The UN2023 Gamechangers Challenge Finals

Youth & Education

Water related issues are one of the greatest challenges facing humanity currently. In just one generation, we have inflicted such serious harm on the water cycle that it puts all of us at risk. Young people already suffer disproportionately from the consequences of growing water scarcity and water pollution, but there are also many young activists and entrepreneurs with inspiring solutions for how to manage water better. We need these voices at New York Water Week, which will be a meeting place for intergenerational dialogues and knowledge exchange. Together we can redesign our societies based on insights from both research and lived experience.


The UN2023 Gamechanger Challenge by Wavemakers United and IHE Delft is exactly the kind of initiative that allows young people from all over the world a podium to present the innovative power of youth. The premise of the Gamechanger Challenge, is that student groups from all over the world were given the opportunity to sign up with their inventions, innovations or ideas, and to develop them further as the Challenge progressed.

More than 200 student groups from over 60 countries signed up with their creations; all continents were represented, with students hailing from countries such as Indonesia, Uganda, Bolivia and Italy stood up to face the issues of today and tomorrow. This winter, the top 20 proposals were selected by the Jury for the following round. While those twenty proposals were all brilliant examples of the innovative power of youth in water, only the five best teams could go through to the finals of the UN2023 Gamechanger Challenge.

The Grand Finals and its Contestants

The New York Water Week will have the honor of hosting these finals in our very own Water House. The final five teams hail from the Netherlands, India, the Philippines and South Africa, with the fifth team being a joint Nigerian-Ghanaian endeavor. It is truly inspiring to see how young people from all over the world have recognized the threat to our existence posed by climate change, and the way they have decided to face it.

The final contestants (Source: Wavemakers United)

To give you an idea of what kind of fascinating initiatives these student groups have been working hard on, we will present you with the Indian team. Called Team Ladakh after the mountainous desert region in Northern India they originate from, these students have been working on a product called Ice Stupas, or Artificial Glaciers. Communities in the Himalayas and mountainous regions elsewhere are increasingly confronted with an extreme lack of glacier water in dry seasons, leading to seasonal droughts and failed harvests. By creating artificial glaciers, additional water can reach mountain communities in the summer, thereby increasing the viability of their existence in the region.

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Brilliant initiatives such as the Gamechanger Challenge enable us to empower our youth. They, in turn, will be able to empower those around them and push for the type of water action we need to address the issues caused by our current lifestyles.

While this event is not open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities for you to participate in the Week. Make sure to regularly look at our event program and see what kind of events will be hosted throughout New York City and the world. Without you, this watershed moment will not come to fruition, so do not hesitate to participate!