Yangon, Myanmar, 22 November 2015 – UNICEF today launched the Social Innovation Lab, a creative space which brings youth, academics, business experts and policymakers together to design innovative solutions to the challenges affecting children’s lives across Myanmar.

Through this initiative, UNICEF, in partnership with the Myanmar Computer Federation, aims to strengthen the delivery of essential social services to the most vulnerable by developing new tools and platforms to harness the ideas and opinions of youth and community volunteers, feeding them into resource decisions.

“The Lab creates opportunities for young people, who have a unique insight into the challenges that affect their communities, to team up with local leaders to develop creative and sustainable solutions”, explains Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. “This model also engages them with UNICEF and our network of partners to facilitate debates, and share practices and applications necessary to enable and expedite systemic, and sustainable change”.

The launching event, which took place from 20 to 22 November, was held in partnership with Project Hub Yangon and was part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. The initiative involved 50 youth who discussed “Post-Flood recovery solutions for children”- the theme for this Social Innovation Weekend.

After the discussions, the teams presented their innovative solutions to the panel of judges, which included UNICEF representative, Myanmar President’s Economic Advisor, Professor Aung Tun Thet, and the Ambassador of Republic of Korea, Lee Baek-soon. Judges will now select the most innovative, impactful and sustainable idea.

“There is no cost for young people to participate and in return the adolescents and youth receive information and knowledge that helps create awareness about the topics being discussed”, explains Bertrand Bainvel. “Their voices will be incorporated within development debates and their responses and solutions will be taken from UNICEF to relevant government and civil society partners as advocacy messages for further action”.

The Social Innovation Lab has great potential in Myanmar, where almost half of the population is under 25 years old. “The Lab will help to connect young people, and encourage them to contribute to shaping the present and the future of their environment, society and country”, UNICEF Representative concludes.

UNICEF in Myanmar 

UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar.

Please visit: http://www.unicef.org/myanmar

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For more information, please contact:

Htet Htet Oo, Communication Officer, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar, (+95) 250075238, hoo@unicef.org

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