Tajik teenagers create wireless early warning system to protect people from avalanches

Seventeen-year-old Mohjabin is part of the UNICEF supported social entrepreneurship programme

Umedakhon Fazylova
Mohjabin in the Innovation Lab, Khorog city
UNICEF Tajikistan/2019/K. Karamaliev
10 February 2020

Seventeen-year-old Mohjabin Davlatqadamova is a 10th grade student from school # 11 in Porshnev Jamoat of the Shugnan district of Tajikistan. This year she will become a member of the Tajik Junior Academy of Sciences.

Since third grade, Mohjabin has attended classes at the Center of Additional Education and has participated in district-level competitions for young technicians and physicists. So far, she has received recognition and national awards for several projects she developed with the support of her father. These projects include the development of energy-saving, fluorescent head lamps and a melting and welding machine for heat resistant metals. Her latest project is developing a Geothermal Power Electro Station prototype that generates 22 Megawatts of green energy.

“My father is teaching psychics in a local school. I remember that from early years I was surrounded by different radio and electronic devises that my father repaired.“

In September 2019, Mohjabin took part in the UNICEF-supported social entrepreneurship programme UPSHIFT implemented in collaboration with Accelerate Prosperity, which took place in the Adolescent Innovation Lab established in Khorog city.

UPSHIFT is a course that helps adolescents, including the most marginalized, develop social entrepreneurship skills. Working in teams, the participants create innovative projects and solutions to address challenges affecting themselves and their communities, as well as to start their own social enterprises. 

“When I heard about UPSHIFT, I decided to bring my team and apply for the programme. Our wireless early warning system project was aimed to help people in my village, located in the area with high risk of avalanches and mudflow,” says Mohjabin.

Mohjabin and her team on the pitching session of their UPSHIFT project, Khorg city, Tajikistan

She explains that the system is a wireless device that alerts residents to impeding natural disasters. The device immediately reports avalanches, mudslides and floods to nearby communities and the Сommittee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense. The devise is comprised of an alarm and a laser controlled by a fuse that can be easily installed in at-risk areas. When the laser beam is interrupted, and the fuse disconnects, for example by snow in the case of an avalanche, a siren is sounded to inform residents within five to ten seconds.

Mohjabin and her teammates received a small grant for production and installation of three wireless early warning systems in the most avalanche-prone areas of Tajikistan.

“What I liked most about the UPSHIFT programme was that we learned how to work as a team and how to deal with challenges that our community was facing. Our team was working closely with the community and with local authorities. We also got support from the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense of Tajikistan, where we received recommendation on how to improve our system,” she says. 


“I want everyone in the world to have free energy through a global, wireless communication system. In the future I will be engaged in science to make people's lives more comfortable and safer.”

In coordination with partners from the Committee for Youth, Sports and Tourism and Centers of Additional Education, UNICEF has established 14 Adolescent Innovation Labs across Tajikistan as informal vocational training spaces for adolescents and youth, including the most marginalized.

Over 9,500 adolescent girls and boys, including those that are not in education, employment or training, those living with disabilities and adolescents in conflict with the law from 12 towns and districts have developed useful 21st century skills through the programme.

UPSHIFT also helps participants build their self-confidence and provides opportunities to fully realize their potential.