UNICEF Director for Innovations urges young innovators to use technology to change the world
By Richard Nyamanhindi
The potential of young people to use technology to make exceptional contributions to the Zimbabwean society and history came under the spotlight recently when various young innovators met with the UNICEF Director for Innovations, Dr Sharad Sapra who is in the country to explore various ways of how young people can use their expertise and compassion to address the challenges facing the world today.
During the discussions, Dr. Sapra encouraged the young innovators to be “global citizens” and to work closely with organizations such as UNICEF is solving such challenges as poverty, climate change and unemployment among others by finding their own mission in life.
“Be part of creating a new vision. It is not only about telling us what kind of world you want. It is about partnering with us to realize a better future,” he told the young innovators.
The meeting with the young innovators also focused on leveraging technology, innovation and culture to improve societies. Dr. Sapra noted that working with the young is one of his and UNICEF’s top priorities because “young leaders have the energy and ideas we need to change our world.”
He also stressed the close relationship between entrepreneurship, a commitment to open source engagement, determination to learn from failure and the realization that local talent must be at the front and centre of creating successful local solutions.
“When we give the young and upcoming innovators an opportunity they deserve, they will help transform society. This however, can be done when we promote local talent and entrepreneurship,” he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, founder of 263 Chat, Nigel Mugamu reiterated the need to overcome obstacles on accessing technology among the young people particularly among women and girls and encouraged partnerships that help bridge the technological gap between the urban and rural youths.
The young innovators agreed on how development organizations such as UNICEF play an important role in giving the youth a voice and making them an important player in the transformation of any country.
“Young people need economic opportunity. Young people want the full enjoyment of their political and civil rights and freedoms. Speaking their minds; participating in development; practicing the religion of their choice; and living their lives without any form of discrimination are some of their legitimate aspirations,” noted Irene Chikumbo of Hypercube Technology Hub.
“Meaningful participation, openness, inclusion and accountability can be improved by using technology, science, and culture. They all can serve as a vital engine for positive change,” she added.