Our Perspectives

Tapping into the talent of young Somalis in displaced communities

By the UNDP Somalia Innovation Team

Sixty bright young Somalis have come up with some highly innovative ideas for small ventures that will improve the lives of internally displaced communities. These include ingenious but practical solutions to increase access to water, education, security and childcare.

The solutions were developed as part of an Open Innovation Challenge held in Mogadishu this year from September 23rd to October 11th, and organised by UNDP in partnership with UN Habitat and the Somali government.

The sixty participants, coming from displaced communities, universities and local community development organizations, all aged between 18–35, spent the first week of the challenge engaged in interactive workshops on Design Thinking.

These workshops introduced the young innovators to new ways of problem-solving adopting a dynamic, inclusive and creative approach.

The participants were divided into 13 teams to work on their solutions. And since a key aim of the project was to develop the capacity of young Somalis to start their own ventures, the second and third weeks of the challenge included workshops on business and entrepreneurial skills. Expert UNDP input was provided to help each team come up with a feasible idea and business plan.

Of the 13 ideas presented at the end of the challenge, the top five will be selected for the first round of crowdfunding.

Below are the 13 ideas. Stay tuned to see who’s going to go forward!

Team Tog-SOM plans to teach rain-storage techniques to families in internally displaced communities, helping to ensure they always have access to water.

Team H2O wants to build ceramic water filters using cost-effective techniques and materials available inside internally displaced communities’ camps.

Team Badbaado wants to open telemedicine kiosks so that families can have immediate online consultations with a health provider in cases of emergencies.

Team Rajo wants to develop a mobile bookstore to ensure children can enrol in state schools and have easy access to books.

Team KalKaal wants to open a centre in the community for teaching children using creative numeracy and literacy methods.

Team Adegtoo wants to use to Information Communication Technology to provide education and training for the long-term unemployed in housekeeping and cooking.

Team Barbaatya want to offer free and sustainable basic education for children by using new technology such as removable screens and portable solutions.

Team Technical Skills Centre wants to have a place inside the camp where people can get entrepreneurial training to start their small businesses.

Team Sonyo wants to open a low-cost day-care centre in the IDP camp. The centre will provide early education and recreation, as well as a play area made from cheap locally available materials.

Team HANO too wants to establish an affordable and sustainable childcare in IDP communities with highly qualified educators and passionate caregivers.

Team Midnimo wants to produce healthy nutritional and affordable food for children.

Team Bile wants to establish a home-based teaching programme, using a temporary shelter made of plastic sheets and old boxes, providing learning kits (pens, pencils, paper, etc.) and using locally available teaching staff and resources.

Team Aydo Clean City wants to set up three large waste containers for different types of waste and to help educate members of IDP communities in more sustainable ways of processing waste.

Students with similar ideas are already teaming up. Stay tuned for some exciting updates next week: #Innov4Som

Innovation is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Innovative ideas can leverage the potential and creativity of everyone in society -  women and girls, men and boys, as well as marginalised groups and individuals, to deliver ingenuity at a scale that benefits all Somalis.

Get in touch with us at innovation.so@undp.org if you are interested in partnering with us on this initiative.




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