Zayed Sustainability Prize: Global High Schools

Zayed Sustainability Prize

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Anticipated deadline: Jun 11, 2021 3:00pm PDT

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Fields of work: Education - High School Education - Middle School Epidemiology & Public Health Environmental Health Sustainability Health Care Access & Delivery Sustainable Agriculture & Agroecology Food Access & Hunger Sanitation & Clean Drinking Water Water Resource Management Energy Efficiency & Conservation Show all

Applicant type: Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Capital Project, Project / Program

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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The Zayed Sustainability Prize is a tribute to the legacy of the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – a visionary champion of environmental stewardship and global sustainability. This annual award celebrates achievements that are driving impact, innovation and inspiration across five distinct categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools. Submit your entry today and join a growing community of innovators who are expanding the possibilities for a sustainable future.

Submission Guidelines

This prize will be given to global high schools from six geographic regions that can demonstrate impact, innovation and inspiration to enable inclusive and equitable access to quality education. Schools must proposes projects that can be implemented within 12-24 months with tangible outcomes in the areas of sustainable energy, water, food and health. The projects need to be designed to deliver positive educational impact including access to quality education and ensure that students are given key skills and enhanced abilities to achieve their goals. Ideally, projects should demonstrate new and innovative approaches and be inspirational for others. One school will win in each of the six regions:

  • The Americas
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe & Central Asia
  • South Asia
  • East Asia & Pacific

The award in this category is not given for past achievements but will enable winning schools to develop sustainability projects of their own. The proposed project should result in clear, measurable educational benefits related to:

  • Improving access to quality secondary education
  • Eliminate gender disparity and equal access to education
  • Helping youth and adults achieve literacy and numeracy and acquire knowledge, technical and vocational skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship for sustainable development
  • build and upgrade education facilities, etc.

These education outcomes should be achieved by implementing any projects that are using renewable energy and energy efficiency, providing clean and affordable water, sustainable and healthy food and/or improving access to quality healthcare. The specific projects could be in one area (e.g. water) or a combination of areas (e.g. energy, water, food).

The winning projects will show how they meet the three criteria: impact, innovation, inspiration, explained in more detail below.

The school must have multiple years of students (i.e. it cannot be a semester school). The project should benefit the school community for several years. It should be able to be built and operational within one to two years. We encourage schools to get quotes from suppliers for the cost of their project and include this estimate as an attachment to their application. This helps to make sure the project is realistic and helps us to get a clearer idea of how much the project will cost.

If you believe you have a project that could win the Zayed Sustainability Prize, we want to know about it!

Education – Evaluation Criteria


The innovation criterion aims to evaluate two aspects:

  • Firstly, how your proposed project is inventive, resourceful and creative in its educational approach - aiming to maximise educational benefits for students (this can be through student participation and engagement, innovative teaching and learning methods, use of technology or other resources etc.).
  • Secondly, project proposals should articulate where they are using renewable energy or energy efficiency applications, sustainable water solutions, sustainable food/agriculture or health solutions innovatively to enable more students to access affordable, quality education.


The impact criterion is focused on two aspects:

  • The positive educational impact you will create for your current and future students – this could include areas such as improved access to education, improving specific skills such as literacy, numeracy or employability, impactful research projects which promote sustainable development or improving education infrastructure and facilities.
  • Tangible sustainability outcomes your project/solution will produce – in terms of sustainable energy, water, health and food in your school (or wider community).


The inspiration criterion will assess the extent to which projects can be sustained in the long term and inspire future generations of students, beyond the one-two year project proposal. The long-term nature is also related to whether applicants are able to catalyse further action in their wider community and other schools. Finally, it will also assess whether there is potential for students to be inspired to pursue their careers as a result.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The category is open to all high schools with students between 11-19 years old.
  • The application must be supported by the school and its management.

This page was last reviewed June 12, 2020 and last updated June 12, 2020