H2O Climate Changers Competition

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Commonwealth university students
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H2O Climate Changers Competition Image WaterAid/Abir Abdullah

Get involved

Have you got an innovative idea to help us tackle climate change and the water crisis? Want to have the unique opportunity to have your ideas presented to young leaders of the Commonwealth? Enter our H20 Climate Changers competition.

Thank you for your interest in the Climate Changers Competition. Please note that the competition is now closed. Feedback on submissions and further details regarding the disruption to the competition, CHOGM, and Youth Forum due to COVID-19 will be sent to all individuals who participated. 

The climate crisis is a water crisis. For some of the world’s poorest and more vulnerable communities, increasingly extreme weather is threatening already fragile water sources.

WaterAid is committed to highlighting the crucial role that sustainable access to clean water plays in both preventing and adapting to the effects of the climate crisis. And we need you, students from Commonwealth countries around the world to help WaterAid highlight the need to include water, sanitation, and hygiene as a key part of climate plans.

The challenge

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will take place in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2020. This is where we will draw attention to the critical importance of these basic human rights during climate change. With your help, we can ensure they are placed at the centre of policy and debate.

Young leaders will also be holding a Youth Forum at the Meeting and we want you to take part, share your ideas and help find solutions to four important challenges.

The four briefs

Choose one of the below briefs to answer in your entry.

Technical and engineering

By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions. While we know real change occurs when Governments, business and the public are all mobilised to make change, there is a clear role for appropriate technology and engineering to support climate adaptation. We also know that technology needs to be appropriate, sustainable and affordable to support these adaptation plans.

Key questions to answer:

  • What WASH technologies can you propose that reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts? E.G. increasing water storage capacity, increasing access to reliable groundwater sources, ensuring safe management of sanitation at the city level etc.
  • How are these appropriate to WASH focused climate mitigation plans?
Policy and international studies

We have identified three key Government Policy shifts:

  1. Prioritising WASH in climate adaptation
  2. Developing clear strategies for developing human capacity
  3. Finance institutions mobilising a ten-fold increase in investment in WASH.

Outline strategies we could employ to make these a reality and highlight the role of young people in these options.

Key questions to answer:

  • What needs to change in global policy to integrate WASH and protect the most vulnerable to climate change?
  • What role do young people have in driving this change?
  • How can Governments and policy makers be held to account and keep their promises?  
Communications and marketing

As major cities around the world face the prospect of a water crisis, a shift in behaviour in WASH will be key to mitigate against climate change and for sustainable business growth, both in developed and developing countries.

Key questions to answer:

  • How do we inspire the next generation to be part of the WASH solution?
  • How can young people lead Climate Action on WASH and lobby decision-makers to feel the urgency and inspire behaviour change with their peers?
  • How can companies, brands and governments connect young people to the water around them? And how can they reinvent its value, inspiring them look after this vital resource?
Business management and human resources

Young people have always been at the forefront of change, and this is no different for the climate change crisis. The current groundswell of young activists from across the Global North and Global South demonstrates a shift in young people’s passions and perceptions of their role and the change they want to see in the world. These same young people will, and are, entering the workforce across a range of areas and sectors.

Key questions to answer:

  • Are employers (both public and private) ready for this generation of inspired activists?
  • How do we inspire next generations to not only be strong activists but take professional action and be part of business solutions?
  • What skills do young people need to drive change in their future professions and be at the forefront of championing WASH-related climate threats and the adaptation that is required?
  • What changes do the work places and businesses need to make to engage young people and capitalise on the motivations of this generation for WASH? 

How to enter

Entrants must create a 3-minute video and/or a poster summarising their solution. The entry must be in English. Entries must be from individuals and not teams.

Please note the competition is now closed.

Thank you

We appreciate your passion and knowledge and look forward to your entries. Together, we can make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere.