The AFS Award for Young Global Citizens is an annual recognition of young people for their commitment to improving the global community and their actions contributing to a more just, peaceful, and tolerant world. The winner received $10,000, and one year of mentoring from an expert from the J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Two additional $2,500 prizes were awarded to the runners up. Find out more about the 2023 AFS Award finalists below.

Read an interview with the AFS Award winners.

Moemen Sobh, Visenleer (1st place winner)

Portsaid, Egypt

Visenleer is a regenerative initiative in the MENA region that creates sustainable textile materials using only ocean waste. Its goal is to create a greener and more sustainable alternative to animal and faux leather, and in doing so, create a new revenue stream for the fishing community. Visenleer is also committed to promoting the restoration of the ocean through the cultivation-restoration project in El Manzala Lake. This involves growing seaweed and using technology to track the biodiversity, pollution, and fishing habits in the area. The 3D printing of coral reefs is also helping to guide small fishermen and teach them how to be more sustainable. Visenleer is introducing new school and university curriculums to educate the community on how to protect the Mediterranean Sea and promote sustainable practices. Their advocacy efforts are helping to prioritize oceans in policymaking and advocacy at COP, which will ultimately lead to a more sustainable future for our planet. The project has achieved significant impact by creating a sustainable revenue stream for the fishing community, promoting sustainable fashion, improving biodiversity in El Manzala Lake, and introducing new curriculums to educate the community.

  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 14: Life below water


Olamiposi Ekuma, Genesys Tech Hub (2nd place winner)


Genesys Tech Hub aims to provide technical education in software engineering and product design to young Nigerian women and youth. The main purpose is to equip them with essential technical skills and accelerate their learning through innovative programs, ultimately preparing them for the workforce. The impact achieved so far includes graduating over 475 young software developers, training over 1,800 female tech enthusiasts, funding 12 startups, supporting over 145 SME businesses and last year, launching TxE Africa, which houses over 22,000 young women and youth actively pursuing meaningful careers in tech through scholarships from partner organizations. Through its initiatives, Genesys Tech Hub has provided an alternative to a life of crime by empowering these young individuals to pursue successful careers in technology and entrepreneurship.

  • SDG 4: Quality education
  • SDG 5: Gender equality
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth


Ilan Enverga, Youth For Better: an SDG-Centered Curriculum for Global Changemakers  (2nd place winner)

Lucena City, Philippines

Ilan Enverga is a K-12 educator & SDG advocate from the Philippines. Through his leadership with teacher training, curriculum realignment and student empowerment initiatives, he pioneered an effective education for sustainable development (ESD) program at his school, ISBB, that infuses real-world civic engagement into project-based learning across preschool, elementary & high school academics.

On average in one academic year, the project’s teachers have mentored students to lead 100+ community events, impacting 7,000 beneficiaries in the local and national community, and collectively targeting all 17 SDGs. Through youth-led projects, students actively and regularly conduct seminars, workshops, fundraising initiatives, social media awareness campaigns, art exhibits, coastal cleanup drives, feeding programs, donation drives, and partnership formations with different local and national NGOs, businesses and governments for their SDG-driven campaigns. Across the different grade levels, students have helped thousands of marginalized Filipinos, including impoverished families, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, abused women, and many more.

The fusion of community impact and academics provides young people with 13 or more years of practice and development in how to be a changemaker, building the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes to continue ‘changemaking’ for the rest of their lives.

  • SDG 4: Quality education


Khaled Abdulwahed, Molham Team (special recognition)

Aleppo, Syria

Molham Team’s “We Can” campaign was established after the earthquake in Turkey and Northern Syria in February 2023. Their objective is to provide Syrian refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) with access to safe, long-term housing. By providing secure housing, they improve the health, quality of life, security and safety for the victims of the Syrian war. Molham is preparing to construct small apartments for refugees and IDPs in the region. Molham’s housing project is unique because they also create employment opportunities for local engineers and construction workers; they strive to build vibrant and sustainable communities. They envision much more than safe long term housing: in their community development plans, Molham have included a school, play area for children and a mosque.

  • SDGs 1: No poverty
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth


Ghislain Irakoze, Wastezon

Kigali, Rwanda

Inspired by the circular economy, Wastezon provides a win-win integrated solution that diverts e-waste from going to landfills and offers low-income households low-cost refurbished devices while also accessing manufacturers with e-waste-extracted secondary raw materials. Over 300 million Africans are digitally excluded, yet less than 10% of 50 million tons of e-waste generated annually end up in landfills. Through the B2C-interfaced app: Wastezon 2.0, the team acquire secondhand or obsolete electronic devices from high-income households or institutions and apply mineralogical laser scan technology to refurbish them. Tapping the community of sales agents, Wastezon distributes refurbished electronic devices to low-income communities at a low cost. For unrefurbished devices or their components’ mineralogy extractives, Wastezon leverages the B2B-interfaced web app to sell them to manufacturers as secondary raw materials they need for their manufacturing needs. Wastezon have traced and refurbished over 510 tons of e-waste materials and digitized over 3000 Rwandan households, impacting over 15500 consumers.

  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13: Climate action
  • SDG 1: No poverty


Rachel Svetanoff, Project Energy for Life Cameroon

Elak Oku, Cameroon

The Project Energy for Life Cameroon consortium aims to end energy poverty, improve health and enable economic development within a system of justice in rural communities, starting in Cameroon. The Project’s goals are to reduce energy poverty by increasing access to electricity through the delivery of distributed solar power; Improve health systems for the community by delivering a micro-clinic to provide basic healthcare and immunization support as well as telemedicine programming; Support the establishment of a culture-setting and accessible online community by delivering e-commerce under a harmonized rule of law; Create a scalable model to improve the lives of rural, underserved, and internally displaced populations worldwide.

  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth