National Youth Social Innovation Challenge – The Youth Engagement Platform for the Social Innovation Lab
Project Status: On-going
Achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda requires young people to be at the centre of the development agenda of a country and calls for their active engagement. The proposed project will be an investment in young people which will generate greater returns for sustainable human development, where young people will be provided with a platform and empowered to generate innovative solutions to development challenges through improved engagement and participation in an Information communication technology (ICT) and digitally inclusive society.
Following a concept and recommendation by Hon. Prime Minister, under the leadership of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and NYSC, together with the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and UNDP will initiate the proposed National Youth Software Competition, which will build on UNDP’s existing youth social innovation challenge, HackaDev. This joint initiative will contribute greatly towards achieving government of Sri Lanka’s vision to build a digitally empowered nation. Further, young people will be empowered to generate innovative solutions to development challenges through improved engagement and participation in an ICT enabled society.
In 2017, following a public call for applications, 45 innovative teams were selected for the National Youth Software competition – HackaDev, from over 100 applications received.
The competition was geographically clustered into 3 programmes. The first HackaDev took place in Badulla, the second in Matara, and the third in Jaffna.
3 winning teams each from the clusters, a total of 9 were selected to qualify for the National Incubation Programme. They will now receive further seed funding for further development of their ideas. This proposed initiative was agreed upon by the joint partners, listed above, to scale up the initiative until the end of 2019.
The Scale up of the programme for 2018 will include the following phases:
1. Ideation and outreach activation phase
The ideation and outreach phase consists of island-wide programmes on problem understanding, idea generation, social innovation, technological innovations, entrepreneurship to inspire and educate the young people of Sri Lanka to find innovative solutions to development challenges. The phase envisions district level programmes titled a “Social Innovation Impact Town Hall and workshop” targeting university students, NYSC youth club membership, young entrepreneurs, school students, vocational trainees and other youth to change their mindset to become social innovators within the sustainable development agenda. This will increase both the quality and the quantity of applications received for the innovation challenge.
2. Idea pitching phase
A key element in the model employed at the first three editions of UNDP’s Social Innovation Challenge, the 2018 programme of the National Youth Innovation Challenge will include 9 provincial level programmes.
Shortlisted ideas from each province following the public call for applications will pitch their idea (not a solution) in front of a panel where that idea will be scrutinized for improvements. The teams will have the opportunity to connect with expertise that their team is lacking and will have the chance to create a multi-disciplinary team. Following which the 45 best ideas will be further shortlisted for the next phase.
3. Social innovation camps
There will be 3 thematically clustered Regional Social Innovation Camps based on the selected SDGs at three locations in the country. 15 best applications from all around the country, also ensuring geographical inclusivity, will be considered for each Social Innovation Camp.
4. Incubation and support for further development
All 9 teams will be provided with a Seed Grant to further develop their prototypes. As a follow-up, a Consultancy firm will be procured by the joint partners to manage the disbursement of the seed grants. Mentoring and guidance will be provided for a 6-month period by a variety of experts to continue developing these ideas and solutions.
For more information on this year’s programme, click here.