Announcing the 2023 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards – Digital Promise

Announcing the 2023 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards

A collage of photos showing a girl speaking into a standing microphone, a group of students on a farm, a. group of students standing around a tarp full of water, two students in front of a green screen, and an image of an AI prototype drawn by a student.

April 12, 2023 | By and

Since launching in 2021, more than 550 teachers from schools and youth organizations across 67 countries have engaged with the Ciena Solutions Challenge, a global design challenge launched by Digital Promise and Ciena that invites middle and high school students globally to engage in Challenge Based Learning to design solutions that address the Sustainable Development Goals within their communities.

Today, we are proud to celebrate 20 projects from the 2023 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Award recipients and Ciena Solutions Challenge Model Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, and Ottawa, Canada. From an anti-vaping campaign in Colorado in the United States, to an interception device to prevent garbage from entering the ocean in Taiwan, these projects showcase the talents of youth creators and changemakers from around the world.

Congratulations to all the student teams who participated in the 2022-2023 Ciena Solutions Challenge, including the following Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Award recipients from Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and Zimbabwe.


Projects: Matenge Tree Planting and Be the Dream Farm Irrigation System
Site: Dream Factory Foundation/Matenge Primary School, Matenge Village (North East District, Botswana)
Educator: Lusanda Magwape
Essential Question: What restoration strategies can be adopted to reverse or lessen the effects of land degradation?


Project: Engaging Youth Protagonism through Safe Zones
Site: Centro de Mídias da Educação de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil)
Educator: Edmundo Gomes, Jr.
Essential Question: How can students be engaged through youth protagonism using safe zones to prevent bullying?


Project: Design and Build with the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Site: Fisher Park Summit Alternative Public School (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Educator: Meghan Polowin
Essential Question: What can we design and build to help with the SDG’s using hydraulics?

Costa Rica

Project: Simbiosis
Site: San Diego Bilingual High School, (Desamparados Alajuela, Costa Rica)
Educator: Fernando Ugalde Arrieta
Essential Question: Can I purposefully rescue the lives of others from my school?


Project: Biodiesel
Site: Sachkhere Public School N 2, Sachkhere (Imereti, Georgia)
Educators: Maia Tkemaladze and Eliso Abramishvili
Essential Question: How can society prevent pollution from damaging the environment?


Project: Developing Foundational Technical Skills for The Underprivileged Girls
Site: Government Girls Senior Secondary School Indora (Kāngra, Himachal Pradesh, India)
Educator: Mohan Sharma
Essential Question: How to inculcate basic technical skills and responsible use of the internet among girls 12-16?

Project: Fostering Nutrition, Good Health, and Well-Being
Site: Santamayee Girls High School (Purulia, West Bengal, India)
Educator: Susmita Roy Chowdhury
Essential Question: How can we provide a nutritious diet to malnourished children of under-served communities in an affordable manner?

Projects: IoT-WSN Connected Dustbins, Anna Rakshak: The Saver of Food Grains, AI Sensor Boat for Protecting Aquatic Animal and Assisting Water Quality Monitoring, Hybrid Agro Technology, Air Conditioner Power Optimizer
Site: Vikas Bharati Public School (Delhi, India)
Educator: Anni Kumar
Essential Question: How can we revolutionize our surroundings with AIoTech to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?


Project: Don’t LItter, it Makes the World Bitter
Site: Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Chemistry and Biology (Karagandy, Kazakhstan)
Educator: Zhananur Kassimova
Essential Question: How can we educate children to take care of the environment?


Projects: Motorista, Uliza Ujue, Uber Ambulance, MEGA GREENGO, GIZMO
Site: iEARN-Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Educator: Beldine Atieno
Essential Questions: What if we had no accidents on the road? (Motorista) What if we all asked questions in school and they were answered? (Uliza Ujue) What if ambulances nearby would be available on an app? (Uber Ambulance) What if we had a litter-free country? (MEGA GREENGO) What if all wastes are recyclable? (Gizmo)


Projects: Super Girls for Community Development, Eco-friendly Reading Lamp, Tree Planting Initiatives Through STEAM, Stop Ocean Plastic Pollution, Repurposed Tire Project
Site: Caleb British International School (Lagos, Nigeria)
Educator: Olusegun Adeniyi
Essential Questions: How can we get girls involved in community development? What actions can we take to conserve energy and promote a healthy environment?


Project: Guarding the Ocean: Innovating an Interception Device to Protect Life Below Water
Site: Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University (Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Educator: Szuchia Hou
Essential Question: How can we prevent garbage from entering the ocean?


Project: IQ Interschool Challenge TV program & ESL/EFL for public secondary schools in Lake zone Tanzania
Site: TELTA/Mnarani Secondary School (Mwanza, Tanzania)
Educator: Mahamba Sebastian Ilhonde
Essential Question: How can we use multimedia to transform ESL/EFL in public secondary schools?


