Children and young people can play their part in helping to secure future supplies of food, water and energy in Brazil with the launch of an exciting new global video competition. 

Research experts at the University of Birmingham are calling on young talents in Brazil, the UK and around the globe to produce and submit a three-minute video that captures the theme ‘Food, water and energy in my everyday life’. 

The 'Food-Water-Energy Challenge’links Brazil to the rest of the world and is open to anyone aged 10 to 25 at any school, college, university or youth organisation in any country. The winners will be chosen by a popular vote on the video sharing website YouTube. 

It is part of (Re)Connect the Nexus  - a two-year research partnership with Brazilian experts from Sao Paulo State University (UNESP). The project also involves experts from the UK Universities of Northampton and Leicester. 

Camera Kingston

Professor Peter Kraftl, from the University of Birmingham, said: “Young people make up 42% of Brazil’s population and they have a crucial role to play in securing food, water and energy – we want to connect young Brazilians with the world. 

“We hope that the video competition will inspire children and young people to produce great videos that will spark debate around Nexus issues – not just in Brazil and the UK. We want to see children and young people around the globe coming together to help solve the problems facing Brazil.” 

Competition winners will be announced in mid-March 2017 receive prizes for both themselves and their school, college, university or youth organisation. 

Water, energy and food are fundamental to maintaining our society in a sustainable way.There is a complex interdependence between sectors producing these resources and all are subject to similar demographic, economic and climatic pressures. 

This is known as the ‘water-energy-food nexus’ and examples include:

  • the amount of energy required to pump water supply systems;
  • water demand for hydroelectric power generation or thermoelectric cooling; and
  • conflict between the use of land for crops aimed at food production and biofuels. 

Professor José Antonio Perrella Balestieri, from Faculdade de Engenharia Guaratinguetá at UNESP, said: “Only by understanding young people’s impact on these key resources can we address crucial concerns, such as persistently high levels of poverty amongst Brazil's children. 

“In Brazil, children and young people aged 10 to 25 years are very important for accessing resources, economic productivity, social cohesion and community life, but little research exists on how they affect the water-energy-food nexus. 

“If we are to ‘solve’ the nexus, we must first understand young people’s perception and experience of water resources, energy and food. We will survey some 5,000 young people in Brazil - the largest survey of its type - investigating their experiences and addressing crucial issues.” 

He added that such issues would include equal access to the nexus, the resilience to pressures on resources and the role of education in addressing the needs and aspirations of the various communities. 

The study area is the metropolitan region of the Paraíba Valley and North Coast, State of Sao Paulo. Researchers chose this so that they couldevaluate issues and relate them to different factors such as where young people live - urban, suburban or rural – as well as age, gender, class and ethnicity. 

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and FAPESP as part of the Newton Fund, the projectwill use innovative research techniques to engage with young Brazilians aged up to 24 to learn about their experiences of food, water and energy. 


For more information or interviews, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or  +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • (Re)Connect the Nexus will address three sets of scientific issues with great academic and social impact: 

-       What are the understandings, experiences and participation of Brazilian children and young people (between 10 and 25 years) in the water-energy-food nexus? What are the main priorities for young people, their families and communities?

-       What daily choices do young people make when choosing and using food, water or energy in their homes and in public areas?

-       How does Education for Sustainability specifically address the water-energy-food nexus? How does it support young people themselves in their understandings, experiences and participation in terms of food-water-energy?