreneurship worry free and pursue their dreams and visions in a safe space.

This empowers them to create lasting impact and contribute to inclusive and meaningful growth. We believe many challenges in the development context can be solved through making entrepreneurship more accessible and fostering innovation which will countries to leapfrog development. We do this by unleashing the power of technology and focusing on scalable, high-growth initiatives and help them to scale up and run their business successfully.  This will enable us to establish financial equality and trigger societal change by creating a ripple effect that magnifies our impact beyond what we could have achieved alone.

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries

- Challenge: 

Climate refugees are people displaced due to extreme weather events caused due to climate change, which could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. Currently, extreme weather events and natural disasters contribute to the displacement of more than 200 million people per year. Informal settlements have an estimated growth rate of 9.85%. As of 2021, over 1 billion people who live in slums, are more vulnerable if they live near high-disaster-risk areas. Climate justice recognises that climate change can have a variety of social, economic, public health, and other negative consequences for impoverished populations. Therefore, tracking informal settlements which are high risk is important for climate justice to ensure timely aid and policy intervention. 

- Solution: 

Our solution is two-fold, first involves identification and tracking of informal settlements, and second is to recommend policy interventions using machine learning. How are we going to achieve that? A web-based dashboard for all stakeholders to engage with. Our pipeline begins with data collection as we collect and process satellite data using open-access Copernicus services. We build a supervised machine learning model with labels of regions of high disaster risk and existing informal settlements using the locations known from the literature. Using the model, we identify regions of informal settlements. We infer the size of informal settlements via satellite data and the spatial resolution of the satellite used. Over time, we aim to use the dashboard to visualise and reflect the impact of climate-based extreme weather events on the size, shape, location, migration and estimated population density of informal settlements. As we deploy the dashboard, we aim to collect data about policy interventions in the regions of interest via our stakeholders over time. We measure the effectiveness of policy intervention first by visualising the changes in informal settlement sizes and second by conducting qualitative surveys and asking climate refugees about their feedback. We incorporate the policy effectiveness and recommendation information on our web-based dashboard as a pop-up text as one hovers over a particular location.

- Impact: 

Our solution is aimed to maximize positive impact on people at risk, and efficiency of disaster response. First, sharing the location and migration of vulnerable communities via our dashboard means international, national or local aid can increase the quality of life and protect human rights. Second, it fosters collaboration between NGOs, governments, the private sector and academia to create better intervention strategies to help displaced communities in extreme climate events. Every leader in the public or private sector has a limited time to make quick and efficient decisions. Our tool compresses huge amounts of information to recommend policies and allocate optimal resources for climate refugees. Third, we provide an ethical mapping of regions to prevent data misuse and enable access to geographical data visualisations to only relevant stakeholders. We mitigate any security, privacy or social risks as we do not reveal the exact location of any specific individual. Lastly, our tools can help smart construction and rebuilding long-term housing for displaced minorities in newer and low-risk areas. With our solution, we support not only SDG 13 (Climate Action) but also SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities And Communities) as well. We innovate responsibly by creating new societal value for the poorest of the poor, often ignored in sustainable development goals.

Protect Climate Refugees

During this pandemic, have you felt increased levels of anxiety? Or had trouble sleeping? Or felt increased levels of loneliness? If your answer is YES to any of these, you’re not alone. As we faced worldwide lockdowns and lost loved ones to this terrifying virus, we have grappled with some tough emotions.

While COVID-19 has been ravaging our world, there is an undercurrent of a global mental health crisis that has gone largely neglected. It has affected 1 billion people globally, and COVID-19 has accounted for an additional >100M cases of depression and anxiety. 40% of those in distress do not seek help. For those who seeked help, only 50% are correctly diagnosed with the current subjective diagnostic criteria. If we do not act promptly, the mental health crisis is projected to cost $16 trillion USD to the global economy, primarily due to early age of onset and loss of productivity.

What if we could have a simple non-invasive wearable device that is able to objectively detect physiological indicators of mental distress? What if we could have an algorithm which predicts the level of mental distress that requires medical attention, and immediately connects you with a medical professional via telehealth?

We present to you Sensiment, an integrated platform that comprises a non-invasive wearable hardware and a smartphone application. The wearable device leverages state of the art sensing technologies to monitor physiological parameters of mental distress such as heart rate, body temperature, skin conductance and sweat cortisol levels. By using a machine learning algorithm, we can then use these indicators to build a multivariable model to predict significant mental distress levels. This will then notify the user, which can prompt the user for a follow-up action through the app's self-care kit, AI chatbot and ultimately a telehealth consultation with a mental health professional. 

After the Global Leadership Challenge, our multidisciplinary team comprising of healthcare professionals, engineers, and social scientists, will work on producing the prototype and then carrying out a small scale pilot study in a developed country, such as the UK where most people would have a smartphone device. We will then evaluate the sensitivity, specificity and effectiveness of our product. If proven to be satisfactory, we will then expand nationally, regionally and then internationally to the rest of the world, especially in the low to middle income countries. 

Now imagine a world where this technology reaches the hands of people without access to professional mental health services - how much could their lives be changed? This could help bridge mental health inequality globally, where everyone can receive the care they need, anytime, anywhere. 

The war against the mental health crisis is an incredibly complex challenge, we will not be able to make a dent on this crisis without you.

Will you be up for the challenge and join us in our fight?

SENSIMENT – Addressing the Global Mental Health Crisis

Climate Education Project “GALE” wins the Global Leadership Challenge 2021

From 9-15 December 2021, 100 young leaders from over 30 countries collaborated to create impact projects addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.