The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs, National Youth Commission and supported by key private sector partners hold an annual event dubbed the National Youth Innovation Awards. This event is the Sierra Leonean version of the global Social Good Summit (SGS) convened to help inspire more actions toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Award showcases young people’s ideas, creativity and use of technology to solve local community development challenges. This year’s event will be the 6th edition held in Sierra Leone. The problems facing Africa’s youth cannot be over emphasized. Sierra Leone like most African countries has a youth bulge population, majority of whom are unemployed and confronted with varying levels of deprivation/marginalization. Indeed, in previous summits the participants showcased the realities of the development challenges they face as individuals and as communities. The results also attested to the diverse innovative talents waiting to be tapped amongst the youth in Sierra Leone. Moreover, the overwhelming response from applicants demonstrates the readiness of young people to take a steering position to solve their own problems and contribute to nation-building. 

The SGS has had catalytic impact in Sierra Leone. Winners of the previous summits’ awards in Sierra Leone have gone on to contribute remarkably towards development in Sierra Leone. Among others, these contributions includes the online jobs portal careers.sl, the development of an Ebola response workers’ e-payment system, development of the Justice App which is being used by the Judiciary, a solar-wind clean energy initiative that is supplying over 70 households, a mosque, health center and community Barrie with light in Serabu village in Kenema district, and other environmentally friendly inventions such a combined hot-cold storage unit that runs on clean energy and briquettes made from biodegradable waste that is a substitute for charcoal. 

This year’s event global theme is ‘combating climate change: we only have one planet let’s rally to save it’, locally the theme will be ‘Na wan environment we get, leh wi join an for prot3ct am’. This theme couldn’t be better suited to Sierra Leone’s context and current global challenges resulting from climate change. 

Sierra Leone boasts extensive natural resources, but these are under pressure from population growth, dependence on biomass for energy needs, water pollution, and environmentally unsound mining activities, leading to high rates of deforestation, increased rates of soil erosion, and occurrence of landslides. The summit this year is looking for innovative Sierra Leoneans with ideas and or existing solutions to combat climate change and reduce the risks of natural and man-made disasters in Sierra Leone.

Download application form. 

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