The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are announcing the second edition of the Swiss Youth and Future Prize. The 'Together we're better' competition is calling upon young people up to the age of 35 to submit projects that promote sustainable development and help fight poverty in the Global South. Another goal of the competition is to offer young people the opportunity to become involved in international cooperation activities.
Sustainability is the common thread that binds these initiatives together in helping in the fight against poverty, improving the quality of life for the world's most vulnerable people, finding digital solutions for local economic development, supporting projects that protect the environment. The SDC and SECO are offering a platform for innovative, future-oriented projects like centring on these – whether they are already ongoing or still on the drawing board. The aim of the 'Together we're better' competition is to help formulate concrete ideas for global sustainable development while also involving young people in achieving Switzerland's international cooperation goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of the 2030 Agenda are a call to action to tackle global challenges. The 17 Goals apply to all United Nations Member States, and Switzerland is also doing its part. The SDC and SECO want to involve the next generation in implementing this shared blueprint for peace and prosperity, as building networks with innovative and committed young people will help advance the transformation we need.
"'Together we're better' builds networks for cooperation, which is indispensable when we're talking about achieving global objectives. The competition gives young people the chance to meet experts and benefit from cross-generational exchange. The SDC and SECO are joining the next generation in looking towards the future to reach a shared understanding of what kind of world they want to live in and how this can be achieved," says Barbara Hell, who is leading the 'Together we're better' project in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
'Together we're better' is being held for the second time in 2021. At the heart of the competition is the ongoing dialogue that the SDC and SECO want to establish with the next generation. The energy, innovation and ideas of young people in particular have the power to transform society. 'Together we're better' emphasises the important role that young people have to play when it comes to achieving global sustainability goals such as the SDGs.
Projects from the 2019 competition covered a wide range of issues and involved diverse partner countries from Switzerland's international cooperation strategy. The 'My.voice' project, for instance, was about promoting active citizen participation in South Africa, while 'Plastico fantastico' involved turning plastic waste into sustainable building materials in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The Stay Clean association proposed the 'Toilettes pour tous' project together with their local partners in the Congo in order to improve access to sanitary facilities in densely populated areas, thereby reducing the risk of disease.
Based on the priorities in the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23, Switzerland is committed to promoting sustainable development. This is further spelled out in Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24, which aims to contribute to reducing poverty and implementing the 2030 Agenda.
The 'Together we're better' Swiss Youth and Future Prize is open to all young people up to the age of 35 who are involved in sustainable development in one of Switzerland's international cooperation partner countries.
Applicants have until the 30th November 2021 to submit their projects at www.togetherwerebetter.ch.
The award ceremony will be held at the International Cooperation Forum Switzerland, which will take place in Geneva from 31th March to the 1st April 2022.
The Swiss Foreign Policy Strategy 2020-2023
The Swiss International Cooperation Strategy 2021 – 2024
The 2019 projects: