Filipino Youth Changemakers Showcase their Solutions for Stronger Communities

November 16, 2022

Pitch Day and Awarding Photo of Youth Social Innovation Lab 2022.


MANILA, Philippines – With the goal of solving challenges in their communities, 47 participants from 14 teams across nine regions in the Philippines pitched their solutions in the culminating event of a four-week-long learning through the Youth Social Innovation Lab (YSIL). YSIL is the flagship activity of Youth Co:Lab Philippines, co-led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation, which supports youth nationwide in developing disruptive local solutions through capacity building, networking, and mentorship.

This year, 21 teams composed of 73 participants were chosen and went through learning sessions on design thinking, validation, impact management, business integrity and finance, and pitching. The teams also had an opportunity to learn from experts in the development, innovation, and entrepreneurship space how they can improve the relevance and viability of their ideas and prototypes. 

With UNDP’s commitment to leave no one behind and Youth Co:Lab Philippines’ passion for serving and providing opportunities to underrepresented sectors, a substantial number of participants came from diverse backgrounds. Fifty-one percent of the participants identified themselves as youth who are out-of-school; LGBTQIA+; women; belonging to crises-affected situations, including conflict and disasters; persons with disabilities; and from religious and ethnic minorities.

Five teams were declared winners based on their overall team performance and their solutions’ feasibility, innovativeness, viability, and impact. First place awardee is Babaye, which aims to destigmatize health concerns among the LGBTQIA+ and women communities. Babaye’s goal is to start in Davao City by setting up vending machines selling health commodities and the creation of a virtual platform for accessible healthcare. In second place is Sphere, which is jumpstarting their fellow Filipino high school students’ careers in technology through personalized mentorship and coaching. The third placer is GINA, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to classify wastes in barangay schools in Compostela Valley for proper disposal and waste recovery. In fourth place is Grow School, which promotes environmental & agricultural programs for the marginalized youth of Las Piñas City. Lastly, in fifth place is LIMPYO EcoSys, which encourages Bantayan Island homeowners to sell their trash to nearby partnered sari-sari stores so that these are either recycled or upcycled.

The winning teams will be showcased in UNDP publications, receive mentorship from Youth Co:Lab and its partners, and join the national and Asia-Pacific startup support and capacity-building sessions for young entrepreneurs through the UNDP Springboard Programme.

Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident Representative of UNDP Philippines, congratulated the teams and shared that global and national events have taught UNDP to reimagine how the organization works to reach the farthest first. He also observed that more and more young women and members of the LBGTQIA+ community are taking part in creating innovations to solve their community’s pressing challenges. “This leads us one step closer to overcoming our battle against existing gender inequalities in the innovation and social entrepreneurship space,”  he added.

“Citi and the Citi Foundation support initiatives that help youth develop their own solutions in addressing some of the biggest social challenges impacting their communities,” said Aftab Ahmed, CEO of Citi Philippines, and he continued by saying “The fresh ideas and solutions of the teams provide a clear picture of the world they want to live in, and how passionate and committed they are to taking steps towards a more sustainable future for all.”

Participants also shared their key learnings from the activity. Tegrito Gonlivo, from team Kauyagan shared that it was a great avenue for being a young catalyst for change, and it also helped him become “responsive, adaptive, and resilient.” Roxanne Orenza, from team Lumen shared that she “learned to look at things in varying angles if something is not working” with their local solutions.

Through activities like YSIL, young people across the Philippines are given a safe and enabling space to think, modify, and bring local solutions to life. These disruptive solutions ultimately contribute to the work of strengthening and accelerating the achievement of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.


About UNDP  

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.  

About Citi Foundation  

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy'' approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit  

About Youth Co:Lab 

Youth Co:Lab positions young people front and center in order to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (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. Youth Co:Lab has been implemented in 28 countries and territories across Asia Pacific.