Two Young Colombians Win at One Young World

Ilana Milkes and Jenifer Colpas stood out from 1,200 participants.

Ilana Milkes (left) was a professional football player for the Colombia national team. Jenifer Colpas (right) did her internship in India. Photo: Carlos Ortega / THE TIME – Courtesy Daniel López

‘Everyone deserves decent bathrooms

The winners of the Lead2030 Challenge receive $50,000 and mentoring from their Challenge Partners, which will help them amplify their initiatives’ impact as they address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals were approved by the 193 member states in 2015. Ranging from ending poverty to protecting the oceans, these goals represent an ambitious to-list necessary to create a sustainable future by 2030. Progress has been made in some areas, although UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently said that “the rate of progress in most areas is much slower than necessary to achieve them.”

Jenifer Colpas, a 28-year-old from Cartagena is one Colombian winner of this recognition. She has developed her project for 3.5 years, located primarily on Columbia’s Caribbean coast, and is centered around providing decent bathrooms for remote communities. She has worked with 10 communities in three different regions of the country and has reached more than 2,000 individuals, installing 150 units. 

Why did she win her project?

“I think it is because our solution is aligned with SDG6’s goal of clean water and sanitation. In addition, our business plan is quite structured, and we already know that it works and has positively impacted many communities.”

“We save about 16,000 liters of water for every person who uses our services without polluting the water”

What does her project entail?

Tierra Grata has three main areas of operation: water, energy, and sanitation. With regard to sanitation, Tierra Grata works to install dry toilet systems, for which they won the prize. The system saves about 16,000 liters of water for each person who uses it without polluting the water. Most importantly, the installation provides an intimate space for families, instead of resorting to defecating outdoors.

How did the project come about?

Tierra Grata’s three co-founders discovered that access to basic sanitation was sorely needed, as many Colombians do not have a bathroom. It is shocking that these conditions still exist in the 21st century. 

Adapted article from The Time.


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