Ulaanbaatar, 17 October 2016 – UNICEF Mongolia and the University of Waterloo, a Canada-based leading academic institution in the promotion of innovation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to join forces and collaborate to improve adolescent health in Mongolia. With 15 per cent of the population between the age of 10 and 19, Mongolia is a young society and adolescence is an age of opportunity and potential yet also bringing risks. The partnership represents a major step towards bringing innovative solutions to social challenges with the active participation of Mongolian youth while establishing a mentoring network that brings high quality technical assistance.
This partnership is in line with the Government of Mongolia – UNICEF Mongolia Country Programme for 2017 – 2021, as it establishes innovation, knowledge generation and south south cooperation as key programmatic strategies for achieving results for the most disadvantaged children and for addressing critical environmental issues.
In addition, the University of Waterloo has a proven track record on supporting innovation, incubating social entrepreneurship and in generating critical information related to the impact of air pollution on child health.
Key initiatives within the partnership will be focused on the promotion of goals in the field of adolescent health, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
Among these activities, UNICEF Mongolia will conduct a youth innovation challenge for adolescent health in early 2017 that will focus on two key themes – mental and reproductive health – where the University of Waterloo will provide technical support and mentorship.
The open innovation challenge will offer new avenues for engaging and empowering young people to address psychological concerns, nurturing local innovation and talent, raising awareness around key social issues, generating new ideas and approaches to strengthen counselling and response mechanism, bringing together stakeholders and resources around key challenges for children.
Ultimately, this Challenge seeks not only to empower young people by giving them an opportunity to produce fully-formed innovative solutions or interventions; but most importantly to raise awareness among young people and to engage them in their early years as problem-solvers and change-makers.
The agreement sets the stage for an on-going collaboration for the potential incubation of new ideas to tackle social challenges that will emerge from the innovation challenge, among other areas for mutual cooperation drawing on both UNICEF and the University’s key areas of expertise.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF Mongolia and its work for children, visit: www.unicef.mn