Young people awarded seed funds to implement digital solutions to protect water, air, soil and energy resources
Skopje, 05 May 2023: At a design thinking workshop 6 (six) teams of 13-19-year-old young people were granted each 120,000 denars to realize their digital innovative solutions to improve and protect the water, air, energy and soil resources in their communities and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The young innovators were selected as part of the UNICEF supported UPSHIFT programme where 10 teams from all over the country participated in the three-day design thinking workshop. Under the guidance of their mentors and professors, all teams had the opportunity to develop their ideas and gain new practical skills.
“We are proud to see how with each UPSHIFT cycle children and young people acquire entrepreneurship skills, as both skillset and a mindset, learn how to plan and finance a project and ensure its sustainability and above all, learn to be brave and open to innovation and creative thinking. I congratulate these young people on their great ideas and hope they can inspire others and catalyze positive change related to the environment and climate action,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative.
The six top teams awarded seed funds to implement their ideas include:
Team “De Air” from Yahya Kemal College and the vocational school “Georgi Dimitrov” for their recycled dehumidifier which through the conversion of old computer processors, filters the air by removing the moisture present. The thermoelectric device transforming cold, moist air into warm, dry, quality air will be initially implemented in schools.
Team Viridi Particula from the vocational school “Ljupco Santov” from Kochani for their digital photosynthetic billboard. By exploiting the biological photosynthetic ability of algae, as well as the power of solar energy as a renewable energy source, the innovation contributes to the purification of the surrounding air and the self-sustaining, ecological operation of the billboard.
Team MIASMA from Yahya Kemal College for their digital map of city parking which reduces air pollution caused by harmful gases from the excessive use of cars. The mapping of (un)vacant parking spaces on the mobile application will facilitate traffic, residents' everyday life and will prevent the harmful impact on the environment.
Team Rebooters from the vocational school Gjorce Petrov, Kriva Palanka developed solution to reduce oil consumption in their school by 30% using infrared digital panels.
Team Climate crusaders from the vocational school Car Samoil, Resen proposed a virtual garden to address the excessive use of pesticides, oil and other resources as an integral part of the agricultural subject in the school. It consists of a garden simulation, a virtual assistant, an agrocalculator and educational content, attached to a website.
Team Cinco estrellas from the vocational school Pance Arsovski, Skopje, proposed solution for solving the problem of the large amount of waste all over the city by installing waste collection machines that work with solar panels. For every piece of waste inserted into these machines, the individual receives monetary compensation in their mobile app account.
Over the next three months the teams will be supported by mentors to implement their ideas.
UPSHIFT is a UNICEF supported initiative that combines social innovation workshops, with mentorship, materials and seed funding. It aims to foster innovative and creative thinking among young people, to understand the challenges they face and help them design innovative solutions in the form of a product or service. It builds on “human centred design” methodology which is transferable and helps both teachers and students develop entrepreneurial skills, such as: project management, critical thinking, teamwork and successful communication.
The programme is funded by Sweden, implemented by UNICEF and the association LEAD in partnership with the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, and supported by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Bureau for Development of Education and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.
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 and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.