By Katina Grigoraskos, MY World 2030 Advocate in Thailand
On November 3 & 4, 2018, international school students from all over Thailand participated in the first ever Youths for SDGs conference hosted at Wells International School.
Youths for SDGs is an academic event that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and strives to be a part of this universal call to action. The event’s objectives included raising awareness to the SDGs, creating a network of youths passionate about making change, and promoting creativity in finding solutions towards current local issues. With those objectives in mind, the event consists of three activities: the Breakout Session, the SDG Quest, and the Case Challenge. High school Youth Leaders led the discussions and activities in the Breakout Session and SDG Quest.
The Breakout Session is an interactive discussion where participants get to explore different themes of SDGs. The SDG Quest is a game where randomly-grouped participants can collaborate in exploring fun activities and booths related to the SDGs. The Case Challenge presents a current real-life local issue to the teams to find creative and feasible solutions to.
High school students from international schools were given the opportunity to network and share ideas, as well as capitalize on their creativity and problem-solving skills. A total of almost 150 students from 14 international schools all over Thailand participated in this event. Schools came from other areas of Thailand, such as Hua Hin and Phuket, to join in the event as well.
The event started off with the opening ceremony, where the conference director and initiator of Youths for SDGs, Prima Pupornchai (Wells’ Class of 2015 alumna) gave a welcoming speech. This was followed by a speech from our guest speaker Mr. Sorawit Paiboonrattanakorn, who gave an inspiring speech about establishing Saturday School, a social enterprise where volunteers taught children life skills on Saturdays.
Then the students headed to their respective discussion rooms for the Breakout Session, led by youth leaders. There are six themes, which covers all of the Global Goals. The themes include:
In the Case Challenge, the participants got back together with their teams of three and received the case for this year’s challenge. The theme of this year’s case, Waste Management in Thailand, was revealed. The teams had two and a half hours of case cracking time to find a solution and make a presentation. The following day was the presentation day, which consists of 3 rounds: the preliminary round, the semifinal round, and the final round.
The judges for the semifinal and final rounds were Ms. Chutima Pratheepkongjaroen, Social Impact Manager at Local Alike, Dr. Kallaya Suntornvongsagul, Environmental Researcher and Professor at Chulalongkorn University, and Ms. Qi Xue, UN Volunteer & SDG Research and Advocacy Officer at UNDP.
The winner was team Satit Kaset IP. Their idea was to create an application called MyWaste, which tackles food and plastic waste in Thailand by incentivising people to lower their consumption by earning points in the app. There was a 5,000 baht seed capital for the winning team to to implement a small scale version of their solution.
The closing ceremony concluded the event with a video recap and a closing speech from the conference director, Prima Pupornchai.
Overall, the event has inspired many students to learn more about the SDGs and to create change in the society. It was a very fun, productive, and memorable weekend.
Thank you to our partners, sponsors, school advisors, students and, guests for your wonderful support for this youth initiative. This event was truly an event for youths, by youths.