Secondary school students created innovative solutions for energy saving and production in their schools
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Skopje, 21 December 2022: Children and young people are capable and ready to make the change in society through their innovative solutions to various social problems and challenges, was the conclusion of the Bootcamp of the UPSHIFT program.
Within the framework of the programme, from December 19 to 21, a three-day UPSHIFT Bootcamp was held in Struga engaging 10 high school teams - selected as finalists of the programme’s open call - in the development of social innovations related to ENERGY.
Secondary school teams from Kochani, Kichevo, Bitola, Kavadarci and Radovish consisting of 5 students each, with the support of a mentor, developed their solutions for challenges related to energy saving and production. Outdated heating systems that work on fossil fuels, environmental pollution, high electricity bills, are just some of the challenges for which secondary school students offered their solutions.
Five teams were declared winners by an expert jury based on the presentations and the potential of the solution.
- SOU "Ljupcho Santov" - Kochani will build 12 heat pipes for air heating that consume 59% less electricity. These heat pipes will be used to fully heat 6 school classrooms.
- SOU "Mirko Mileski" - Kichevo will make and install tiles in the school hallway that will produce electricity from steps through magnetic induction. Through this, they will make electricity savings of 1800kw per year or 48000 denars.
- The State Music School - Bitola will install batteries to store electricity that will be obtained from electric bicycles and treadmills installed in the gym next to their school. This will make a monthly saving of 30% of the electricity bills .
- SOU "Kiro Spandzov Brko" - Kavadarci will construct a heat accumulator from sand to store energy produced from the surplus of the school's photovoltaic panels. These accumulators will be used for complete heating of the school workshop, which will save 120,000 denars annually.
- SOU "Kosta Susinov" - Radovish will install 3 bicycles with a built-in generator to produce electricity. The electricity will be used to heat the school hall, which will save 15,000 MKD per year.
The winners received 120,000 denars each and a three-month mentorship for the development of social initiatives in their communities .
The Bootcamp was opened by representatives from UNICEF, the Fund for Innovations and Technological Development and the Embassy of Sweden in North Macedonia who provide financial support to the programme.
„In time of energy crisis, children and young people pay the biggest price as they are one of the single most-affected groups. They will be the ones to bear the greatest burden in the future if this emergency is not timely and adequately addressed. This also means a special focus on the most vulnerable ones,” said Artur Ayvazov, UNICEF Deputy Representative.
„I am impressed by the level of engagement and innovative thinking of children and young people who joined this UPSHIFT cycle focusing on energy. Their creative solutions for energy saving and alternative energy sources are setting the tone and can inspire other children and schools to apply similar initiatives. We must continue using the creative potential of young people to lead sustainable energy initiatives and contribute to environment protection and social well-being.”
„Electricity is essential to our life. Its irrational use will destroy the natural resources of a country. Bearing in mind this fact and the challenge that the whole world is facing, which is the energy crisis, all countries are focused on finding alternative ways of using electricity. I am really glad that through this competition the students were encouraged to think in the direction of finding alternative sources of energy, but also greater savings, which will affect the national economy. I congratulate all the participating teams for the courage and creativity they demonstrated in this competition, and I wish the winning teams success in the realization of their projects and I look forward to the results of the implemented solutions", said Festim Halili, director of the Fund for innovations and technological development.
„Sweden is proud to support this initiative to encourage innovative solutions to the energy and production challenge that North Macedonia, like all countries in the world, is facing“, states Mikael Atterhög, Head of Development Cooperation in the Embassy of Sweden in North Macedonia.
All secondary schools are 100% dependent on fossil fuels for heating which are inefficient and polluting. That alone made schools very vulnerable in the face of rising energy prices. Taking this into account, our high school students created innovative solutions that will contribute to the production of energy from sustainable sources and will make significant savings" said Ivan Jovanov, executive director of LEAD Association, implementer of the programme.
UPSHIFT is a programme intended for students (14-19 years) from secondary schools who have an idea to solve a challenge/problem in their community.
The programme is implemented by the Association of Leaders for Education, Activism and Development (LEAD) within the project "Encouraging children and youth in North Macedonia to become drivers of change to reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change" implemented by UNICEF with financial support from Sweden and the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.
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