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February 11, 2020

Five young innovators get funds for project implementation

Islamabad

February 11, 2020

Islamabad:The second edition of the ‘Generation Unlimited’ Youth Challenge was launched here Monday with the five most promising teams being awarded $1,000 each in funding; the winners will also be provided with mentoring to support implementation of their projects, which are aimed at improving education, employment and civic engagement.

Launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), in partnership with the School of Leadership Foundation, the Youth Challenge takes place in over 40 countries; it calls on young innovators aged 14-24 to design solutions to improve education, employment and civic engagement. The idea is to inspire young people who have brilliant ideas, but not the resources to bring them to life, giving them a chance to lead.

More than 300 teams applied to the 2019/2020 Youth Challenge, of which 11 were shortlisted and took part in design workshops in Islamabad this week. This year’s theme is ‘Opening Doors, Knowledge and Skills for Empowered Youth.’ In June 2020, the most promising solutions will be submitted at the global level, with each winning team receiving further funding of up to $20,000, along with a tailored global incubation programme from Generation Unlimited partners, to support them to scale.

“Pakistan’s young people are a major resource for social and economic progress,” said UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Aida Girma. “The Youth Challenge is an opportunity to discover their innovative ideas and work with them to co-create solutions for the world of tomorrow.”

UNDP Resident Representative Ignacio Artaza said, “Pakistan is a young country with 68 percent population under the age of 30. The youth face considerable problems in accessing meaningful opportunities for social engagement and economic empowerment. UNDP is responding to these challenges through targeted interventions such as this challenge. We are focusing on equipping young people with the technical skills and knowledge to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive labour market.”

A Pakistani team made of three talented young women—Red Code—was one of the five global winners of the 2018-2019 Youth Challenge. Their project supports better menstrual hygiene for disadvantaged girls and women in Pakistan, providing them with reusable cloth pads. Those are stitched by home-based workers to support self-sustaining micro-entrepreneurship.