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Young Global Changers Recoupling Awards

Over the last four decades, we have been witnessing significant economic growth in most parts of the world. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in inequality, an exacerbating climate crisis and a rising sense of disempowerment. This trend can be described as the decoupling of economic prosperity from social prosperity and environmental sustainability. The Global Solutions Initiative aims to address this trend by generating proposals to better align economic and political activities with environmental sustainability and social prosperity. With the Young Global Changers Recoupling Awards we want to recognize and reward projects and initiatives by young people from around the world which embody this recoupling-approach.

Recoupling-projects must be guided by a people-centric approach, one that puts the needs and voices of their stakeholders, customers, workers and communities at the center. The jury will be looking for particularly novel, unique and original approaches or projects that address specific issues which have previously been neglected. Projects must be beyond the idea phase and can include social businesses as well as nonprofit activities. (You can find examples of previous projects here.)

The best entries overall will be presented on the Global Solutions website. Successful applicants will also become part of the Young Global Changers class of 2022 and join a global community of more than 350 young changemakers. Finally, 10 participants will be chosen to present their project at the 2022 Global Solutions Summit (March 28/29, 2022) in Berlin. A jury will select three winners. The overall winner receives a prize of € 5.000, the runner-up receives € 2.000, third place wins € 1.000.

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Are you involved in a project or initiative that steers economic or political activity towards the needs of people? Are you putting environmental sustainability at the center? Are you challenging the status quo? Would you like to share your innovative approaches with our community of changemakers and policy specialists – while also learning from them? Apply now!

Who are the Young Global Changers? 

The Young Global Changers (YGC) are individuals with innovative ideas on how to make this world a better place. They must have developed a project or an initiative to turn these ideas into action.

The Young Global Changers program brings together these young people from around the world who are working towards a global paradigm shift, combining their talents and together becoming a strong voice for change.

Since 2017, the Young Global Changers program has attracted over 350 students and young professionals from more than 110 different countries to participate in the Global Solutions Summit and to attend the Global Solutions Summer School.

Read more about their projects, initiatives, and their current activities and viewpoints.

Step 1:
Complete the online application form and include all relevant information about your change project. There are no costs associated with the application. For a successful submission the following information and material will need to be provided:

  • Personal information (name, email address, place of residence, date and place of birth)
  • Project information (name of the project, project description, connection to recoupling)
  • Upload of th following documents: 1. CV, 2. project description, 3. short video (max. 5 min)

Step 2:
The selection and evaluation of the projects will be done by a jury. Of all projects submitted, the best will compete in the semi-finals and will be presented on our website, 10  will be selected for the finals. After the semi-finals, all finalists will receive additional information about the next steps.

Step 3:
The 10 finalists will get the opportunity to present their projects in front of a live jury of experts and a global audience at the Global Solutions Summit 2022 on March 28/29 in Berlin. The pitch can be held digitally or on-site. (It will not be a disadvantage if one of the finalists is not able to attend the summit in Berlin in person.)

Here are important tips on how to apply sucessfully.

  1. Young entrepreneurs or innovators who have started or are involved in a leading role in a social enterprise that aims at aligning economic activity with environmental sustainability and social prosperity.
  2. Young business leaders aiming at changing “business as usual” from the inside (“intrapreneurs”).
  3. Young non-profit actors, community organizers, advocacy leaders, campaigners, or implementers of social, economic, or environmental change on a local, regional or even on the global level.
  • The project, business or initiative that you apply with needs to aim at recoupling, i.e. a better alignment of economic or political activities with social well-being and environmental sustainability.
  • The applicant should have a leading position in the project/initiative they are applying with. (e.g. founder, co-founder, project-lead, initiator or a similar role.)
  • The applicant needs to be between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • Applicants need to be willing and motivated to become active members of a global network which aims at bringing about lasting global change.

Are you part of such a project or initiative? Are you heading an innovative social start-up? Are you trying to change your organization from the inside? Are you supporting people in need? Are you pushing or advocating for change? Tell us how and apply now!

Over the last four decades, we have been witnessing significant economic growth in most parts of the world. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in inequality, an exacerbating climate crisis and a rising sense of disempowerment. This trend can be described as the decoupling of economic prosperity from social prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Global Solutions Initiative aims to address this trend by generating proposals to better align economic and political activities with environmental sustainability and social prosperity. With the Young Global Changers Recoupling Award we want to honor, and support projects that embody this approach. We want to draw attention to best practices but also learn from them.

