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Sierra Leone News: Young inventors offer solutions to SDGs

On 28 September 2018, academics, young innovators and grass root activists; students, and pupils; and the private sector discussed ways to use innovation and new technology to ameliorate present and future challenges. Speaking on the focus of 2018 SGS at the Ernest Bai Koroma University in Magburka, UNDP country representative, Samuel Doe noted that in the midst of this rapidly changing world, the Social Good Summit (SGS) focuses on how young people can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place. The SGS, Doe added, is also a platform for engaging youth in promoting and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2018 theme “Think Tumara” Doe stated epitomizes the Sierra Leone we want by 2030. After the presentations, each with unique solution to achieve the SDGs, Hawa Yokie emerged as the 2018 Social Good Summit winner and also doubled as star winner in the female category. Yokie’s innovation was based on developing a cold-hot system. The cold-hot system, Yokie said, is a combination of cold room and heater to provide storage for agricultural products, medicines and medical equipment and the heater for hot water especially during emergencies at health facilities. Yokie also invented a solar powered book for pupils in remote communities to access affordable electricity and a solar folder to provide electricity for university students and professionals. She also developed so-wind power generator, which provides renewable electrification to five rural communities in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone. In her presentation, Yokie pointed out that she used local materials such as aluminium foil, compressor, mini fan, and imported solar, DVC pipes, alternator and angle bar and other local materials to invent the cold-hot system, solar power book and wind power generator. Star winner in the male catergory, Mohamed Kamara, invented brick charcoal using organic wastes such as coconut shells and used cotton. The brick charcoal, Kamara said, is pollution free and lasts much longer than the wooden charcoal. His innovation is to address pollution and deforestation and to prefer solution to other safer means of energy. The star winners received a cash prize of Le15 million each and the runner-up received  Le7 million. “It also brings into perspective how our current and collective actions matter in bridging the digital divide. This year’s summit will not only accommodate applications from youth in the school and academia, but also those who may not have gone to school or dropped out; youth who may not have access to the infrastructure that are necessary to enable their innovative and or digital dreams and ambitions to thrive.” he stated. The aim of this year’s SGS is, he said, to extend an opportunity to all young people who are ready to unleash their creative and innovative potentials to address the development challenges in their communities and the larger Sierra Leone society. Doe added, “We hope this year’s event will inspire young people to take the lead in coming up with ground-breaking innovations to help make Mama Salone a better place.” The 2018 Social Good Summit, Doe said, over 70 young people across Sierra Leone applied to take part in the social good summit challenge but 10 were selected to participate. The Social Good Summit (SGS) is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) flagship event that is held annually in September.

SV/29/9/18

By Sylvia Villa

Monday October 01, 2018.

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