Our Challenge Grants for Young People have supported 180 social action projects around the world to deliver grassroots solutions to climate issues, benefiting 114,000 people.

Phase one

In the lead up to COP26, the Climate Connection launched a challenge fund to support young people around the world to tackle climate change through social action. 

Many of these young change makers had been trained through the Active Citizens programme. 

Projects focused on two core areas.

  • Adaptation and resilience: helping people, economies and the environment adapt and prepare for the impact of climate change.
  • Nature: safeguarding ecosystems, protecting natural habitats and keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.

These projects brought together non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations universities, community leaders and members, trainers, students, artists and entrepreneurs to tackle climate change at the grassroots level.

Through the fund, 180 projects helped to benefit 114,000 people, by delivering community-led action against the most-pressing climate issues. 

Training teachers in Indonesia on how to create eco-friendly schools and develop classroom resources from recycled waste.

Phase two

Based on recommendations from the Climate Connection evaluation, support was offered to scale up a selection of phase one projects, and further boost community impact. 

After an application process, seven projects received additional funding to scale up their activities in Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Vietnam.

These phase two projects are widening their reach through training and awareness-raising campaigns, to bring greater impact across communities.

This includes supporting teachers and school children to tackle plastic waste and transform schools into green spaces, educating communities on reducing CO2 emissions and effective waste disposal and recycling, and helping women claim new routes into economic empowerment through roof planting. 

Scale-up projects


In the city of Ambon, teachers are being trained on how to upcycle plastics into new teaching resources and implement eco programmes at their schools. The project is not only filling the need for resources and teacher training in the local area, but is helping young people better connect to nature and their community.


In Kampala, young people are being trained to tackle the issue of plastic waste through upcycling. The Urban Recycling Academy has upskilled more than 250 young people, including 60% girls, giving them the skills to create leather shoes, wallets, handbags, belts and children’s play materials from  polythene bags, broken household plastics, old clothes and office paper. The project has gained backing from the local leaders, and residents are encouraged to volunteer for a monthly community clean-up, where they help to sort raw materials at the Academy. Young people from neighbouring communities are now also enrolling in the training.   


In Ezbet Khairallah, women are finding economic empowerment through rooftop planting, which is helping to meeting the nutritional needs of local residents, improving public health and providing job opportunities. The use of rice straw bales for planting not only reduces costs while increasing productivity, but makes the planting process more environmentally friendly by reducing water use and the use of fertilisers and pesticides.

Sri Lanka

In Welewatta village, a group of young women have initiated an organic home gardening programme to support women farmers find new sources of income. The project also promotes the practice of organic farming, which has a much lower carbon footprint than methods using fossil-fuel based fertilisers and synthetic pesticides. Organic agricultural processes also helps communities adapt to climate change, by helping to make soil more resilient to floods, droughts and land degradation processes. 


In Rajshahi, community awareness raising activities, such as leaflets, public meetings and documentary screenings, are helping to educate people about proper waste management, recycling and climate action. The project has also planted more than 150 trees and has installed different coloured dustbins in local areas to support residents with better waste management and recycling. 

In Dhaka, young people are being trained to become role models for climate action in their community. To date, more than 300 young people have received trained, going on to reach more than 1,000 community members. The project is also educating people through awareness raising campaigns in public spaces and on social media, and has introduced an eco-friendly waste management system in local areas. 


In Hanoi, a project is working to reduce emissions from traffic outside a local high school through awareness raising activities, encouraging students and community members to reduce vehicle use, and tree planting initiatives to reduce dioxide in the air.