The 2022 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of poverty reduction.

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for Master students.

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.


The Challenges of Poverty Reduction


Today more than 700 million people around the world still live in extreme poverty. Recent estimates from the World Bank show that there has been a historic increase in poverty due to the COVID pandemic. 97 million people fell into extreme poverty (under $ 1.90 per day) in 2020.

Poverty manifests itself through multiple ways including hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education, health and other services, social discrimination and exclusion and a lack of participation in decision making. Clearly, the complex endeavour of overcoming global poverty remains a pressing issue. Poverty alleviation efforts are also an essential part of realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In light of this, the ‘Advancing Development Goals Contest’ calls upon graduate students from around the world to develop innovative interdisciplinary solutions that address the global challenges of poverty reduction.

On November 22, the Award Ceremony for the Geneva Challenge 2022 took place at Maison de la Paix in Geneva.

1st prize

Team from Africa

JACCA Agro-Warehouse Integrated Solutions : Sustainable Agriculture has been identified by the World Bank and the United Nations as a veritable tool for alleviating rural poverty, as agriculture is the major source of livelihood for the majority in rural settlements. Poor Agro-food value chain magnified by exploitative activities of middlemen is the major limitation to the profitability of rural farmers. JACCA Agro-Warehouse Integrated Solutions seeks to address this challenge by providing warehousing and storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses and mitigate marketing challenges: serving as a node linking rural farmers with urban markets and subsequently, international markets. Through digitalization, our warehouse receipt solution is designed to engage stakeholders in a transparent system of direct trade. It will also aid access to financial support for the farmers, while we provide them with capacity-building and mentorship to ensure all-year-round productivity for sustainable agricultural development and economic growth in rural Africa. This has direct impacts on the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2: “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger”. JACCA Agro-Warehouse Integrated Solutions is to be piloted in the North-West of Cameroon; it is designed to be scalable to the entire sub-Saharan Africa and it can also be assimilated by other regions comparable to Africa like rural Asia and rural Australia.

Chidinma Lucy UKA, Ayanfeoluwa Oluwanifemi AKINBOLA, Rodrigue Jinyuy BIRKA, Chimwemwe Nalwesya CHIBUYE & Eric Appiah ATIEMO
Title page of the submission


Team from Europe

Project Connect: The first step out of poverty and mitigation of social inequality could be the improved penetration of the welfare schemes already in place which would not increase the fiscal pressure on the government. To achieve this, we propose a simple solution whereby the government high school students of the local community in India will identify eligible but unenrolled individuals and provide them information about welfare schemes during household visits. This will be done over two months voluntarily as a summer internship. For carrying out this activity the students will be provided training at the school by teachers based on the training modules created by us. This activity will be carried out with permission and in agreement with the district administration and senior bureaucrats and it will be supplemented with advanced mediation by partner NGOs. We aim to implement this project in two districts in the state of Jharkhand, India because it has the second-highest poverty headcount ratio and has hundreds of welfare schemes with low enrolment rates. With this as a proof of concept which will highlight its easy scalability and sustainability, we aim to broaden the implementation of our model in other districts and more partner NGOs

Amit Kumar Mehto, Agnes Laurens, Saurabh Mamtani & Sohee Kim
Title page of the submission

Project Connect

2nd prize

Team from Latin America

What a Waste (Water)! : Poverty is a multidimensional concept, which includes lack of access to sanitation services, and is more pronounced in developing countries, such as Brazil. In Brazil, especially in São Paulo, the process of urbanization was characterized by accelerated growth with no proper planning and informal settlements, with low access to basic public services such as sanitation. Therefore, as a way of reducing poverty, this project proposes the adoption of a decentralized wastewater treatment system composed of Constructed Wetlands, considered a Nature-based Solution, in combination with Septic Tanks for favelas in Brazil. Besides providing people adequate sanitation services, the project involves environmental education, technical training and community participation in all its stages, prioritizing women and/or non-caucasian people, reducing gender and racial disparities and creating jobs.

Gabriela Santos Cardozo, Luiza Goehler, Marcella Moretti Ferreira & Thalita Lacerda dos Santos
Title page of the submission

What a Waste (Water)!

3rd prize

Team from Asia

ePASADA : The public utility vehicle (PUV) transportation sector is among the heavily stricken groups during the coronavirus crisis. In the Philippines, over an estimated half a million jeepney drivers have either temporarily or permanently lost their jobs due to drastic changes in mobility options and activity systems. This in turn resulted in a disrupted source of income–with some of these drivers resorting to begging on the curb to afford basic commodities. The ePasada is a multipoint platform that aims to retrofit and futureproof this sector by integrating smart transportation components, resiliency training programs, and alternative income generation schemes. All of these shall be delivered through a multipoint open access platform (mobile application) that offers both logistical solutions and incubation programs. A smart technology project to support humanism and empowerment of a vulnerable sector of the Philippine society, the Jeepney drivers and their families. The University of the Philippines Campus in the Diliman, Quezon City serves as the pilot site for the project as it fits the degree of land use and mobility complexity needed to establish a proof of concept. Moving forward, we are looking into the possibility of implementing the program on a city-level scale or to explore its multiplicity through other transportation modes.

Claudine Enduma, Madylaine Buan, Murleif Mikhael Delos Santos & Christian Andro Madrogaba

Team from North America and Oceania

Sahaja Project: On average, waste pickers in Indonesia earn USD 91 monthly (Kristanto et al., 2021). However, these generalized findings are unable to depict the poorer circles within the waste picker community itself who work on a daily basis with severe inefficiency and unorganized flow of work. These poorer circles severely suffer from having a monthly income between USD 22-30 to support 3 to 5 family members (Aninditya, 2021). This extremely low income is due to; 1) uncertain availability of sellable waste; 2) waste pickers’ inability to strategize routes or/and posts for waste picking. Sahaja sees the normally inefficient and unorganized process of waste picking by Indonesian waste pickers as a space for policy intervention. The team at Sahaja decided that a modest intervention of preventing random picking & organizing their day-to-day flow of work and is the very key solution to increase and stabilize their income, hence eventually improving their overall wellbeing. In addition, we also explore the idea of plastic credit to increase the income of waste pickers.

Hanna Raisya Muljawan, Muhammad Rifqi Febrian & Siti Hilya Nabila
Title page of the submission

Sahaja Project

Watch 2022 edition

The Geneva Challenge 2022 Award Ceremony
The Geneva Challenge 2022: Final Presentations

The Semi-Finalists

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Rural Areas After-School Program

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Small Fields to Local Forks

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Better Eat

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Empowerher Tent

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Panda Maisha

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School Ki Ghanti

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The Bridge will no longer be called my back

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Teach to Reach

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Elizabeth Montano Initiative

Our Events



THE GENEVA CHALLENGE 2022: Award Ceremony


18:30 November 22nd, 2022, Maison de la Paix Auditorium A1B

Register now. 


THE GENEVA CHALLENGE 2022: Final Presentations


13:45-16:45 November 22nd, 2022, Maison de la Paix Auditorium A1B - Register here





Learn more about the event here





Learn more about the event here