GSL Global Goals Competition

We are excited to invite schools to participate in the Global Social Leaders (GSL) Student Competition focused on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The aim of the competition is to develop students’ understanding of global citizenship and how to turn their ideas into reality. We support young people to develop and implement a project that helps to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals and join a global movement of socially conscious leaders.

The competition is free to enter, but requires schools to appoint a member of staff who will coordinate the competition within your school and act as our main point of contact.  We require schools to register before starting projects and for teams to submit projects for feedback before implementing them.

We want to ensure all projects are high quality and the GSL movement is fully supported by the school, therefore, we have created a number of resources to help you promote the programme as well as a project library with examples of past initiatives that excelled in the competition. Click the buttons below to access the support pages.


We are inviting schools to identify a teacher who will coordinate the competition internally.  We then ask students to register their teams. 

Once you have a school coordinator, we ask that each school registers.  Registered schools will receive an information pack with further detail on the competition. Lead teachers should therefore register to confirm your participation in the competition. During registration you can also ask any questions you have about the competition.

Following this, we ask that each team at the school registers their project. This is so that the students take ownership of their own progress. If you are a student who wishes to register a team, please make sure that your school has been registered. If it is not in the list, please provide a valid email address for a teacher at your school.


Participants in the competition will work in a team of between 3 and 7 students (self-selecting).

The competition is aimed at students aged 11 to 17 years, however if you have students who are younger/older wishing to take part we will not exclude your participation. Teams of children under 13 must have a parent/guardian or teacher provide their email address. Please email if you have any questions about eligibility.


  • All participants (who submit a project report) will receive a named certificate
  • The winning team will receive GSL programme for their school up to the value of £10,000. This can be used either to fund a Catalyst programme for up to 20 participants, or for a group of students to attend the GSL World Summit (flights and visas not included).
  • In addition to the overall winner and finalist teams commendations will be awarded in the following categories, with selected teams receiving a special certificate and permanent feature on the GSL website. There will be a maximum of one commendation awarded per team:
    • Social Media Champions – for outstanding
      achievement in communications
    • Regional Standout Awards
    • Resilience Award – for outstanding
      achievement in overcoming adversity
    • Courage Award – in recognition of teams whose
      projects confront issues which are taboo or lead
      them to encounter local resistance
    • Impact Award
    • Collaboration Award – to recongnise teams which
      have forged lasting partnerships other organisations
  • All competition participants are entitled to a discounted place
    on other GSL programmes, including the World Summit.


PHASE 1: IDEA GENERATION October 2019 to 31st January 2020 (THIS PHASE IS NOW CLOSED)

Submit your project plan for feedback. We encourage you to submit your plan as early as possible to maximise the time you have to implement your project.

Remember, the more time and effort you spend completing your submission the better your feedback will be! In previous years the projects that have performed best in the competition and delivered the most impressive impact have been those driven by teams that submitted very detailed and considered project plans.

The first 100 teams that submit their project plan will be invited to book a 15 minute video-coaching call with a member of the GSL Team to help launch their project.

We will provide bespoke written feedback and guidance for all teams that submit their project plan before the deadline. We will aim to provide feedback within 14 working days of submission. If you submit between 7th December – 3rd January then it may take longer due to our offices being closed for the Christmas period.


Implement your project plan and turn your ideas into reality. Share your project plan
and feedback report with a teacher before implementing your project. Be part of the GSL movement and join the conversation by following #gslgoals on social media.

Share your project journey and inspire other teams around the world by submitting a blog to be featured on the GSL website.


Please read the following guidelines to understand what is required of you with regards to submitting your project. Your team is expected to submit the following:

  1. Written Report
  2. Digital Submission

Your report and digital submission should be a team effort and should clearly outline how your team’s project has met the Judging Criteria.


1: The team’s learning and knowledge gained
a) Share the learning they have had in their
team and skills developed
b) Demonstrate knowledge gained of their
community by their team
c) Understanding of the SDGs

2: The impact on others and the community
a) Measure and demonstrate the impact
made by the team’s project on the SDG(s)
they have selected
b) Number of students, people and
organisation(s) involved or impacted
c) Number of students and hours spent
on the project

3: Special Recognition
a) Involving other people and partners
in their projects
b) Created a project that is sustainable

Registration for 2019/2020 is now closed

There is a two step process for registration in the GSL Global Goals Competition in 2019-2020.

Step 1 – School Registration
Step 2 – Project Team Registration

Please note that if your school took part in the competition last year you do not have to go through the registration process again. We only ask for new schools and new teams to register.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Global Goals Competition

31st January 2022

Look out for it in your inbox soon!

The function is not available now. You will be able to upload your report between the 4th and 31st of January 2022.

