For the past eight (8) years, UNDP Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Youth Affairs and other key partners, has been organizing an innovative youth-focused Social Good Summit (SGS) that provides a platform for creative young minds to showcase and articulate innovative ideas that can solve development challenges.
This year’s event is aligned with the Global International Youth Day theme ‘Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Planetary Health’. This theme couldn’t be better suited to the current situation we find ourselves in the world today with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year UNDP has also introduced a new dimension of inclusivity into the competition for young people with solutions for Assistive Technologies, mainly to support people with disabilities (PWDs). This affirms the inclusive nature of the Social Good Summit.
There were three categories of challenges this year:
1. Youth Innovation Competition in Agriculture focuses on innovative solutions to improve agricultural productivity and food systems, while considering the protection of the environment at large. The Awards are gender-based, with a male and female winner and runner-up selected. The winning prize is LE20,000,000, while the runner-up prize (Male and Female categories) is LE10,000,000.
2. Youth Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities Innovation Competition focuses on solutions that help or enable people living with disabilities to fulfil their potential. There are Winner and Runner-up Award Prizes given. The winning prize of LE20,000,000; Runner-up prize of LE10,000,000.
3. Youth Impact Competition seeks to identify young people doing something in their community that has made a difference and a positive impact on people’s lives. This Award aims to identify five successful young people from each region (North, North-West, South, East & West) who will be granted the title of ‘Youth Ambassadors” for 2021. The winning prize for each Ambassador will be LE10,000,000.
Meet the six winners of the Youth Innovation Competition in Agriculture:
Male Star Prize Winner
1. Benjamin Bockarie (Southern Region)
2. Yao Aiahson Botton (Eastern Region)
Yao Aiahson Botton’s idea is to produce organic chemical fertilizer from rabbit urine to boost agricultural productivity. This locally produced organic fertilizer will reduce the demand for expensive imported chemical fertilizer.
4. Susan S. Sesay (Northern Region)
Susan S. Sesay’s proposed solutions are to produce fresh, nutritious juice, pasteurized juice, and jam using our local fruits and vegetables and create meaningful employment for young women in the process. This will also reduce the wastage of seasonal fruits and vegetables in our communities. The reason for this solution is that agriculture and rural development are two of the best available driving forces for eliminating hunger and poverty and addressing the negative socio-economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, this proposed solution would be to engage more youth and women in the agriculture and food system, which will reduce rural-urban migration and stop illegal and distressful international migration in search of a decent standard of living.
The two prize winners of the Youth Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities Innovation Competition:
Star Prize Winner
1. Emmanuel Saati
Emmanuel Saati’s innovation Smart Blind Stick provides blind people with detection and localization of objects to offer those people a sense of the external environment using functions of sensors. The sensors also aid the user with the mobility task based on the objects' dimensions, range, and height. The assistant technology provides fast processing for the exchanged information between a blind person and sensors. For example, the system can detect the obstacle that is 4m in front of a blind person in 30sec.