This year, AYF has been focusing on sustainability in Awaji. In particular, the team has been fostering an interest in the Sustainable Development Goals, which were implemented by the United Nations in 2015, to be achieved by 2030. One of the core SDG-related projects is SESA+ME – Sustainable Entrepreneurship Solutions Awaji + Me. 

The project, commonly known as ‘Sesame’ aims to be a vehicle connecting the innovative solutions of the world to the people who need them through a website, events and community projects. The ‘me’ in Sesame indicates the team’s focus on the individual, meaning that they work to make our activities suitable for the everyday citizen.  

The team is made up of six people. The project is led by Saurabh from India, who has a diverse background that combines engineering, psychology, education, and career counseling. Catherine from Kenya has a background in tourism and customer relations, Erin from Australia studied languages and international relations, Marcos from Chile has specialized in business, and entrepreneurship, and Nick from England who studied philosophy and has experience in writing and communications. 

The Sesame team believes that there are many innovative solutions to the world’s problems at the grassroots, which have not yet found their way to the rest of the world. They endeavor to create a platform that acts as a database for these solutions so that anyone can replicate them. This is a way of reaching people on the ground, where help is needed most, and providing easy, low-cost ideas without the need to rely on the government or big businesses for help.

One of Sesame’s main selling points is the POCs or ‘proof of concept’ projects that the team is conducting on Awaji. Sesame aims to test out the solutions they collect for efficiency and replicability. At the same time, they are hoping these tests will help to create a more sustainable environment in Awaji.

Among the ideas collected, the Sesame team has tested out solutions such as a boat made from PET bottles, a low-cost IoT irrigation system, a universal composting system, and reusable food wraps made from cotton and beeswax. The team continues to research innovative solutions from across the world, design an easy-to-use online platform and showcase their work at local events. 

The Sesame team is also planning to begin a social media following, utilizing online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to bring solutions to people over the internet. In October they will be leading AYF through a ‘Zero-Waste Month’ challenge, where they aim to use solutions to halve the amount of burnable waste produced at Manabi no Sato. Sesame will be running SDGs-focused stalls at local events such as Awaji Art Circus performances, the 30th Anniversary of Kaori no Koen and UNDOKAI World Cup in November 2019.