Open | Applications close on Jul 30, 2024
12 days remaining

Unlock your impact with the Young African Climate Changemakers Challenge 

Ready to lead the charge for a greener future? Ashoka's 'Young African Climate Changemakers Challenge' in collaboration with the Anglo American Foundation is calling on young people aged 16 – 25 across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana to unleash their agency and innovation in tackling climate change through ideas and existing initiatives. Join us in shaping a more sustainable world and making a lasting impact on our planet's future!

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Who are we looking for?

Spearheading ideas and innovations that address climate change:
We’re seeking ideas and innovations that are aimed at climate change mitigation and adaptation. Thus, driving forward youth agency and the agenda of a sustainable world.

Building on existing climate change solutions and indigenous climate knowledge systems:
We’re seeking ideas and innovations that aim to enhance and support established and existing climate solutions and/or integrate indigenous climate knowledge – by increasing their effectiveness, visibility and impact, moving us closer to a sustainable future that incorporates more culturally sensitive approaches to climate change.

Increasing access to climate literacy at all socio-economic levels:
We’re seeking ideas and innovations that foster broader understanding and engagement surrounding climate change. By ensuring that people from all backgrounds have access to critical climate knowledge and bringing more people into the climate change conversation, this may result in more diverse involvement towards sustainable solutions and encourage agency within communities.

*Applications can meet one or more of the above 


30 May 2024

Early Entry Deadline 

30 July 2024 

Final Entry Deadline

9 September 2024

Semi-finalists Announcement

7 November 2024

Winners announcement

Early December 2024

Winners attend in-person event (Johannesburg, South Africa)




Prize Packages - Awards and Recognition


All eligible applicants will receive: 

  • Ashoka & Anglo American Foundation networks feedback on their entries.
  • Optional peer feedback via the Challenge online platform, including the opportunity to view, review, and connect with other YACC Challenge applicants.
  • Access to information and learning sessions.
  • Networking opportunities to connect with like-minded peers, and experts in the field.
  • Access to online resources on changemaking and social entrepreneurship.

Click here to view terms & conditions.  

Early Entry Standout
  • All those who apply by the Early Entry Deadline will receive feedback to improve their application before the final deadline of July 30, 2024.
  • $100 awarded to each of 3 selected winners, if your application is submitted by 30 May 2024.
  • Opportunity to refine applications based on feedback from reviewers.
  • Access to roundtable offerings with like-minded peers.
  • Feature on Ashoka’s communication and social media platforms.
  • Access to roundtable offerings with like-minded peers.
  • Feature on Ashoka’s communication and social media platforms.
  • $1000 for each of the 10 selected winners.
  • Invitation and hosting at the in-person celebratory event in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Access to storytelling and networking opportunities.
  • Opportunity for mentoring from seasoned social entrepreneurs.

Eligibility Criteria

A simple graphic image of a checklist featuring three boxes aligned vertically. The top box has a red checkmark in it.

Participants must meet the following eligibility criteria:  

Participants Age

Applicants must be between 16 – 25 years old at the time of application, and not older than 25 by the end of the entry period on 30 July 2024 at 11:59 p.m. SAST.  


Applicants must be a resident of one of the following 4 Southern African countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia.


Entries will only be accepted in English (Challenge communication & content will be delivered in English).


Limit one entry per person/team.

Primary country of impact must be one or more of the four countries: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia or Botswana.

Applicants must be the founder or co-founder of the initiative their application represents. 

Applications must be: 

  • Idea-stage initiative (participant has an idea on how to solve a problem they have identified and has a plan of action) or,  
  • An existing initiative that is being implemented at any stage of development (participant has proof of concept by having piloted and done first few activities/ has established activities / is scaling).

Winners under 18 are required to be accompanied by one adult chaperone to the in-person event and must be approved by their parent or legal guardian. 

Evaluation Criteria

Remember, we are looking for innovative and creative ideas at all stages of development, which means it can be a new idea or a fully baked one! Each of the below 4 criteria will be considered equally in the evaluation of each application. 📝For the full scoring scale and rubric for each of the 4 criteria,🔗click here.

Changemaker Qualities

Participant is passionate about making a change for the good of all. Unlocking their agency by solving for the problems in climate change and activating others to take action.  

Connection & Community

Participant has a strong commitment and deep understanding of the problem he/ she is trying to address. Their ideas and innovations involve community participation and are driven by the aim of creating resilient communities.  


Participant’s initiative/solution is original and creative. This might involve inventing something , novel use of technology, and/or applying new ideas to existing solutions. We are particularly interested in solutions  that can  lead to widespread change through mindset shift or community engagement.  

Sustainability & Scalability 

Participant’s initiative/solution has plans for continuing to create impact in the long-run through (a) the feasibility, scalability, replicability and adaptability of their solution in local contexts; and (b) mobilising resources such as team members, partnerships, funding or other support networks. 



We are here to help! Applicants can explore our Frequently Asked Questions page to get answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. Additionally, we will be hosting a few live support sessions where you can come learn more about the YACC Challenge, get some personalised help on your application, and be connected to a community of innovators. Join us anytime!

Have a question about the Young African Climate Changemakers challenge or need support? Email us at [email protected], or message us on Instagram @ashokachangemakers or @ashokaafrica .

FAQs   Live Support Rubric

Meet the team

Ruby Chikwiri

Ruby Chikwiri

Challenge, Partnership & Communications Manager

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Tsholofelo Diale

Outreach & Knowledge Manager

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June Wardé

June Wardé

Challenge Advisor

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Aravind Kannan

Aravind Kannan

Challenge Outreach Advisor

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People supporting the strategy, operations, and technology of the challenge:

  • Dadisai Taderera - Ashoka Southern Africa Co-Director
  • Stephanie Schmidt - Ashoka Africa Partnership Lead
  • Teresa Pereira - Challenge Advisor
  • Jean-Pierre Greenlund - Challenge Technology Manager

Are you a young changemaker taking action for a sustainable world?


Apply Here