This week, The Coca-Cola Company announced the 2014 winners of its “Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge” – a competition exclusively for members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community.

Global Shapers are young leaders between 20 and 30 years old who are organized into a network of 400 city-based hubs. For the competition, Global Shapers launch programs that address the world’s most challenging societal issues, with the opportunity to win seed money to sustain and expand their initiatives. Entries this year addressed pressing issues including protection of the environment, civic activism, community investment and youth entrepreneurship.

To celebrate their success, we are launching a special Coca-Cola Journey Series highlighting each of their projects:

  • Chandigarh, India: Using a network of mobile apps to match those organizations and charities in most need with an enthusiastic pool of willing donors and philanthropists.
  • Madrid, Spain: Producing the first rigorous qualitative research and documentary of Spanish youth’s reality and aspirations for the future.
  • Kumasi, Ghana: Rescuing plastic waste that is creating environmental havoc and converting it into beautiful, durable, affordable, cost effective and environmentally friendly products through upcycling as opposed to recycling.
  • Florianópolis, Brazil: Publishing a web platform for education and debate on public policy, laws and civic matters, featuring interactive series with specialists on specific themes – like education, economics and the environment.
  • Bujumbura, Burundi: Identifying street children and creating a profile for them with a cost estimate of what is required for each child to leave the street and go back to school, then matching them with mentors and sponsor families to fund their rehabilitation.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico: Addressing rural and urban farmer’s environmental, public health, improving agricultural outputs through custom-designed on-site composting systems.
The members of Global Shapers Community self-select the Shaping a Better Future Challenge winners, and final scoring is done by leading individuals representing The Coca-Cola Company, the World Economic Forum, governments and other members of civil society. Judging criteria include the severity of issues addressed, the number of lives impacted, overall return on investment and the ability of the project to be scaled more broadly.

The Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge is now in its second year. Already, the 2013 Winners are making a measurable impact. The Grand Prize Winner, a joint project from the Rome and Nairobi Hubs, is supporting the diffusion of clean energy and innovative technologies as key enablers for education and access to culture. With its grant from Coca-Cola, the “Powering Education” project has distributed approximately 300 solar lamps to 300 students in 12 schools located in rural off-grid communities in Kenya.