Projects: With You: Every Step of the Way, We Are Not Getting Younger, Let’s Fight Against Hunger, Walking Mind; The Journey Never Ends, Savour the Flavour of Green, Inspire Them to Thrive with Pride; Teach Maths
Site: Gayaza High School (Kampala, Uganda)
Educator: Theode Niyirinda
Essential Questions: How can people undergoing obesity treatment overcome mental problems? (With You: Every Step of the Way) What can we do to ensure food security in our community? (We are not getting younger, let’s fight against hunger) How can good mental health be enhanced and maintained among the people around us? (Walking Mind) How can we use recyclable materials to solve hunger and food insecurity in our community? (Savour the Flavour of Green) What brings about inequality in the performance of maths? (Inspire them to thrive with Pride; Teach Maths)

Project: Ngora Vegetable Growers
Site: Ngora Girls Secondary School, Soroti City (Teso Region, Uganda)
Educator: Grace Olive Nabuduwa Musingo
Essential Question: How can we end hidden hunger among students?

Project: Climate Action Is Now Or We Sink With Its Negative Effects
Site: The JDO Rwabu Resource Center (Mukono, Uganda)
Educator: Kakaire Emmanuel
Essential Question: How has man impacted climate change?

United States

Project: The Mars Habitat Project: Learning Today About Living Tomorrow on Mars
Site: Davis Middle School, Compton Unified School District, (Harbor City, California, United States)
Educator: Jose Gonzales
Essential Question: What systems or innovations are needed to survive on Mars?

Projects: Bioluminescent Lights, Star Way Fashion, Smart Gloves, Anti-Nic, Shy Plant Shoes
Site: Peak to Peak High School (Lafayette, Colorado, United States)
Educator: Kristie Letter
Essential Questions: What are equitable living conditions, and how do we provide a chance at pursuing them? (Bioluminescent Lights) How can we upcycle fashion to keep clothing from landfills? (Star Way Fashion) How could we help the elderly and people with disabilities with hand movement and grip? (Smart Gloves) How can we educate young people to help stop the vaping epidemic? (Anti-Nic) How can we make more reusable shoes? (Shy Plant Shoes)

Project: Ecomedia Literacy Through Filmmaking Challenge
Site: Cedar Ridge High School (Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States)
Educator: Andrea DeGette
Essential Questions: How can we frame youth media to work to preserve and support the environment?


Project: Our Heritage, Our Future
Site: Eveline High School (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
Educator: Jobert Ngwenya
Essential Question: How can we improve digital access to our intangible heritage for teenagers?

Ciena Solutions Challenge Model Schools Program

Ottawa, Canada

Notre Dame High School

Project: S.O.A.P.
Essential Question: How can we protect all water ecosystems and improve access to clean drinking water?

Ridgemont High School

Project: Orange Shirts for Reconciliation
Essential Question: How do we increase participation in Orange Shirt Day?

St. Patrick’s High School

Project: St. Patrick’s “Irish Greenz” Food Inflation and Sustainability Project
Essential Question: How can we eat nutritiously and sustainably in spite of food inflation and environmental concerns?

Atlanta, Georgia

Benjamin E. Mays High School

Project: Free Food Finder
Essential Question: How can we help alleviate local hunger?

Project: Hands To Heart
Essential Question: How can we eliminate/alleviate the problem of abuse and trauma?

Project: Health Is Wealth
Essential Question: How can we support the mental health of athletes?

Project: Accept & Connect
Essential Question: How can the LGBTQ+ community and supporters safely voice their opinions and bring awareness?

Essential Question: How can we promote black businesses to circulate money throughout the community consistently?

Project: We Fix Roads Quick
Essential Question: How can we get the roads fixed to prevent car damages?

Project: New Perspective
Essential Question: Why is children’s mental health so important?

Project: Mind Of Mental Health
Essential Question: What can you do to make your mental health better?

Essential Question: How can we make feminine hygiene products free for women everywhere?

Project: Gen-Quality
Essential Question: What can we do to help gender inequality?

Project: Project F: Fair Chance Against Poverty
Essential Question: How can we provide impoverished people with housing and sources of income?

Project: Climate Chaos
Essential Question: How can we stop climate change and its rooted problems in the environment?

Project: Cease 4 Hunger
Essential Question: How can we minimize the amount of people suffering from world hunger?

BEST Academy

Project: Facts for Fostering Change
Essential Question: How does our neighborhood influence the choices we make about our health?

Project: Interviews for Information of Injustice
Essential Question: How would not having a grocery store near your home affect you?

Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Project: CSK Recipe App
Essential Question: How can communities in a food desert cook healthy and delicious meals?

Project: CSK Gardening Club Podcast
Essential Question: How can we ensure that the community knows how to grow food inside?

Project: Club 357
Essential Question: How can students lead change in the area of food insecurity in a food desert?

Learn more on the Ciena Solutions Challenge Website

Learn more about these projects in the Project Gallery on the Ciena Solutions Challenge website and register for more info and resources to get involved. Educators are welcome to submit student projects anytime and apply for a 2024 Sustainability Award beginning September 5, 2023 through March 12, 2024.

Sign Up For Updates! Email icon

Sign up for updates!