Innovation Lab: Building the Future
Investing in youth-led initiatives to encourage innovative solutions to some of the most critical issues of our time
Tapping into the potential of young and flexible minds, UNICEF is investing in youth-led initiatives to encourage innovative solutions to some of the most critical issues of our time, including healthcare, water conservation and climate change.
“Innovation Lab for Adolescents and Teenagers” is a programme that tries to expand the knowledge of youth and bring their ideas to life through workshops and mentorship by professionals. Following a 56-day training session held in Sana’a targeting 50 young people (25 boys and 25 girls), financial support is provided for the best ideas, which are then marketed on a larger scale.
Engineer Abdulwahid Al-Shuja'a is one of the coaches guiding students in the Lab. A graduate of Sana'a University specializing in mechatronics engineering, Al-Shuja’a said, "This program consists of two parts. The first part is entrepreneurship, concept development, and other public interface considerations. The second part is the engineering aspect, which includes circuit building, working on simple electronic projects during the training phase, and an introductory overview of engineering as a field of study, which equips students with the tools they need to implement their future projects."
The project aims to prepare young people for the job market by developing the skills and experience to establish their own projects, enabling them to achieve financial independence and self-reliance.
Creative Solutions for Real-World Problems
16-year-old student Atheer Nabil Dhaifullah Saeed joined the workshop to gain practical experience in bringing her ideas to life through the Lab’s hands-on approach. Atheer says: "We received lectures on life skills, self-confidence, and overcoming anxiety, and we applied them with Professor Abdo Mohsen while assembling the electrical circuit and welding for 56 days." Ideas come to life when they receive the proper support and training, which is how Atheer’s project came about. She says: "My grandfather's struggle with paralysis inspired me to invent a device to help paralyzed patients move their hands."
Delivering Clean Drinking Water
Ghaida witnessed the suffering of people in villages searching for clean drinking water. Many villagers go to great lengths to transport water, often resorting to open sources unsuitable for drinking. Ghaida's project aimed to preserve rainwater from going to waste. The 17-year-old student explains: "I joined this workshop to develop skills that I can use to help others. It gave me confidence that I could create something useful for society. It also taught me how to communicate with others. The workshop motivated me to create my own project, which I hope will change my entire life. My invention is focused on collecting rainwater and delivering it safely to homes, quenching people's thirst and reducing diseases caused by contaminated water."
Protecting the Environment
As the climate and environmental crisis becomes more acute, all societies are searching for ways to preserve the environment and combat diseases and ill-health caused by waste and pollution. 15-year-old Layan Jalal Al-Shaibani, a first-year high school student, joined this workshop to implement an idea that had been on her mind for a long time. Layan says: "I gained a lot of knowledge in this workshop and became confident in myself. I was determined not to leave the workshop without improving my prospects and serving the community with my invention. My invention is about disposing of garbage from inside a building through a conveyor that pulls the garbage to a designated disposal site, so it doesn't accumulate on sidewalks and next to houses."
"I was determined not to leave the workshop without improving my prospects and serving the community with my invention." Layan
Ensuring the Security of Our Children
Many questions were running through 17-year-old Moath Mohammed Awad Al-Ja'idi's mind, questions about how devices are made, about what components a camera or a phone contains, or about how drones fly. These questions found their answers in the Innovation Lab. Moath says: "I learned about various components and devices. I disassembled and assembled them, and programmed them. This gave me confidence in myself. I had many ideas that I didn't know how to turn into tangible reality, so this workshop became the pathway to bring all these ideas to life."
Moath says of his invention: "My project is a system for monitoring children at school through a special card that students put in a device. This device, through an application, sends information to the student's guardian, letting them know when their child arrives at school and when they leave. It also alerts them when the student purchases food from the cafeteria, as this card identifies certain foods that are prohibited for students with diabetes."
The innovation lab is funded by the German Government, financed through KfW and implemented in partnership with the Child and Youth Protection Organization (CYPO).