RCE Greater Western Sydney - 2020


RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020
Basic Information
Title of project : 
RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Western Sydney
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Brittany Hardiman
Organizational Affiliation: 
Western Sydney University
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Monday, October 19, 2020
Geographical & Education Information
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Today’s youth face extraordinary global challenges. Youth are bombarded with messages about their future and challenged to make positive change, yet are not often given the chance to constructively do so at a meaningful local level. They are the focus of their academics, and via social media can be inundated with mixed messages of being instrumental change agents and/or overawed by the extent of global challenges. There are often very few opportunities for a large number of youth to actively participate in collaborative conferences and events due to costs and time. This initiative gives youth leaders a voice, motivation and valuable experience in learning to be the drivers of change in their communities and how to effectively mobilise their peers.
January, 2020 to December, 2020
This youth-led project-based initiative connects youth leaders working in their own communities to a larger global platform. The Challenge supports and empowers young leaders to have a voice while gaining valuable experience in learning to be the drivers of change in their communities, mobilizing the SDGs and their peers. Supported by the RCE network the challenge has run for 3 years and engaged over 18,874 youth and a further 4,100 non-youth (parents, teachers, community members) through 48 individual youth-led sustainability projects across 11 countries, representing 24 RCEs, as well as other NGOs and international agencies. Using a peer-peer learning model, youth drive change from a grassroots level incorporating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) principles. This year, project leaders have worked over a 8-month period to address and discussion the issues and explore proactive and positive solutions to address the challenges facing their region.
The RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 focused on projects themed on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 15: Life on Land, underpinned by SDG 4: Quality Education. Each of the youth-led projects are shaped by it local leader/s and interpreted sustainable development and sustainability approaches and education in a wide variety of ways. The program has been significantly impacted by COVID, however 9 youth-led projects remain active and have converted to an online format where possible. A final report will be produced at the end of 2020, and the remaining projects will have to opporunity to continue into next year.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Each project was shaped by its youth leader and/or youth team to address the needs of their communities in line with the annual theme. This Challenge has a global impact with youth in a meaningful and empowering way. It uses a peer-peer model for change, focused on place-based education. It takes on the global agenda for sustainable development directly through education and localises the goals for each specific place. The initiative targets youth at all levels of learning and from a wide range of backgrounds, to transform education delivery and to develop knowledge, skills, values and behaviours needed for sustainable development.
Size of academic audience: 
1,000+ youth and non-youth
We are still tracking the outputs and impacts from this years 2020 Challenge. Currently, 9 projects are still persisting despite the impacts of COVID on their method of delivery.
Lessons learned: 
The RCE SDG Youth Challenge demonstrates an outstanding leadership exemplar of how to engage youth across continents using a place based approach linked to a global platform for mentoring support and peer-to-peer learning. The Challenge for those involved is a learning curve from individuals into young leaders, and the first time many of them have coordinated a project, developed partnerships, pursued funding, advocated for change and took action. Working with youth can be at times difficult due to our many committments, but a worthwhile investment of time and energy.
Key messages: 
The RCE SDG Youth Challenge “Youth for the Goals” is an ongoing, international youth-led project-based initiative that connects youth leaders working in their own communities connected to a larger global platform and the RCE Network.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
It aligns and supports the Global RCE Network movement to support youth in the network and establish a network of 'youth focal points'.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth