Western Province Youth Get Crash Course in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

0
809
Western Province Social Innovation Workshop

In an effort to empower youth to develop new approaches to social issues, 100 young people from across Western Province are gathered in Gizo for a social innovation and entrepreneurship workshop. As youth make up about 70 percent of the population in Solomon Islands, they play a critical role in peacebuilding and achieving sustainable development. The two-day workshop, organized by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) project in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs through the Western Province Youth Desk, will introduce young leaders and changemakers to the concepts of social innovation and entrepreneurship to help them create solutions to challenges affecting their communities.
In opening the workshop today, UNPBF project Youth Empowerment and Engagement Officer Regina Lepping challenged participants to consider how they can make a social impact and work towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“Youth are creative and have ideas about how to make a better future for themselves and their country,” Ms. Lepping said.
“This workshop will connect young people with information and opportunities to help turn their vision into a reality.” In addition to sessions on key principles of social entrepreneurship and innovation, participants will get a hands-on lesson about design thinking and startup methods.
The workshop is the first in a series of activities leading up to the Western Province Youth
Peacebuilding Innovation Forum to be held in Gizo from 20 to 22 November.
Following the workshop, participants will be invited to apply for an innovation boot camp that will help them refine solutions related to social cohesion, peacebuilding, civic engagement and youth unemployment or underemployment.
Teams of innovators will build and test prototypes before pitching them at the provincial
innovation forum for the chance to win seed funding and other support to start their social
enterprise.
The UNPBF project’s manager, Tony Cameron, emphasized the importance of harnessing the potential of youth in Western Province and aiding their efforts to tackle persistent social
challenges.
“Young people are valuable resources. Their inspiration and enthusiasm needs to be considered as part of national peacebuilding discourse,” Mr. Cameron said.
“Supporting young innovators brings communities and the country closer together, fulfilling the vision for sustainable peace and development.”