Young Southeast Asians Unite in Singapore to Create Solutions to the SDGs

Designed to empower Southeast Asian youth to tackle regional sustainability issues, Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia (YSI SEA)’s 14 week-long Innovation Programme 2018 came to an end on 30 July 2018. The programme brought forward 24 participants from across 8 Southeast Asian countries to kickstart solutions for select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) faced in their local communities.

 

YSI SEA team, YSI Global team and participants of the Innovation Programme 2018 at University Town, National University of Singapore

After a three-round selection process with 800 applicants, the Innovation Programme 2018 nurtured the 24 most promising participants to build 6 social impact startup teams focusing on the UN SDGs. The Innovation Programme 2018 consisted of two main components: the Online Innovation Programme and the Singapore Innovation Programme. The Online Innovation Programme was conducted on various virtual collaboration platforms. Over three months, participant teams were guided by expert mentors and YSI SEA’s curated course modules, from problem identification to developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for market validation.

YSI SEA then flew its participants down to Singapore on 19 July 2018 for the Singapore Innovation Programme. Over the next ten days, teams were able to accelerate their innovation process in each other’s physical presence. Five courses were conducted to prepare teams for pitching day and beyond. The participants also attended a workshop on the UN SDGs, the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the platforms available to them to take actions for the UN SDGs.   

Pitching took place during the Singapore Sustainability Conference on 29 July 2018, to an invited group of angel and corporate investors, venture capitalists, accelerators and rotary members at the CDL Singapore Sustainability Academy.

The participants of the Singapore Innovation Week 2018 with Danat Tekie, Chief External Relations Officer, YSI Global during the Cultural Night

Leveraging on their diverse geographical and technical backgrounds, all six teams displayed their creative prowess in fashioning innovative solutions to the SDGS in the ASEAN region.

While Agrireach created the Reach Cube to tackle poor irrigation and drainage systems in agricultural fields in Philippines’, Allyasia developed an e-commerce platform to empower indigenous communities in Southeast Asia by reimagining their cultural heritage and to provide them with sustainable livelihoods. Gatewaste pitched a mobile application to optimise the recycling system in in Jakarta, by mobilising and empowering scavengers.

When asked about her thoughts on the Innovation Programme 2018, Sophia Enage, a participant of the Innovation Programme 2018 and co-founder of Mushroomable, said, “YSI SEA opened so many opportunities for learning and sharing wisdom as well as actualizing passions in life. In this whirlpool of experiences, learning and realizations, I want and will create sustainable and positive waves that the world will enjoy just like how YSI SEA made it possible for me.” Her startup idea aims to empower farmers to manage agricultural waste effectively, by utilizing rice by-products to grow mushrooms.

Sophia Enage, a participant of the Innovation Programme 2018 and co-founder of Mushroomable, pitching her idea during the Singapore Sustainable Conference 2018

The use of technology was apparent in the ideas generated by all the startups. With the goal of empowering healthcare providers in Philippines, Nutri-Alliance proposed an application that educates and supports healthcare providers, through access to digital information, education, and communication materials for healthcare and nutrition. Even Kembalikash, with the mission of educating Indonesian migrant workers f and their families in financial literacy, is working with industry leaders to provide an online payment and financial management platform.

Innovation Programme 2018 was a huge success, and the longevity of participants’ startup ideas for sustainable development will be seen to. These are made possible by a YSI SEA team which has worked tireless behind the scenes. “The whole YSI SEA team holds the SDGs closely to their hearts and their actions. We believe in the fundamental concept of leaving no one behind (and that includes mother nature) and the SDGs embody this concept perfectly”, said Sai Surya, the Managing Director of YSI SEA. “YSI SEA aims to empower these youth regardless of socio-economic backgrounds to solve the sustainable issues they are passionate about with a measurable impact. By creating impact-driven startups and impact-driven young leaders, we hope to push the SDGs and society forward,” he added.

YSI SEA team, YSI Global team and participants of the Innovation Programme 2018 at CDL Singapore Sustainability Academy

YSI SEA is one of the regional chapters of Young Sustainable Impact (YSI Global). YSI Global was started in Oslo, Norway by a group of youths passionate about bringing young people around the world together to tackle sustainability problems. They saw a lack of startups in the field of sustainable development aimed at alleviating bigger world problems, and decided to bridge the gap between idea generation and impact, as well as engage youth in sustainability and entrepreneurship.

