Launch of 35 Youth-Led projects on Climate Action

Date: 25 March 2021

Empowering young people to put their own projects into practice, YMCA’s Youth-Led Solutions Initiative has selected 35 youth-led climate action projects in 20 countries for funding worth a total of some $175,000.

The projects were first put forward at or soon after the Youth-Led Summit on Climate Action of October 2020.

The top categories of the solutions selected for funding are waste management, advocacy and activism, food security, the green economy and employment, and conservation. Many of the youth-led solutions aim to partner with the YMCA, government, the private sector, or other community organizations.

“The Youth-Led Solutions Summit Series’ guiding principles are underpinned by the fact that young people need to be leading the change.  It’s important that we give them the stage at a higher level and enable them to have greater visibility”  comments Tom Valentine, VP International, Y-USA

“I think this activity of making coin purses from second-hand clothes is very interesting. It takes less than three hours to make a new life for second-hand clothes, and contribute to preserving the environment. We communicate the idea of being friendly to the environment to the children, and seeing their happy smiles when we complete our work is my greatest achievement. From now on I will pass on the idea of reducing waste and regenerating life to more people. I’m working hard to make a contribution to the planet, and to build a greener future.” Words of a ‘Solution Team’ member working on the ‘Creating a Second Life for Second-hand Clothes’ project from Tainan YMCA in Taiwan.

Young people aged 15 to 35, from across the globe, and with or without YMCA affiliation, were given the opportunity to participate in the October 2020 YMCA Youth-Led Solutions Summit on Climate Action which saw a week of regional workshops and e-learning, followed by a global online summit which opened on 19th October and closed on 23rd October 2020.  The young people formed Solution Teams of 6 to 15 individuals, which then fine-tuned their project proposals during and after the summit.

Each Solution Team was encouraged to identify a leadership coach (either on their own or with support from their local YMCA or Area Alliance of YMCAs) to assist them work towards their goals. They also used a Solutions Team support package to guide the development of their solution: they had two weeks to submit their project proposal.

Fund distribution was coordinated through the YMCA Area Alliances.

The following projects have been selected for funding

  Implementer Solution Description Grant (USD)
Canada YMCA Calgary Community Roots The project aims to challenge the status quo around climate change through education and developing a long-term strategy to build advocacy and action at the organizational level.




Canada YMCAs of Quebec

Guide to Creating a Civil Society Collective at COP26


The Solution Team from Quebec has developed a guide to help YMCAs set up collective projects, and by doing so promote youth involvement in fighting climate change. 5,150
Canada YMCA of Southwestern Ontario The Youth-Led YMCA Green Initiative The Youth-Led Green Initiative’s main objective is to address the problem of food insecurity though education and planting vegetable gardens. 400
Canada YMCA of Oakville Priority Neighborhood Community Garden Project By planting a community garden, the project aims to empower and educate low-income locals about environmental education and advocacy. 4,100
Canada YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island Climate Action Kitchen The project seeks to recover excess food from local restaurants, grocery stores, and other food suppliers that would otherwise be wasted.
  Implementer Solution Description Grant (USD)
East Jerusalem YMCA BrinGreen The BrinGreen project’s main goal is to provide locals with seeds so they are able to plant their own healthy foods, increase their green space, and be more aware of the environment. 3,000
  Implementer Solution Description Grant (USD)
Mexico Ecopil

Estrategia Nacional de Impulso al talento y fortalecimiento juvenil


The project is designed to provide youth with the necessary skills to improvement their environment, and capacity and funding for cultural conservation. 7,500
Peru YMCA Peru

Sumaq Muru


The Sumaq Muru project aims to produce affordable and non-polluting energy to help communities struggling with poor drainage systems, poor hygienic services, and pollution. 7,500
Uruguay “Huertas” ACJ / YMCA Salto



The project’s main goal is to serve the community through developing a school of resilience on the property of the ACJ -SALTO, cleaning garbage sites, and recycling materials as inputs to work the land.



  Implementer Solution Description Grant (USD)
Cameroon YMCA Cameroon Green Economy The Green Economy project’s purpose is to encourage the re-use of bottles. It will identify sites where bottles are discarded; create and raise awareness at bottle storage and garbage sorting sites; recover and clean bottles and fill them with compost and sand; transport and place them in public places, homes or offices.



Cameroon YMCA Cameroon Involve young people in environment protection and creating jobs This innovation-driven project will develop, design and implement a Youth-Led digital platform (in the form of an App) dedicated to educating, connecting people and mitigating waste within the community. 1,000
Kenya Kenya YMCA Unlocking bamboo value chain for timber in the furniture & construction industry The project’s main objective is to unlock the bamboo value chain by connecting bamboo out-growers to the construction and furniture industry, train youth on making and marketing of bamboo products



