Launched at the United Nations in New York on April 20th 2018, the Sustainable Development Goals Matchmaking Platform was born out of a student-led effort by Youth Representatives to the UN, hailing from universities such as Harvard, Lehigh, Penn State, Columbia, Purdue, Northwestern and Princeton, in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders, to identify, assess and implement globally solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

A first of its kind, the conference went beyond scientific research by giving a voice to an inclusive assembly of young leaders of all backgrounds and ethnicities to present the results of their brilliant work.

SDG<MATCH platform has been deemed of urgent necessity given the large amount of innovation occurring in many, diverse settings and the lack of adequate follow-up, which leads to lack of implementation and customization to fit specific community problems worldwide. We aim to select the most competent and applicable solutions, pair them with community organizations tackling a very specific problem and subsequently allocate funding for project implementation.

Given the looming water crisis in many parts of the world, SDG6 was chosen as a first challenge. Relying on a panel of world-renowned experts representing both academia and the private sector, we have matched 3 solutions with 3 problems.

A machine learning algorithm by CANN Forecast from Montreal, Canada, an innovation which originated at the Aquahacking Challenge organized in Lake Ontario in 2017, has been selected to predict water quality for the 7 rivers crossing the Colombian city of Cali. CANN’s co-founder is Naysan Saran, a mathematician and computer scientist, a young lady who arrived to Canada as a teenage immigrant from Ivory Coast.

A solution combining eco-auditing and plumbing repairs, which originated at the UNLEASH event organized in Copenhagen in 2017, has been paired with The Green Fighter organization from Rwanda, led by Grace Ineza, a young activist leading the fight for environmentally friendly practices in her community.

An innovative storm water management system invented by Lelemia Irvine, a doctoral researcher at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii, has been paired with the City of Manilla, Philippines, an archipelago which is periodically fighting hurricanes leading to loss of life and property. Upcoming pairings include the City of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and the City of Bogota, Colombia.