UNICEF partners with UNDP to launch Timor-Leste’s first Accelerator Lab

UNICEF partners with UNDP to launch Timor-Leste’s first Accelerator Lab

UNICEF Timor-Leste
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
19 August 2019

By tapping into emerging local expertise, including that of young people, the initiative, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), aims to foster innovation to resolve some of the country’s most pressing development challenges

‘Young people are our future. If we are to realize the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must ensure that their voices are amplified, and their participation promoted at every step.’ This was at the heart of the message delivered by Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste, at the recent launch of the country’s first-ever Accelerator Lab.

Timor-Leste has been chosen to host one of the global network of 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries around the world.

The Accelerator Lab initiative provides a platform for creativity, sensemaking, exploration, experimentation and solutions for sustainable development, driven by UNDP in Timor-Leste in partnership with UNICEF. 

Opening remarks at the event were also delivered by H.E. Dr Jose Ramos Horta, former President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Nobel Laureate; Tuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative; and Roy Trivedy, the UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste. More than 150 invitees representing government, development partners, donors and UN staff took part in the launch event, turning out to see first-hand some of the innovative work being done by young people, change makers and entrepreneurs in Timor-Leste.  

The displays of innovative solutions by youth included robotics, 3D printed material for education and other uses, social enterprises, a youth group that provides a platform for young people to discuss issues they face and identify how to resolve them, youth promoting maternal nutrition, and arts and craft using bamboo and other materials. 

Through the Accelerator Lab, UNDP and UNICEF aim to support innovation and solutions driven by youth and community members across Timor-Leste. 

UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
Valérie Taton, UNICEF Timor-Leste Representative, said that UNICEF’s collaboration with UNDP means that reaching those in the most remote parts of the country, those who are the most disadvantaged, and those who have lacked the opportunity to reach their full potential is made possible.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
H.E. Dr Jose Ramos Horta, former President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Nobel Laureate, spoke specifically to the youth in attendance, and reminded them of their unique place in the history of Timor-Leste and how the country’s future is in their hands.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
From left: H.E. Dr Jose Ramos Horta; Magdalena Bidau Soares-Kasian, a peace activist; Tuya Altangerel; Valérie Taton; Roy Trivedy; and the event’s translator, who provided Tetum translations of the guests’ speeches.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
An exciting and inspiring video produced by UNDP was screened at the event, which introduced the four key approaches the Accelerator Lab will incorporate: building on locally sourced solutions, finding things that work and expanding on them; rapid testing and iteration to implement what works and go beyond the obvious solutions; combining the best understanding, ideas and expertise to generate collective knowledge; and accelerating progress by bringing expertise, creativity and collective intelligence to bear.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Galvin
Students from Dili International School displayed and spoke about their work in robotics, highlighting the great potential that even the youngest members of society have to positively impact the future.