Season 5 of SG Youth Action Challenge: youths leading solutions to advance the SDG Agenda

March 11, 2024

This story was contributed by Karla Rodriguez Barradas, Youth Engagement Associate, UNDP Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam 

Empowering youths to turn ideas into reality

The fifth season of the Youth Action Challenge (YAC) ended by the end of January 2024, marking a significant milestone in the journey of youth innovation. Over four months, 50 teams advanced to the final open mic event, showcasing and pitching their projects to a judging panel comprising the public, private and people sectors.

The YAC is a key thrust of the SG Youth Action Plan, empowering youths to champion ground-up initiatives in partnership with government, businesses, and community organisations. Organised by the Singapore National Youth Council (NYC) in collaboration with UNDP Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and Citi Singapore, the programme provides opportunities for youths to turn their ideas into reality through a series of curated workshops, mentorship, and guidance from experienced industry professionals.

Youths exchanging ideas during a consultation session.


The YAC offers a four-month programme that is not a competition, but a transformative journey where all participant youth have the same opportunities and chances to receive capacity building and funding. Through the programme’s modules, participants are equipped to bring their innovative ideas to life. By the end of the programme, teams are awarded up to $50,000 SGD in grants, enabling the implementation of their solutions. So far, the YAC has empowered over 300 youth teams and close to 1,000 participants between 15 and 35 years old.

The Culmination of YAC Season 5 

This season, the thematic areas covered were: Well-being & Resilience, Food Security, Caring & Inclusive Society, and Digital Inclusion & Safety. From job matching platforms for seniors and Persons With Disabilities to DIY mushroom grow kits, this season was brimful of ideas that could potentially benefit the community.

This season, two teams were selected as Youth Co:Lab Champions, each embodying the innovative spirit and commitment to societal betterment in Singapore and the APAC region: 

  1. Greenairy

There is a gap in hands-on, self-directed farming and sustainability education in Singapore schools. School gardens are also underutilised for learning due to limited opportunities and guidance. Enter Greenairy, which introduces a pioneering plant-based air purification system and a gamified educational app in schools.. Leveraging advanced air phytoremediation technology and IoT sensors, they propose a scalable business-to-business subscription model. 

Students can grow their own microgreens/herbs/leafy greens/plants with ease, take part in sustainability challenges with friends, win points from quizzes, vote for future crops, discuss sustainability concepts, and learn together. This dual approach not only makes learning more engaging but also instills a deeper sense of environmental stewardship and ownership among students (422K primary and secondary school students in Singapore). 

Greenairy Team during the Final Open Mic, YAC Season 5

2. Moonbeam

The problem statement for Moonbeam is that there is a low uptake of local produce because customers do not perceive its value. At least 30% of local produce has been reported to be discarded due to various reasons such as awareness and poor display. 

Hence, these youths are on a mission to transform excess produce into valuable consumer products. Their goal is to create products with greater value, both in terms of quality and novelty, making them more appealing to consumers. By forming strategic partnerships with local food producers, they aim to minimize waste and create novel, high-quality products that appeal to consumers.

Moonbeam team during the Final Open Mic, YAC Season 5

SG Youth Action Plan (SG YAP)

As Youth Co:Lab Champions, these two teams will get the unique opportunity to represent Singapore in the upcoming Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit happening in Manila in June 2024. To learn more about the project themes and to view other participating projects, click here.

"The impact of our community programmes is restricted to the resource of one organisation when we do good as standalone entities, whereas if we come together to synergise our efforts like what Youth Co:Lab has done through the YAC initiative, we become a greater force for good,"  - Mr. Tibor Pandi, Citi Country Officer for Singapore.

The YAC Participatory Budgeting Exercise  

Following the Final Open Mic, the YAC Participatory Budgeting exercise provided a unique opportunity for teams to re-introduce their solutions to a diverse panel of 100+ youth aged 15 to 35. This session allowed participants to secure additional funding allocated by their peers, further supporting the realization of their innovative projects.

Youth Co:Lab in Singapore represents a significant step forward in the Country Office’s mission to empower the youth of today to a better future. By providing a platform for young innovators to develop and implement their ideas, The Singapore’s National Youth Council, UNDP and Citi through Youth Co:Lab is fostering a generation of leaders who are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

"As a trisectoral partnership through the YAC, each of us (NYC, Citi and UNDP), has key areas of value-add and, we complement each other to offer a well-rounded programme for our youth innovators in Singapore. In addition, Youth Co:Lab offers exposure at the regional level also to the teams, and crowds-in other resources from our ecosystem partners." - Mr. Niloy Banerjee, UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

A platform for youth empowerment: YAC Challenge

Youth Co:Lab positions young people front and center in order to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.

In Singapore, Youth Co:Lab was initiated in 2019 UNDP and Citi Singapore, emerging as a beacon of opportunity for the young innovators of Singapore. In order to create meaningful engagements, Youth Co:Lab partners with the National Youth Council (NYC), Singapore's leading agency for youth development, to co-develop a programme to empower youth to build a better future.