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Sierra Leone News: Young innovators called to solve Salone dilemmas

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In African and Sierra Leone in particular the basic needs are many; however, in order to address these dire needs there is a need for local invention and local entrepreneurs.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will conduct a two-day Social Good Summit (SGS) in which local inventors are encouraged to be the next big solution.
This year’s SGS theme: ‘Future Now! Watin Now!’, UNDP and its partners hope to promote innovation among youth especially students.
The SGS will be held at Njala University, Bo District, on 29 September, will examine the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world.
UNDP’s Deputy Country Director-Operations, Carine Yengayenge, said, “The Social Good Summit would offer young people the opportunity to contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with the use of ICT fused with local ideas. This is why UNDP is partnering with government of Sierra Lone and the private sector to ensure leading innovations are earmarked and put into good use. UNDP believes young minds possess the capacity to innovate tangible solutions to most of our social problems.
The Social Good Summit would build on previous efforts by the private and public sectors to tap from youth ingenuity in creating lasting solutions. Young people are a dependable driving force of development and Africa has more than 200 million young people presently. UNDP and partners believe that events like the Social Good Summit will judiciously utilize Africa’s Demographic Dividend”
“Young dynamic minds are encouraged to participate as applications are now opened for entries for innovation or innovative ideas. The star prize for this year’s SGS is Le 10 million each for both male and female category while runners up will bag Le5 million each,”
“Participation is free and interested participants can download the application form at www.sl.undp.org  or Whatsapp or SMS +23299289955 for further enquires.”
UNDP started holding the SGS events, with the National Youth Innovation Award (YIA) in 2013.
Salton Massally was the first winner. He invented the www.careers.sl job portal. Salton is now a leading youth innovator, and the Chief Technology Officer at iDT Labs in Sierra Leone.
Salton 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.”
In 2015, Archippus Sesay won the star prize. Archippus works in the Orthopaedic Department at the regional hospital in Makeni. He is an amputee from Northern Sierra Leone, who locally designs and manufactures prosthetic legs for amputees.
Speaking about his innovation, he said “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.”
A trio won the male category with the prototype of an environmentally friendly electricity generator; while in the female category Fatmata Binta Bah won the star prize for a water purification system she created for her community.
OG/12/9/17
By Ophaniel Gooding
Wednesday September 13, 2017.

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