With the theme, ‘Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand’, this year’s Youths for SDGs event has concluded with the participation of over 150 students who got opportunities to discuss and share ideas about the SDGs. The event was hosted at Bangkok Patana School from 25-26 January 2020.

At the event, the participants pitched their ideas and competed in a case challenge. The winning team, students from Ruamrudee International School, presented a solution that would change the perception of the younger generation to take up agriculture as an occupation. They have made lesson plans as well as planned trips to local areas to educate their community with the problems that Thailand is facing in terms of agriculture and what their community can do about it. The winning team received 10,000 baht seed capital to kickstart their project.  

Furthermore, as Youths for SDGs recognizes the urgency of the effects of the pandemic on the environment as well as on the livelihood of people during lockdown, they have launched ‘Youths for SDGs: Environment and the Pandemic Edition’, an online case competition for high school students in ASEAN. The competition was created during the lockdown period as a platform to enable young environmentalists to create solutions to local issues. 

The teams submitted a solution on waste management and medical waste, energy conservation and accessibility, and air quality. The winning teams in each category were awarded with prizes and mentorship sessions with the final round judges. In total, 174 individuals from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines and Myanmar participated in the competition.

Here are excerpts from the winning teams regarding their solutions:

Energy Conservation Category- The Ventriloquists 

“We are the Ventriloquists and our project Eco.Calc. revolves around the development of an application which will emphasize the importance of energy conservation. Eco.Calc interacts with users by calculating electricity consumption by using data provided by the user, and distributes the results according to that specific user’s consumption. The results give a comparison to the user in order to provide them with the best alternative solutions. All of this is possible due to an algorithm we have created in order to transfigure all data that is entered into kilowatt hours that will be calculated into the user’s electricity bill. Our team sincerely believes that the solution lies among the responsibility of each and every one of us, therefore keeping the idea simple and affordable for anyone is what we prioritize.” 

Air Quality Category-Strawberries  

“Our team, Strawberries, has come up with a solution to one of the major sources of pollution in Thailand - the burning of rice straws. Since rice straws seem unprofitable to Thai farmers, they resort to burning it. We found out a way to convert the rice harvest waste to ethanol alcohol which can be made into our hand-sanitizing gel product: Strawcohol.  The price we give to the farmers will be higher than the market price. Not only does it generate more income for the farmers, it also provides a reason for the farmers to sell it to us.  This also helps in our fight against the ongoing pandemic, as our hand sanitizing gel will serve as an option for individuals who want to stay safe and healthy, while also helping the Thai economy and environment.”

Waste Management Categor- Beammms  

“TrashTrade is an online crowdfunding platform that aims to improve waste management in Thailand and eventually, all around the world. We aim to do this by allowing users to fund eco-friendly projects and startups using trash materials that would otherwise be thrown away, allowing eco-entrepreneurs all over Thailand to jumpstart their projects while also fostering the idea of circular thinking and partnership between the SDGs. Through TrashTrade, we hope to not only impact but also inspire, and as more eco-entrepreneurs join the TrashTrade community, the number of SDGs being supported will scale along with it.”

The Youths for SDGs team aims to expand to reach more students and include more youths in the action towards the Global Goals. They are looking forward to hearing more creative solutions and connecting with more youths in their future events. The next Youths for SDGs conference will be hosted in January 2021!

This article is compiled by Natnisha Ahuja and Prima Pupornchai

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