Young Turkmen Scientist Wins Youth4Climate Global Challenge

October 30, 2023

Young people around the world are increasingly mobilizing in a fight against climate change. Among them, many remarkable women scientists are leading the way in tackling the climate crisis and achieving incredible results.

Ogulshirin Tacheva, a fifth-year biotechnology and ecology student at the Oguz Han Engineering and Technology University of Turkmenistan, participated in the Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions flagship event 2023 held in Rome, Italy on 17-19 October 2023 and has emerged as one of the winners of this international climate contest. 

Ogulshirin’s innovative research project on "Progressive and modern method of using recycled materials in everyday life” was awarded by a Selection Panel from over 1,100 applications to the Youth4Climate Call for Solutions. 

This remarkable accomplishment has positioned Ogulshirin as a true role model for Turkmen youth, demonstrating excellence and placing her at the forefront of the climate action movement.

Ogulshirin Tacheva, a fifth-year biotechnology and ecology student at the Oguz Han Engineering and Technology University of Turkmenistan - winner of the Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions Initiative

The path to success

Ogulshirin has loved nature since childhood, dreaming to make her own contribution to the fight against climate change.

She started her research work in her first year of study at the University, striving to find new methods of waste-free production and plastic waste management to maintain healthy ecosystems. A young first-year student began her research work by collecting information about the production of fuel from plastic to convert plastic waste into energy.

Later, with the support of her teachers, Ogulshirin developed a trial installation of a pyrolysis reactor, which made it possible to obtain liquid fuel, combustible gas, and construction materials. To increase the economic benefits of this project, the young future woman scientist decided to improve the system and use the resulting combustible gas as fuel for the device and use the resulting obtained resin as a base for building material.

“I believe that this idea will prove to be effective. If oil is used to produce plastic products, then the process can be reversed, and fuel can be obtained from plastic waste to minimize pollution,” –noted Ogulshirin.

From idea to action

Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkmenistan, Ogulshirin decided to take a chance and participate in the international Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions competition in March of this year. The Call for Solutions, co-led by the Government of Italy and UNDP, was launched in October 2022 to support the work of young people and youth-led organizations in four thematic areas: Climate Education, Energy, Food and Agriculture, and Urban Development. 

 Among 1,100+ proposals received, 100 projects from 63 countries have been shortlisted and invited to attend the Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions Flagship Event in Rome. The event spotlighted youth-led initiatives and provided a platform for peer-to-peer and intergenerational networking, mentoring, and support to foster the development and implementation of youth-led solutions[i].

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to address a global audience of youth and international climate experts, presenting my innovative climate solution. This was an incredible opportunity for me to showcase my proposal, collaborate with peers, and learn from experts in the field,” – said Ogulshirin.  

Ogulshirin was declared the winner of the Youth4Climate Call for Solution in the Urban Development category at the final Rome flagship event and has been awarded a grant to continue her research work in Turkmenistan.  The Global Climate initiative helped Ogulshirin to refine her innovative project, secure funding for its realization, and join a network of collaborators to address environmental challenges around the world. 

“As the realization of what had just happened dawned on me, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride for my country, my teachers, and my family. They had always believed in me and supported my decision to pursue a career in science,” - Ogulshirin recounts her amazing comeback victory in a contest.



Ogulshirin is no stranger to winning. Last year, she also took first place in a student research competition on innovative methods of recycling materials, held to mark World Cities Day. The contest was organized by the UNDP/GEF/Ministry of Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan project “Sustainable Cities in Turkmenistan: Integrated Green Urban Development in Ashgabat and Awaza” jointly with the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan to expand the innovative potential of young future ecologists and promote rational consumption and waste minimization.

The way forward

All these incredible achievements and deserved recognition inspire Ogulshirin to strive for new heights and help her overcome barriers, including gender stereotypes, to fully unleash her immense talent for the benefit of humanity and the planet.

Ogulshirin is currently engaged in her thesis research and has ambitious plans to further advance the development of a waste-free production system in Turkmenistan, now with the support of the Youth4Climate Global Initiative. 

“I strongly believe that women scientists have a unique perspective and role to play in combating climate change, and this international acknowledgment gives me confidence, and thus strongly inspires me to make an even greater contribution to the global climate action,” – noted Ogulshirin. “By harnessing our collective knowledge and passion, I believe we can create a brighter and more sustainable future for all.”