YOTA, Youth Opportunity & Transformation in Africa has launched the Youth Innovation Challenge to foster and nurture catalytic youth-led solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge forms part of activities under the Africa Youth Partnership to Advocate an Equitable Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
YOTA is supporting young innovators to drive change and contribute to post-pandemic recovery efforts through grassroots innovations and social action. This is to alleviate the negative consequences of the pandemic on young people and their communities while elevating the ideas, ingenuity, and creativity of young innovators working to address the effects of the global health crisis.
The organisation is looking for the most talented young innovators from Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria to showcase their ideas and propose solutions for addressing the many challenges posed to the continent by the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to support youth innovation for the advancement of inclusive and equitable post-pandemic recovery efforts.
Individuals or teams of young innovators in participating countries can take part in the Challenge by deploying the human-centered design approach to problem-solving in education and skills, youth employment and enterprises, health systems and treatment, vaccine equity, distribution, and uptake, among others. The best ideas or solutions from each participating country, as decided by our panel of judges and peers, will receive a mix of financial support, complete with expert advice, networking, tools, and other opportunities to enable them to implement their solutions.
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The thematic focus of the YOTA Youth Innovation Challenge cuts across several sectors, as long as a direct connection can be made to post-pandemic recovery potential. In particular, YOTA is looking for youth-led solutions that address challenges in one or more of the following themes:
- Agriculture and Fisheries
- Digitalisation, AI, and Emerging Technologies
- Education and Skills
- Energy and Industry
- Finance, Trade, and International Investment
- Governance and Politics
- Health and Wellbeing, including Vaccines
- Housing and Infrastructure Development
- Local and Regional Development
- Mobility and Transport
- An individual young person between the age of 18 and 35; or an informal group of young people, or a local youth- or women-led organisation or company (both non-profit or for-profit are welcome); female candidates or teams with predominantly female members are particularly encouraged to apply.
- Nationals of Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria who are resident in their countries or based in the diaspora.
- Persons who are passionate about using their skills to design innovative solutions to promote addressing the many socio-economic challenges posed to your country by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants of the Youth Innovation Challenge stand the chance of receiving a mix of support to enable them to implement their solutions, including:
- Up to $5,000 USD of funding per project.
- Business development advice from top experts in the field of innovation and human-centered design.
- Access to carefully curated tools and resources to support the full cycle of youth-led innovation and human-centered design.
- Opportunity to become part of a growing community of young African innovators for ongoing learning, sharing, and networking.
- Opportunity to be supported to showcase solutions across various international multi-stakeholder platforms, processes, and convenings before the end of 2022.
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- Fit to scope– Solution contributes to COVID-19 recovery efforts with a potential to disrupt.
- Business model – Solution clearly demonstrates a viable business model and scope for revenue generation.
- Sustainability – Solution is financially and operationally viable beyond the initial investment.
- Feasibility – Solution is viable and in the right direction.
- Value – Solution has a strong value proposition.
- Creativity – Solution is clearly an innovative approach to addressing the target challenge.
- Human-centered – Solution is based on feedback from end users in order to solve a real problem for the community.
- Scalability – Solution can be easily scaled up and replicated beyond the initial scope.
Image credit: innovation2022.africanyouthpartnership.org