Nigeria YMCA Nigeria Use of Maize Husk, Plantain Stalk and other Agro-waste in the manufacture of paper-based food packaging materials for Positive Environmental Impact The Solution seeks to convert agricultural waste by modifying the existing paper production process for use in paper packaging of food products. This will primarily manage the waste generated from these by-products. 1,000
Zambia Zambia YMCA Your Waste My Treasure The project seeks to focus on public awareness and education. Public exhibitions will be conducted in shopping malls, markets places and schools, to showcase artworks that will be made from waste, thereby raising awareness on waste management and climate change. 4,500
Zambia Lundazi YMCA Lundazi YMCA Climate Change Youth Led Solution Team The project will educate, create awareness, and close the gap between the elite and the illiterate on best practices to reduce the impact of climate change among the peasant farmers and the general population of Lundazi district. 1,000
  Implementer Solution Description Grant  (USD)
Kosovo YMCA Kosovo #TeamTrees The project’s main goal is to tackle deforestation. Y Kosovo will build a nursery greenhouse in the YMCA Camp at Pjetershan to grow and nurture plants until they are ready to be planted in the wild. 4,675
Romania YMCA Romania Building Sustainable Cities As recycling is a huge issue in Romania, Y Romania will create a series of 50-minute workshops for High Schools. A “Hike and Clean” programme will restore trekking trails. 1,850
Scotland YMCA Scotland COP26 – Tartan Solutions

The team will highlight youth solutions during COP26 in Glasgow, though a series of activities, including ‘Upcycle Tartan’, a Tartan “Trashion” Show, a YMCA Beach Clean;

a YMCA litter pick; and tree-planting for each of the countries attending COP26.

Ukraine YMCA Ukraine Y-Green Ukraine doesn’t have a proper national recycling system, leading to problems in waste management. The project will create a 3-4-week educational challenge, each week devoted to a specific theme about sustainable lifestyle and combatting climate change. 2,800
  Implementer Solution  Description Grant (USD)
Australia Y Australia YMCA best practice climate action plan The best practice solution involves a centralized staff member at YMCA Australia collecting and coordinating data measuring the climate impact of each organization. 2,000
Mongolia YMCA Mongolia Green traveler, Green influencer The project seeks to conduct ecofriendly travel education to children and youth. 4,500
Myanmar YMCA Yangon Raising Climate Literacy The Raising Climate Literacy project aims to conduct online training on climate change to YMCA young people across Myanmar. 1,000
Myanmar YMCA Myitkyina Clean, Green and be a Greener The project will promote clean and green waste management through the placement of waste segregation garbage bins along the creek, and conducting awareness sessions. 2,000
Philippines YMCA Makati Kalakalikasan: Exchange for a Change The project aims to recycle single-use plastics, and to build a plastic recycling facility. 6,500
South Korea YMCA South Korea Oh Plastic No Plastic The Oh Plastic No Plastic project focusses on plastic reuse by using small plastics that cannot be recycled to create new products. 4,000
Taiwan Tainan YMCA Creating a Second Life for Second-hand Clothes The project seeks to create new products out of second-hand clothes. 1,500
Taiwan Taipei YMCA Make Tourism green & responsible again! The project will work to raise public awareness about responsible tourism 2,000
  Implementer Solution Description Grant  (USD)
USA Ann Arbor YMCA Cultivating Action through Responsible Education (CARE for Climate) The education and awareness focused project seeks to train young people to be eco-leaders, and to target changes in human behavior for sustainable water and air quality results. 9,210
USA YMCA of the Rockies

That’s a Wrap on Plastic Wrap


The project aims to change cleaning procedures and invest in more sustainable storage options to reduce the use of plastic wrap. 9,210
USA Kentucky YMCA Youth Association Footprint The Footprint project implemented by Kentucky Youth Association is innovation-influenced and seeks to create a web extension that alerts users of a product’s carbon footprint while they are online shopping. 9,210
USA University YMCA Vermiculture – Vermicomposting in the Champaign-Urbana Community The project’s main goal is to distribute vermicomposting kits and educational materials. 9,210
USA Sioux YMCA Combating Food Loss in Indigenous Communities and Beyond The project will combat hunger and waste by distributing food packs to the Cheyenne Reservation that would otherwise be wasted. 9,210
USA YMCA of San Francisco Climate Justice and Sustainability Task Force Creating an environmental task force for employees. 9,210
USA YMCA of Greater Long Beach Reducing Food Waste, Increasing Food Security The solution team seeks to reduce food waste by combatting hunger and waste in distributing food that grocery stores would otherwise have wasted. 9,210
USA YMCA of Honolulu Elevating E-Waste The project aims to provide education about proper e-waste. 9,210

Have a look at a few examples below

Creating a Second Life for Second-hand Clothes by Tainan YMCA (Taiwan)

The project seeks to create new products out of second-hand clothes

#TeamTrees by YMCA Kosovo

The project’s main goal is to tackle deforestation. Y Kosovo will build a nursery greenhouse in the YMCA Camp at Pjetershan to grow and nurture plants until they are ready to be planted in the wild

Reducing Food Waste, Increasing Food Security by YMCA of Greater Long Beach (USA)

The solution team seeks to reduce food waste by combatting hunger and waste in distributing food that grocery stores would otherwise have wasted

Sumaq Muru by YMCA Peru

The Sumaq Muru project aims to produce affordable and non-polluting energy to help communities struggling with poor drainage systems, poor hygienic services, and pollution