When asked why YSI Global chose Singapore and Southeast Asia to work in the field of sustainable development, Marcus Bruns, Co-founder and CEO of YSI Global commented, “When YSI Global expanded to new regions, we based our decision on the people who applied to start locally. Not only were we lucky to have a great team in Singapore, we also have a youth population of 213 million in the ASEAN region, which makes it a great arena for sustainable innovation and community engagement.”

In addition to the Singapore Sustainability Conference, YSI SEA also organized the Singapore Sustainability Showcase on the same day. Graced by the Guest of Honour, Minister of Social and Family Development and Second Minister of National Development Desmond Lee, the showcase brought different NGOs, social entrepreneurs and corporations together to share on various sustainability initiatives and innovation in Singapore and the region. 

Minister Desmond Lee, the Minister of Social and Family Development and 2nd Minister of National Development in Singapore and Sai Surya, Managing Director of YSI SEA during the Singapore Sustainability Showcase

Ultimately when you talk about sustainability, it is how do we endear into each and every one of us that we are nothing more than mere custodians and stewards – that we take what we need today to meet the needs of ourselves, our families, our communities and our societies,” said the minister when delivering the opening address.

The 400 registered attendees of the Showcase were given electronic goodie bags. Among others, the goodie bags featured the ASEAN MY World Survey, which made it convenient for the attendees to take the Survey both during and after the Showcase. 

Since its inception in 2017, YSI SEA has received widespread support from organizations such as the Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, World Vision Singapore and National Youth Council of Singapore. YSI Global has the network of 14,000 entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide united with the common goal of reaching the UN SDGs. By bringing together the energy of the youth around the world and by connecting them to private, national and global stakeholders, YSI Global and YSI SEA could create an ecosystem to solve some of the most crucial issues of the 21st century.

1,500 participants make noise at the Global Festival of Action for the world to hear: activate and connect for sustainable development

Multiple voices and solidarity as the success ingredients for global action: this was the main takeaway from the last day of the Global Festival Action for Sustainable Development.

More than 1,500 participants from more than 100 countries convened at the Festival, hosted by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign.

After making new connections, exchanging innovative solutions and dancing to the sound of SDG-inspired beatboxing, our Festival-goers are now taking it all home, committed to keep acting for sustainable development!

Global Festival of Action 2018 Wrap up

Multiple voices and solidarity as the success ingredients for global partnerships and change: this was the main takeaway from the last day of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development. But this doesn't end here! Let's take all of it home and keep acting for #SDGs!#SDGglobalFest #ACT4SDGs United Nations United Nations Organizations in Bonn

Geplaatst door UN SDG Action Campaign op Vrijdag 23 maart 2018

Gathered at the closing ceremony, the amazing UN SDG Action Awards winners gave their main takeaways from the Festival. “I’m going to learn from these seven other people to create a movement and change the world”, said Foluke Michael, founder of Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption in Nigeria.

“Never give up. Everyone wants to help their family, their community, their country. We need to bring out that desire of everyone and transform it into action”, summarized founder of Sri-Lankan initiative The Road to Rights, Ashan Perera.

More than 30,000 people watched the livestream from 158 countries and the Festival was a trending topic on Twitter in Germany.

#SDGglobalFest trending across the world

Thanks for joining us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Those are the countries where people were tweeting & posting to Instagram with #SDGglobalFest

Closing out the Festival, a fully interactive rap filled with love fired up the crowd, bringing together acoustic drums, beatboxing and SDG inspired lyrics. “We’ve got all the love we need”, sang the participants in unison.

See all the images of the third day

Browse photos of the second day

See photos of the first day

Revisit the Awards Ceremony

The Festival is over but the change-making doesn’t end here… let’s continue acting for SDGs!

Join us for the Global Day of Action on 25th of September with #ACT4SDGs.

Looking forward to seeing you next year for the third round of the Festival, from 2 to 4 May 2019!

Stay tuned to the Festival website for updates on the next edition and check the UN SDG Action Campaign page all year long to see how people are pushing for change in every single corner of the planet.

