Global Water Challenge 

Around two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water today, and roughly half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year. 

(Source: UN)

The CEMEX x Social Shifters Global Water Challenge is designed to enable young people (18-30 years) to explore, start and grow ideas that will help ensure safe and accessible water for all.

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A cash award of $10,000 will be given to the best idea and our 100% FREE digital incubator program will be available to all eligible applicants, worldwide. The awards will support the winners in further developing & investing in their ideas.

Accelerating Next Gen Leaders, Innovators & Entrepreneurs

Social Shifters are next generation leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs with fresh solutions to the most pressing social and environmental challenges.

Our Global Innovation Challenge brings together a coalition of the world’s leading businesses to set Challenges that will accelerate the work of these young changemakers.

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Our Shared Water Challenge

Access to safe water is a basic human right. Yet billions of people lack access to these essential services due to decades of poor management and contamination of the water supply. Demand for water is rising as the world’s population grows, cities expand, and the needs of agriculture and industry increase. Climate change is also leading to acute water shortages in many parts of the world. 

Ready To Take Part? Register Today

Why Should You Take Part?

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Unlock Your Potential

Develop your skills, confidence & future prospects with help from skilled mentors & as part of a supportive global community.

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Accelerate Your Idea

Get FREE access to a Digital Incubator program to help develop your project or business idea.

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Make an Impact

Compete for an award of $10,000 to deliver activities that help ensure safe and accessible water for all. 

We are particularly interested in innovative solutions that:

  • Promote education and awareness of issues related to water
  • Provide viable access to alternative water sources
  • Offer low-cost ways to substitute clean water for treated water
  • Introduce better systems of water reuse and recycling at local or city level
  • Support systems for water reuse in construction & manufacturing industries
  • Support the ‘last-mile” distribution of water to unserved communities

Ensuring a Safe and Accessible Water Supply

The Global Water Challenge is looking for innovative ideas, projects, and business solutions that will help ensure safe and accessible water for all. We are looking for innovative proposals or technologies that can be scalable and replicated in different geographies.

Woman and Man sorting a plant

Global Innovation Challenge 2022 Award Winner

Ken Ruto | 24 | Waypoints | Kenya

Ken is developing the digital tools and technologies that will revolutionize state water utilities in Kenya, reducing water loss and guaranteeing everyone a consistent, clean and affordable water supply. His ambition is to improve the quality of life for the next billion Africans.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "shared blueprint” for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.


The Global Water Challenge relates in particular to SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation. You can find more information on SDG 3 (and the global work contributing to it) on the UN’s SDG website

Meet Our Previous Winners

GIC 2023 Timeline


Register Now For Early Access To Support

June 26th 

Submissions Open

August 7th

Submission Support Starts

August 20th 

Submissions Close

September 6th

Digital Incubator Starts

September 22nd

Judging Begins

October 9th

Judging Ends

November 1st

Finalists Coaching Begins

November 27th

Finalist Pitching Begins

December 8th

Winning Projects Announced

What’s in it For Me?

All eligible entrants will receive free access to our Digital Incubator program, including access to e-learning, exclusive events, and online coaching. 

Finalists will be matched with coaches from some of the world's leading companies. 

The winner of the Global Refugee Challenge will receive a $10,000 USD award, and all shortlisted finalists will get access to mentorship and opportunities for media publicity.

A Challenge Supported by

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CEMEX is a leading building materials company that is committed to making a positive social impact and empowering individuals to build a more sustainable future.

About Us

Social Shifters exists to help next generation leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to make a difference in the world.

We operate on a non-profit basis, providing engaging learning experiences, practical mentoring, and a global community of support to move you, and your ideas, forward.

Use our revolutionary Social Shifters elearning and community platform to get your project, campaign or venture off the ground and meet Shifters (like you) in every corner of the planet!

Ready To Take The Next Step?

Explore, start and grow your idea, get access to our world-leading Digital Incubator program and compete for awards of up to $10,000!

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