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Cygnus World School and Solmara Higher Secondary School Win the first Collins-SDGChoupal All-India SDG Innovation Challenge for Schools
Inspiring youth to be the changemakers
15 March 2022: Cygnus World School, Vadodara, Gujarat and Solmara Higher Secondary School, Assam won the first Collins-SDGChoupal All-India SDG Innovation Challenge for Schools, organized by Collins Learning, the Learning Division of HarperCollins Publishers, and SDGChoupal, in association with UNHabitat, Nairobi, Nagrik Foundation, Dainik Bhaskar, and Rishihood University. Cygnus World School and Solmara Higher Secondary school formed a private-public school partnership to work on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health and Well-Being. They worked with the local communities on menstruation and menstrual hygiene – spreading awareness on menstruation, breaking taboos, and making affordable, environment-friendly, home-stitched pads for schoolchildren. The first runners-up were Indirapuram Public Schools (Girls), Patna and Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Tigri and they chose to work on UN SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. The second runners-up were Navrachana Senior Secondary School, Sama and Government Senior Secondary School, Sonipat, who adopted and worked on UN SDG 13: Climate Action.
The Collins-SDGChoupal All-India SDG Innovation Challenge for Schools was a six-month initiative, launched on 16 August 2021. The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony on 15 March 2022, which was attended by all the participating students, teacher mentors, SDG advocates, and the jury members, comprising Ms Abhilasha Singh, Principal, Shining Star International School, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Brig (Dr) B.K. Khanna, SM, VSM, Lead Senior Consultant, FICCI and CEO ARISE INDIA; Ms Mary Hiuhu on behalf of Mr Douglas Ragan, PMO, Specialist in Children and Youth, UN-HABITAT, Nairobi; Dr Kalyani Rao, Global Edu Environmentalist – Sustainability & Certified UN SDG Expert; and Mr Nixon Joseph, Former President & COO, SBI Foundation.
The event was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Ms Ishita Agarwal, Programme Director, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI AAYOG. She said, “Initiatives like these give a platform to students to take their creativity and innovation forward to make a positive change in their communities.”
Ms Abhilasha Singh spoke about the immense transformation she witnessed, right from conception of the idea to its implementation, and how these experiences will help students to be the changemakers and continue the work that they have initiated.
Brig (Dr) B.K. Khanna appreciated how students, SDG advocates and mentors innovated to collaborate and work with the partner schools during the pandemic. He also mentioned that “ARISE INDIA would get in touch with the schools through SDG Choupal and Collins for their participation in the UNDRR Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on DRR being held in Brisbane, Australia in October 2022.”
Dr Kalyani Rao addressed the students as SDG warriors for bringing forth such innovative ideas to find solutions. She complimented the methodology adopted for the challenge – collaboration between private and government schools, SDG advocates, students and their mentors. She also mentioned that inspiration comes from real action, and encouraged the participants to continue their work on the SDGs.
Ms Mary Hiuhu, Youth Programme Coordinator – UN Habitat, said it was an exciting journey to see the extensive work students have done on the ground – engaging with the community, preparing proposals, working with different stakeholders and implementing the solutions during the course of this SDG Challenge. She encouraged the students to take the goals forward in their communities.
Mr Nixon Joseph said he learnt a lot from the students during this six-month initiative. He mentioned that it was inspiring to see the kind of innovation and creativity students brought in to address the local issues. He said all the participants were changemakers as they had contributed to bring in a change to the society. He complimented the organisers for moving forward with this initiative despite the challenges faced during the COVID pandemic, which he felt sent out a great message that if there’s a will, there is an inspiring way to achieve it.
Mr Sandeep Saxena, National Convenor – SDG Choupal, Director Youth Services, congratulated all the young changemakers – students from private and government schools – for their active engagement in this exciting challenge and helping find solutions to some of the basic problems around the SDGs at local levels. He reinforced the need to continue this journey for good, strengthening the movement for a better world.
Ms Rageshree Niyogi, Head – Marketing, Collins Learning, said, “The culmination of this six-month long initiative is emotional for all of us – all the participating schools, their mentors and SDG advocates have put in so much hard work, ingenuity and dedication to address the SDGs they had adopted at the beginning. It’s amazing what children can do, and this initiative is all about giving them a nudge in the right direction. SDGs are a universal call to continuing action to address some of the challenges the world currently faces, and it is heartening to hear that the schools, with the students and teachers, will continue to build on the foundation they have laid during this initiative.”
About Collins Learning: Collins Learning has been publishing educational and informative books for 200 years. Throughout this rich heritage we have maintained an impressive record in creating market-leading products across various sectors. As the educational publishing division of HarperCollins Publishers, part of News Corp, Collins strives to promote holistic development of children of all ages. As one of the fastest growing companies in the K12 segment in India, our educational publishing continues to deliver up-to-date and engaging student resources and exceptional teacher support to help schools tackle new initiatives and utilise the latest technology.
About SDG Choupal: The SDGChoupal (flagship initiative of Nagrik Foundation) is a collective community initiative launched on 20 Dec 2019 at The NITI Aayog New Delhi, supported by Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Ministry of Social Justice Govt. of India, MSME Govt. of India, NSIC, RIS, TERI, Nagrik Dialogue, UN-Habitat, FICCI-ARISE India, CII India@75, WHO, UNESCAP, ONGC, GCNI, BSE Samman, KPMG, Akshayapatra Foundation, Rotary International, Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with other stake holders. It is dedicated to support the national and state Governments, and institutions on advocacy and community engagement for SDG implementation in India. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets that all 193 UN Member States, including India, have committed to achieve between 2015 and 2030.