UNFPA, in partnership with the Faculty of Education, National University of Laos, Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union (LYU), and Global Shapers, brought together young innovators in Laos to present their innovative, impactful implementable ideas and technical solutions for addressing some of the key challenges faced by adolescents and young people in the country on 16 December in Vientiane, Laos.
The Youth Innovation Challenge 2022 Hackathon was organized to identify and promote the role and voices of youth in shaping solutions for their ecosystem. The activity is in line with the implementation of the Lao Youth and Adolescent Development Strategy 2021-2030 and the Noi ecosystem.
At the event, Mr. Vixien Thongthavy, Vice Dean, Faculty of Education, at the National University of Laos, said, “The youth innovation challenges provided young people with opportunities, platforms, and mentorship to express their creativity and receive guidance to develop those ideas further. NUOL, UNFPA, LYU, and Global Shapers will then help winners establish networks with relevant stakeholders in their thematic areas.”
Three thematic areas for this challenge were: promoting the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people with a focus on preventing early and unwanted pregnancies; promoting mental health and well-being of adolescents and young people; and addressing climate change. Expert mentors supported teams during the hackathon for refining their ideas. These teams then pitched ideas and solutions to a panel of judges.
The three most innovative ideas and solutions were awarded USD 1,000 each. The selection decision by the panel of judges was based on criteria (thematic areas, innovation, implementability, feasibility, cultural appropriateness, impact and reach, scalability, and sustainability) and the quality of the pitch during the hackathon.
Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative, said, “Lao youth of today are part of the largest generation of working-age people the country will ever have. You can play a central role in finding creative and innovative solutions for addressing the challenges of health, well-being, and environment.”
Mr. Tavan Phetsaphaivanh, one of the winners of this year’s Youth Innovation Challenge, said, “I am so glad to be a part of the Youth Innovation Challenge 2022. I have had this innovative idea for two years, and this is the perfect platform for me to share and make it happen. So stay tuned for what will happen next!”
The campaign “Me, My Body, My Planet, My Future” was first launched in 2019 by UNFPA in collaboration with the LYU. The aim is to encourage and engage youth to take action for Sustainable Development Goals. It fosters the linkage between the decisions youth make about their well-being, the protection of the planet, and how the decisions impact their future. The prosperous future of young girls and boys is linked to the actions they take to protect their health, well-being, and the environment, and combat climate change.