Amputee’s affordable prosthetics wins 2015 Youth Innovation Award.

Sep 28, 2015

Archippus Sesay, the proud winner of the 2015 UNDP Social Good Summit-Youth Innovation Award. © UNDP Sierra Leone

Freetown, 28 September, 2015 – Archippus Sesay, a single-leg amputee from Makeni, Northern Region of Sierra Leone is the winner of the 2015 Youth Innovation Award, held at the Mary Kingsley Auditorium, Fourah Bay College in Freetown. The Award was the climax of this year’s Social Good Summit in Sierra Leone organized under the theme Youth Innovation for Post-Ebola Recovery and Sustainable Development.

There was mass excitement and jubilation at the Mary Kingsley Auditorium among the students and audience present, when one of the judges, Aminata Sillah, who is also Deputy Youth Commissioner in the National Youth Commission made the announcement. Archippus T. Sesay, developed prosthetics using local materials and discarded waste that will be affordable to the amputees, most of whom cannot afford imported ones. 

Archippus said after winning the $2,000 prize money “The thought of seeing colleague’s amputees in that state of neglect motivated me to look for a solution using local materials to create artificial limbs. The cost of my artificial limbs is 10 times cheaper than the imported ones and is just as durable as the imported ones.”

11 other young people had been pre-selected by a panel of judges and they each presented their projects and in some cases, prototypes of their creations to a panel of judges which also comprised Prof. A.B. Karim, Dean of Pure and Applied Sciences at Fourah Bay College, Josephine Koroma, Deputy Executive Director, Network Movement for Justice and Development representing civil society and Moses Sichei, UNDP’s Senior Economist.  

The one-day Social Good Summit also hosted the Youth Innovation Awards was attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Fourah Bay College, Prof. Sahr Gbamanja, Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, Mr. Anthony Koroma and previous winner of the Award, Salton Massally. The summit also featured presentations from projects using new technology to promote innovation for social good among young people in Sierra Leone including IDT Labs and Sensi Tech Innovation Hub. Fatou Wurie presented UNICEF’s U-Report project that uses SMS to amplify the voices of young people around the world.

UNDP Country Director, Sudipto Mukherjee expressed delight to have been involved in the last two events saying that Information Communication Technology (ICT) is “the combination of youth power and technology is extremely potent and if used for social good can be transformative.”

Mr. Mukerjee noted that technology and new media plays a central role in young people’s lives, giving them voice where there was none before. He added that “‘While the good news is that they are using technology and new media – the challenge is to inspire them to use it to change their world in a positive way. In other words, using technology and new media to unleash the power and creative spirit of young girls and boys for Social Good.”

Commissioner Aminata Sillah said, there was no loser as all the contestants presented brilliant and exciting ideas and the fact that they were pre-selected meant that they were already winners.   

18-year old school pupil, Jasonta Coker and Bockarie Marah, a final year student at Njala University were joint runners up. Jasonta created briquettes from biomass to serve as substitute to charcoal and firewood while Bockarie constructed an Electronic AC Generator (Electrogen) that runs on little or no environmentally harmful gases.

Salton Masalley, first winner of the Award in 2013 said: “This award played a pivotal role in helping me develop. The youth innovation award organized by UNDP showed me the way. Winning the first award was a turning point in my life.”

The Social Good Summit is held every year during the United Nations Week in 27-28 September and this year, it is held under the slogan “What type of world I want to live in by the year 2030” and coincides with the global launch of the Sustainable Development Goals to be implemented from January 2016 to December 2030. The main objective of the summit is to promote innovation and new technology for development initiatives as well as providing concrete solutions for sustainable development. 

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