We are offering a full scholarship* for the 10 finalists of the Young Global Changers Recoupling Award 2022.
The scholarship includes the following:
  • Travel expenses to and from Berlin**
  • Accommodation for the time of the Global Solutions Summit (three nights, March 27-30, 2022)***
  • Free admission to the Global Solutions Summit 2022
  • Networking opportunities with great minds from academia, business, politics & civil society
  • Access to an exclusive global network of like-minded Young Global Changers
  • Possibilities for further engagement

*Please note that all expenses must be paid upfront and will be reimbursed within 6 weeks after the Global Solutions Summit. Do bear in mind that participants are responsible for submitting reimbursement claims. Currency fluctuations may lead to small changes in the total amount reimbursed.

** Costs for train journeys or flights in economy class as well as visa costs can be reimbursed. Additional costs may apply, which will not be covered by the scholarship (this may include local transportation in Berlin, food, health or travel insurance and more).

***The hotel will be arranged and paid for by the Global Solutions Initiative. It will be located in the vicinity of the summit venue.

Please note that traveling to Berlin will only be possible if the local health and security situation allows!

The jury will be composed of renowned experts, familiar with the concept of recoupling. The jury members will be announced before the Global Solution Summit.

– Download “Assessment of Application” as PDF –

Each applicant is required to write a short description of their project or initiative and explain briefly how their activities promote “Recoupling”. Applicants are also required to create a video version of their project presentation (5-minute maximum). The top presentations will move on to the semi-finals and will be presented on the Global Solutions Initiative website.

From these projects, 10 finalists will be selected to present at the Global Solutions Summit on March 28/29 in Berlin. Projects will be evaluated based on the below judging rubric. Your project does not need to address all of the following categories in an equal manner. The jury may choose well-balanced projects that do well in all categories alongside projects that have a strong but well-founded focus on one or a few of the categories above.

1. Presentation

a) Two Short Project Descriptions
Each applicant is expected to provide two short, written description of their projects. The first one is about the project itself, its mission, what you are trying to achieve and how. The second description should address how the project or initiative specifically contributes to recoupling, i.e. to a better alignment of economic or political activities with social needs and environmental sustainability.

b) One Video Pitch
Each applicant is expected to submit a video (five minutes or shorter). The video should underline and visualize an interesting aspect of the initiative or project, this can be a re-statement of the core mission and your aims, but it can also be impressions from the day-to-day work that you do, a customer journey, testimonials, an interview, stakeholder viewpoints or other perspectives. Whatever you think will give the jury and the broader public a good impression of what it is that you do, what you are trying to achieve, how you are going about this and/or how you are contributing to recoupling. You can upload a pre-existing video, an image film or something you produce specifically for the application. You are welcome to use slides, bullet points, photos, animations or other pre-recorded material in the videos. Be creative!

2. Recoupling Approach

From the material that you provide the jury will assess how well your project contributes to a better alignment of economic or political activities with social needs and environmental sustainability. Projects can address both domains, the social as well as the environmental. However, you may choose to emphasize one over the other. As mentioned above the jury may choose well-balanced projects that do well in both domains alongside projects that have a strong but well-founded focus on only one of the two.

a) Social Domain (People-Centered)
How well does the project reflect a people-centric approach? How does it put the needs and voices of their stakeholders, customers, workers and/or communities at the center? What is the aspired and the actual impact on the lives of those who are affected by the project? Who is included/excluded? Which groups benefit, which don’t (different genders, races, and socioeconomic groups)? How well are individuals or groups empowered through the project?

b) Environmental Domain (Circularity and Climate Neutrality/Positivity)
How does the project impact the natural environment, in their communities, regionally and globally, immediately and over time? What is the negative/positive impact on air quality, sanitation, drinking water, waste management, biodiversity, emissions, climate change? Does the project include, promote or provide avenues to a circular production, or more broadly a circular economy?

3. Innovation, Impact and Importance

From the material that you provide the jury will also aim to assess the novelty, innovativeness and uniqueness of the project, its design, or its approach. The jury will also assess if and how the project addresses issues of broader political, societal or environmental importance.

a) Innovative Character
How novel, unique, or original is the project? Does it include new approaches to a known problem, or does it address a specific issue that has previously been neglected?

b) Applicability, Effectiveness and Design
Is the project well-designed to successfully address the problems it aims to tackle? What can we draw, learn from the project, its approach or design?

c) Importance of the Issues and Broader Implications
Does the project address an issue of broader political, societal or environmental importance? How well does it address systemic or structural factors?

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