Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge Launched In Search Of Kenya’s Young Innovators

Supporting solutions that can have a positive impact for youth

21 November 2019
Gen U youth challenge participants

NAIROBI, Kenya, 21 November 2019 

UNICEF and UNDP have jointly launched the second round of the Generation Unlimited (GenU) Youth Challenge 2019/2020 in Kenya. The global challenge, which brings together 40 participating countries – up from 16 last year – including Kenya, was first announced in September 2019 during the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Youth Challenge calls on young innovators to design solutions to improve education, employment and civic engagement. In Kenya, the challenge runs from 13 November 2019 to 6 January 2020, targeting young people aged 14-24, with a focus on those from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds.

 “Innovations have been core to UNICEF’s work in all the contexts where we work. We have powerful potential in young people. Building on the success of last year’s innovation challenge we are going wider and bolder. This year’s GenU Youth Challenge offers another platform for young people to showcase their talent in providing solutions for challenges that affect them. Kenya stands to benefit from the country’s young, creative and productive minds,” said Ms Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Kenya Representative.

The 2019 Global Innovation Index (GII) report ranks Kenya as the second leading innovation hub in Sub-Saharan Africa, attributing its strength to access to credit and microfinance loans.

Successful candidates will take part in bootcamps, where the five most innovative ideas will be awarded USD $1,000 each, as seed funding to support refinement of their ideas and kick-start implementation of their projects. The top two projects will be entered into a global competition for a chance to receive additional funding of up to USD $20,000 and to join a global incubation programme with Generation Unlimited partners.

UNDP Kenya Resident Representative Walid Badawi added that: “At the core of UNDP Kenya is the creation of opportunities for young people to be part of the development interventions and solutions. Our partnership for the GenU challenge, through the UNDP Accelerator Labs, creates a unique platform for young people in Kenya to advance their innovative and creative ideas, with the aim of addressing the challenge of lack of opportunities such as unemployment and nurturing a generation that is solution oriented.”

Launched in 2018, GenU has generated interest from government, industry leaders and other stakeholders committed to youth participation. As a global multi-sector partnership, GenU works towards addressing the urgent need for expanded education, training and eventually employment opportunities for children and young people aged 10-24. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is a Global Leader for GenU and Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, Joseph Mucheru, is among members of the global board.

The 2019/2020 challenge focuses on six strategic priorities:

  1. ensure secondary schools transmit skills that young people need for the future of work
  2. provide young people outside the school system with opportunities for training and skills development
  3. improve connections between job seekers and work opportunities as well as access to quality work opportunities for young people
  4. foster broad-based entrepreneurship as a mindset and a livelihood
  5. ensure equitable access to education, training, entrepreneurship, employment and civic participation; and,
  6. equip young people as problem-solvers.

To enter the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge, candidates must: 

  • be aged 14 to 24 (on 23 September 2019) 
  • be part of a team of three participants who meet the age criteria 
  • have a good idea, project or innovation which meets the themes of the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge and can express that idea in written form
  • commit to attending a three-day pre-bootcamp training session and, if selected, a three-day bootcamp training session 
  • commit to implementing your idea, project or innovation, if selected to receive local or global seed funding

Candidates can submit their ideas online until 6 January 2020 here

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In Kenya, UNDP aims to address poverty, inequality and exclusion in an integrated and area-based approach supporting communities and government to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Through the CPD 2018-22 UNDP leverages innovative approaches working under three pillars of: Governance, Peace and Security; Inclusive Growth and Structural Transformation; and Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience.

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