You can take part in the GSL Global Goals Competition by completing the Team Registration only, but we encourage each team member to also complete an individual Student Registration and Parental Consent so that we can communicate with each student directly. Team members will each receive an email with links inviting participants to complete the Student Registration Form and Parental Consent once the Team Registration is completed.

This is a student led competition and we want to empower YOU to lead with teacher support. Throughout the year there are many opportunities such as COP26 that you can get involved in, as well as useful resources we would like to share, but we can only contact you about these if we have your individual details. 

This year we are only asking teams to choose a Team Name when registering. You can of course also choose to have a project name, but we do not need to know this until you are ready to submit your final submission for judging in April/May 2022. All we need from you at registration is your Team Name.  

We will provide you with a link to download a Project Update Report template. This is similar to the Project Report used in previous years by teams for the purposes of getting feedback from the GSL team, but has been updated for this years competition. 

The new Project Update Report template is designed to encourage teams to use it as a workbook throughout your project journey – inputting information on a regular basis. You can then submit the latest version of your Project Update Report in January 2022 to get feedback from the GSL team on your progress to date. Once you have received feedback, we suggest you continue to use the Project Update Report to help you with your project journey, incorporating any helpful feedback. 

We are aware that due to school closures you may not be able to make the progress you would have liked with your projects. This is entirely understandable and under the circumstances we expect most Global Goals teams will be affected in some way.

We want you to know that we value your health above all else. We ask that you follow the advice of the WHO and local authorities and do not put yourselves or others at risk. Please seek official advice before going ahead with planned events or team meetings relating to your project.

If you are able, we strongly encourage you to continue your efforts in whatever way you can. If you cannot make progress at this time then rather than withdraw  from the competition we suggest you place your project in ‘hibernation’ for the time being. Either way you should submit a final report by 1st May, regardless of the stage your project has reached. This is the only way your team members will receive recognition for the efforts you have made this year and a named certificate.

Please note that we do not expect your social action to have concluded by the point of final submission and will be asking our judges to take into consideration these extraordinary mitigating circumstances. This programme is as much about your personal development and learning journey as it is the impact your social action delivers and we want to celebrate each and every one of you for the incredible work you have done in this competition!

Yes! We understand that over the course of an extended project such as this, team members may come and go. It is our intention to recognise all students who have made a contribution to the team, regardless of the stage at which they have joined the programme. Up to seven team members can be listed on the final submission form and all will receive a named certificate. The names on the final submission form do not need to match the team registration or Phase 1 submission.

We understand that school closures and social distancing have presented specific challenges to teams, one of which is producing a digital report. We are still asking teams to upload a digital element to their final submission, even if this is not in the format you had originally planned. Digital submissions can be in the form of a video or visual presentation such as Prezi or PowerPoint, once which should suit your situation regardless of whether you have collected footage, photos etc along the way.

The 3 minute digital submission enables GSL judges to see in more detail what you have envisioned and achieved through your projects. We are interested to see how you can communicate your creativity and learning journey through a format other than the written report.

If you are stuck for ideas and would like to see some examples of previous team’s efforts for inspiration you can take a look at the Projects page of the GSL website here.

Due to the current situation we are all facing, with over half the world’s student population (over 850 million young people) subjected to school closures, many of this years’ Global Goal Competition teams have been working remotely and in isolation, a number will have been forced to put their project on hold temporarily. We expect that the majority of final submissions we receive will have been created before major planned actions or events have taken place. Impact will therefore be much harder to evidence for many of our teams.

In light of this, the weighting of the three components of the judging criteria in the Global Goals Competition has been adjusted for the 2021-22 cohort. This year we are affording a greater importance to section 1 (The team’s learning and knowledge gained) and section 3 (special recognition) than section 2 (impact).

All teams are invited to enter next years’ competition, and we actively encourage you to do so regardless of the stage your project has reached this year. For those whose project plans have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic it’s important that you deliver the project you had planned and make a positive impact on your community.

Every team entering the 2021-22 competition will receive bespoke feedback, a named certificate and the chance to win!

In these uncertain times the world needs socially conscious leaders like you now more than ever. Below are some practical tips to get you started: 

