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Youth Power Hacks: shaping global solutions with young people


Authored by Richard Curtis

With eyes on the Global Goals, it’s time to welcome a new set of problem solvers – the world’s future leaders.

Youth Power Hacks: shaping global solutions with young people

About the author

Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis

Co-Founder of Project Everyone

"Businesses are crucial to achieving the Global Goals, so it gives me great joy
to see companies partnering with activists and community organisers to support
grassroots change. I really believe we need to see more of these types of
partnerships as communities begin to recover from this pandemic and we
re-imagine a better future together.

"On a personal note, my father worked for Unilever all his life, so it has been
a real delight watching them lead the way in redefining what it means to be a
responsible, innovative, global business, and we are hugely grateful to be a
part of that journey."

Five years ago, the UN laid out a compelling vision for the future. The Global Goals present a framework for a cleaner, fairer, more inclusive world for all.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, momentum towards this vision has slowed. Indeed, the knock-on effects of the pandemic have seen progress in certain areas stall altogether or even go into reverse.

Yet, the promise of the Global Goals for a brighter future still very much stands. And at Unilever, we remain more committed than ever to seeing it realised.

Youth power

The Global Goals’ target date of 2030 is inching ever closer. With each passing day, the stakes – for both society and the planet – get higher.

Who can help us? Young people. More than half the global population is under 30. That’s an immense pool of creativity and imagination.

It’s not just that the world’s youth have more passion for change than anyone else. They could be said to have more of a motivation to see change happen. After all, actions taken today will shape the lives they live tomorrow.

Hacking for solutions

Enter the Youth Power Hacks. Held in six countries over three months, this global online initiative will see hundreds of young hackers use their ingenuity, on their terms, to create their own solutions.

Unilever is joining with two inspiring civil society organisations – Project Everyone and Restless Development – to make it happen. Linking all three of us is a shared desire for the solutions of participating hackers to deliver tangible impacts for their home communities.

2021: a year of action

The multi-country hackathon has the Global Goals as its compass and youth power as its driving force, says Inés Yábar, Restless Development’s Senior Global Campaigns Coordinator:

“We are looking forward to seeing passionate and innovative young people come together to collaborate and find solutions to the toughest problems in their country. 2020 was a year for solidarity, 2021 is the year of action and we're ready to make that happen through these hacks.”

Get involved?

The Youth Power Hacks will be run across Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, India, the Philippines and Indonesia, from February to April 2021.

What’s a hack? A ‘hack’ is a fast-paced and fun approach to come up with new ideas and solutions to often difficult challenges. It brings together people from different backgrounds and experiences to tackle a problem and work together, at speed, to design new ideas. From health and climate through to education and equality, we guarantee the topics will be as broad as they are challenging.

Photo credit: Rich Hardcastle

How to apply to the Youth Power Hacks

If you’re 18–30 years old and want to make a difference in your local community and beyond, you can apply to join the Youth Power Hacks from 15 December 2020.

The six separate hackathons are scheduled for the following dates:

Kenya – 5 February 2021
South Africa – 19 February 2021
Nigeria – 5 March 2021
Indonesia – 19 March 2021
India – 9 April 2021
The Philippines – 23 April 2021

For those who do not live in one of our six designated countries, you’re still welcome to apply to the hack closest to your home, as a small number of people from other locations may still be selected to take part. We also host a wide range of actions to take part in on our Take Action hub.

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