A youth perspective on #InternationalYouthDay

Monzir Mohammed, an inventor/innovator and UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate

By Proscovia Nakibuuka Mbonye
youth people, youth participation, youth participation, intergenerational solidarity, youth empowerment, UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate, Monzir, International Youth Day, innovation
UNICEF Sudan
12 August 2022

This year as the world celebrates International Youth Day under the theme ‘Inter-generational Solidarity: Creating a world for all ages’, UNICEF Sudan asked Monzir Mohammed, an inventor/innovator and UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate for his perspectives.

Way back in 2019, when 20-year-old Monzir shared his dream of making a solar powered vehicle to help children and young people get to their schools early, fetch water, or seek healthcare, many thought he was wasting his time. 

Apart from his immediate family, other people turned him away, and no one came forward with support, even after appealing so many times.

“I never gave up. They closed the doors, but I never gave up,”

Monzir shares with pride.

With a few resources from his family, a determined Monzir got to work, built the vehicle, and put it on the road, in just two months, earning himself a headline in the national print media. 

This is the humble story of a 20-year-old young man from Damazine, the capital of Blue Nile Region, who refers to himself as an inventor/innovator. 

How it all started

The eldest in the family of five, Monzir is currently the breadwinner of his home after the demise of his father in 2020. While still in school, Monzir and his friends endured long distances – walking for about an hour to and from school. During the same time, his country suffered fuel shortages worsening the already bad situation in his faraway community. Movement from one place to another was a problem even for those who could afford to use cars. The communities were frustrated.

Monzir and a team of other young people, thought of a solar powered car.

youth people, youth participation, youth participation, intergenerational solidarity, youth empowerment, UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate, Monzir, International Youth Day, innovation
Sudan/Monzir
youth people, youth participation, youth participation, intergenerational solidarity, youth empowerment, UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate, Monzir, International Youth Day, innovation
Sudan/Monzir

“We needed a solution that could help us move around and I was confident that this was our opportunity to create a solution to a challenge we were facing,”

he shares.

Three years down the road, the solar powered car has been registered and continues to move people from one place to another, four people at a time. 

Monzir dreams of having his own ‘maker-space’ to help young people make many more solar powered cars and other products which address daily challenges faced by young people. All he needs is a platform and opportunity.

The power of intergenerational solidarity

Monzir’s story is one of the many ways that highlight the power young people have if given an opportunity to bring positive change in their communities. 

However, Monzir believes that to create a better environment for children and young people to thrive in Sudan, all ages across the nation should work together as the challenges faced within the country are too complex to be tackled by one generation. It’s the responsibility of all to join up and strive for a better future. 

While the Sudanese culture encourages support across generations, he continues to witness limited support for young people by adults.

“The best way is to provide platforms where young people can openly, respectfully, and safely engage with older generations, share ideas, and explore ways to collaborate in bringing positive change.

Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Representative to Sudan, applauds Monzir for his youth leadership, vision, and perseverance. She also praises his great contribution towards creating innovative and sustainable solutions for his community.

“UNICEF continues to build platforms for young people where they can exchange ideas, learn from each other, engage across generations, and innovate for a better future”

she shared.