  1. Practice Global Citizenship: Educate yourself about COVID-19 and how to stay healthy. Follow guidelines issued by your local authorities and spread the world on social media about the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 health advice.
  2. Foodbanks: Food banks are a critical source of stability for any community facing a crisis — whether it’s a tropical storm, economic recession, or pandemic. As the pandemic worsens, food banks around the world will face increased demand and fewer volunteers. You can donate to local food banks in your area to help families in need and, if you’re fully able to, you can volunteer at them to help sort and deliver supplies.  
  3. Engage with others: Social distancing is necessary to curb the pandemic. It’s also going to be isolating and emotionally draining for people worldwide who will be cut off from regular companionship. You can help ease people’s isolation by checking in on friends and family members, and joining online communities to provide companionship to people who are alone. Remember the elderly and vulnerable are less likely to have access to smart phones or the internet so consider letter writing, bake cakes or do a letterbox drop to let people know you are thinking of them, create positive and hopeful messages or art in your community to inspire hope and remind people they are not forgotten.
  4. Delivering Goods and Medicine: People who have COVID-19 or who are highly vulnerable to complications from it are advised to stay away from crowded areas. That presents an obvious dilemma: how are they going to get food and medical supplies? You can help by delivering supplies to elderly or vulnerable people in your life, or by supporting groups that are providing this service — look online and on social media to find out about groups in your community. 
  5. Donate: The World Health Organisation have launched the COVID -19 Solidarity Response Fund [] to support WHO and their partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus – particularly those where the needs are the greatest.
  6. Share your ideas: Global Social Leaders is a movement to which thousands of young people worldwide belong, share your innovative ideas and any actions by blogging or posting on social media using the hashtag #globalgoals

If your team has been affected by school closures, or these are a possibility in the near future we would like to share some general advice to keep your Global Goals project going and help you maximise your impact during any periods of self-isolation:


If your team’s school has been temporarily closed you may feel thrown off course and lose sight of your objectives. Without a regular face to face meeting it’s more important than ever that your team share a common goal and understand the specific outcome you want from your project.

Make sure you can explain in plain, simple writing why your project exists and what it is trying to accomplish and make sure everyone is in agreement. From there, develop a step by step plan to achieve your goals and objectives that can be carried out from home. When team members share a vision that they can rally behind as a group, alignment becomes easier even if you are not seeing one another face to face

Ensure your goal (or goals!) is specific and measurable, relevant and time based – SMART and that you assign responsibility for each step to a member of the team. You can read more about SMART goal setting here and we challenge you to set your very own 5 SMART goals for your project – Having clear, SMART objectives will help you to track the impact you are creating throughout the project and recognise when you are being thrown off course.


Communication becomes even more important when you’re in self isolation and if you plan to continue your social action project during this time it’s important everyone in the team stays in touch and supports one another. Share regular updates of your progress and ensure you understand what others in the group are doing to stay on track. You may already be using digital tools to facilitate communication but if not now is the time to set up that Whats App or We Chat group, create a team email address which every member of the team can either view or be copied into, set up google hangouts or video conferences so that you can continue to meet as a team and support one another.


Although it can feel lonely, remember that you’re not the only ones stuck at home looking for distraction or entertainment online! With isolation comes a heavier reliance on social media to stay connected to your community so this could be the best time to launch a social media campaign to build support for your cause.


Another constructive use of your time during this period is to focus on developing partnerships. A well-selected project partner can be a valuable source of advice, resources and even funding. Consider contacting organisations, NGOs or private companies in your country or local area that already do similar work to yours. These organisations are likely to have valuable expertise in your chosen field and may be receptive to working with those with complementary aims. They may share their knowledge with you and tell you what has worked well for them and could provide ideas for your own project.

So, be bold, make approaches and remember you have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain!


We would love to know how your team is overcoming the obstacles that this global pandemic has placed in your way. You belong to a worldwide movement of socially conscious young leaders and many others will be in the same boat so if you have any personal experiences or success stories to share about this time, please submit a blog which we can share with other young people!

Please click here to share a blog.


From 1st April – 1st May we will be inviting teams to submit your final project report. You may want to use this time to start thinking about creative ways you can communicate your project in written and digital formats. The Projects Library on our website is the perfect place to find inspiration. It is a collection of previous year’s projects that were either highly commended or reached the finals of the competition. You can learn a lot from looking at similar projects to your own, try searching by the Global Goals you have selected to focus on and see if there are any ideas you could borrow!

How to upload videos on YouTube.
How to complete your Final Submission.
How to upload videos on Vimeo.


We are inviting schools to identify a teacher who will coordinate the competition internally.  We then ask students to register their teams. 

Once you have a school coordinator, we ask that each school registers.  Registered schools will receive an information pack with further detail on the competition. Lead teachers should therefore register to confirm your participation in the competition. During registration you can also ask any questions you have about the competition.

Following this, we ask that each team at the school registers their project. This is so that the students take ownership of this own progress. If you are a student who wishes to register a team, please make sure that your school has been registered. If it has not in the list, please provide a valid email address for a teacher at school.


This is a prestigious annual 12-day residential programme at Wellington College in the UK.  Find out more about how you can reserve your place on the programme you’ll never forget.



Catalysts are our three- or five-day semi-residential programmes held in schools and colleges around the world.  Open to the public or specifically for your community: it’s entirely up to you.


GSL Inspire gives young people a voice and a platform to present about issues and projects they care about.

During our programmes, our participants are invited to prepare a short presentation to share with fellow delegates.

We invite our partner schools to hold GSL Inspire events within their schools.