The Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) Innovation Laboratory, with the support of UNICEF, held its second Social Innovation Camp on June 3rd and 4th, 2016 in Pearl Lagoon, a small municipality within Nicaragua’s Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region.

Participants of the second Social Innovation Camp
Participants of the second Social Innovation Camp

Facilitated by an Innovation Laboratory team comprised of students from BICU and Universidad de las Regiones Autónomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaragüense (URACCAN), this Social Innovation Camp aims to create a space for children, adolescents, and the youth to exercise their creativity in solving social problems. 36 individuals participated – collaboratively designing innovative solutions for the problems they identified within their communities.

Participants collaboratively designing innovative solutions
Participants collaboratively designing innovative solutions

On the first day, children and adolescents analyzed issues in the community through a mapping exercise while students from BICU and URACCAN interviewed key actors in the community (members of government, teachers, police and parents) to identify the day to day problems that affect the people of Pearl Lagoon.

Participants mapping out issues that matter
Participants mapping out issues that matter

On the second day, after gathering all the information, six fundamental problems were identified. Participants worked in groups. Each tasked to develop and design a prototype on a problem. Two teams were then selected to advance and prepare a detailed pitch for their final prototypes.

Identifying fundamental problems within the community
Identifying fundamental problems within the community

The final prototype voted as the best one by the whole group will be implemented as a pilot project in Pearl Lagoon. This project will be supported and monitored by the BICU Innovation Laboratory.

Working within the community

This year’s Social Innovation Camp showcased the importance designing with and for the community. Gerardo Escaroz, UNICEF Social Policy Officer shares

“This type of initiative contributes to the creation of empathic solutions that stimulate commitment and interest from local authorities and the community. The community’s involvement, in turn, fosters the implementation of proposals and helps to make them sustainable.” 

The Social Innovation Camp empowers people to exercise their creativity in solving social problems and in providing an opportunity for children and adolescents to participate in decision-making.

Empowering the youth to contribute
Empowering young people to participate and contribute

“Now that I have the community’s support, I feel like working for the most vulnerable people.” Amy Taylor, a school teacher from the Haulover community.

“We learned how to communicate better.” Tyrese, 10-years boy from Pearl Lagoon.

“My participation was valued, and my ideas were listened to.” Robel, adolescent from Pearl Lagoon.

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