Nigerians Hack4Good: Next Generation MY World 2030 global solutions

Nigeria is set once again to take the MY World survey to the next level 

 

Abuja, Nigeria February 5-7, 2018

Between 2013-15 Nigerians collected 2.7 million votes in the MY World 2015 Survey setting a global standard for public engagement. The collected responses allowed the Government of Nigeria hear the concerns of citizens and place them at the heart of decision-making process about the 2030 Agenda. This March MY World 2030 is set to launch once again across the country aiming to mobilize millions of citizens to have their say on the country’s development priorities.

In a previous survey conducted, millions of paper ballots were shipped across Nigeria and hundreds of people then helped transcribe responses to the database. Despite the tremendous results achieved, the process required money, time and human resources which could be better spent. To do things better this time, we challenged Nigerian talents and developers to harness technology to build a next generation MY World 2030 global solution.

On February 5-7 2018, the SDG Action Campaign and the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs partnered with Civic Innovation Lab to host a hackathon. Our challenge for the participants was to have developed a prototype to support response collection and data management of the MY World 2030 survey. Developers came from across Nigeria to the 3-day event in Abuja, where participants learned about the SDGs and 10 teams pitched their solutions to judges.

“I am really passionate about the UN from a very young age and I have always wanted to work with them. Being here in this social space which creates such a collaborative environment is such a blessing. I can’t wait to see what we come up with and to work hard for solutions that can be used around the world to be inclusive. For women, for children, for disabled. Even across language barriers”  Ikuromor Ogiriki, Hackathon participant

 

 

Three winning solutions were selected for a second round. The teams were given the task to continue to build and develop their prototypes to compete for a final prize of N100,000,000 (one million naira). After, the winning solution will be deployed in the national roll out across Nigeria and thereafter globally.

Congratulations to the three teams who were the selected winners of the first round!

Get to know our winning teams and their solutions below.

Team A

  • Perewari Pere – Team Leader and Lead Prototyper
  • Richard Igbiriki – Lead Developer
  • Ikuromor Ogiriki – Lead Designer
  • Adaka Iguniwei – Software Developer

Team A developed a prototype of an app that would enable the direct upload of survey responses into the app allowing the surveyor to work both online and offline. When online, responses are immediately sent to the database after a session is completed. When offline, responses are automatically saved in the device and can easily be uploaded to the online database with one click once connected to internet.

For paper ballots the team developed a prototype of a tool for scanning and a text recognition using Google CloudVision. The tool would enable that texts are automatically extracted and categorized under each survey question and then uploaded to the online database.

Team B

  • Chidi Stephen, Lead Developer
  • Vivian Egeruo, Developer
  • Daniel Nduka, Designer  

Team B developed a prototype of an application which would collect user response from questionnaires using USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data). The application works by collecting user response from questionnaires using USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data). USSD is a Global System for Mobile(GSM) communication technology that is used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program in the network. Example *556# to check balance on a service provider Network. When the USSD is created on a service provider platform, users will be able to interact with contents (questionnaires) uploaded by the admin on such platforms by entering the specified USSD and interacting with the response. The responses collated is then sent to a central storage area

TEAM C

  • Olabosinde Oladipo (Software Engineer)
  • Akinniranye James (Software Engineer)

Team C created three separate solutions to address issues identified in the current process. The suggested solutions were: 1. Scanning backlog of paper surveys with an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) System to eliminate the manual data entry. 2. Use online means like a progressive web app and Twitter Polls to reach out to more demographics. 3. Develop a mobile app that could be used by surveyor and the public to both collect responses and send results to the central database. The app would work offline while leveraging the coverage and reliability of SMS to push time-critical data to the central database from remote places.

About

Hack4Good is a civic and youth participation program of the Civic Innovation lab that encourages the youth to develop innovative solutions to pressing problems in our society.

The Judges

Mr Muyiwa Ibrahim – Data Scientist. • Mr Adepegba  Oduntan – Oracle Strategic Initiative Specialist • Mr Bolaji – Technology Advisor, Civic Innovation Lab • Laura Hildebrandt – UN SDG Action Campaign • Gayan Peiris – UN SDG Action Campaign

Making Periods Normal – Educating on Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights

Young girls in different parts of Bihar often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation and about their sexual and reproductive health rights. They often find themselves with incorrect information about their bodily changes. Sexual & reproductive health education is rare in schools and most often, majority of young girls do not attend any formal education.

Restless Development is the implementing partner of the project named ‘Making Periods Normal’, funded by Rutgers WPF. The programme is being implemented in the Munger and Bhagalpur district of Bihar, from 2014 to 2017. The target groups of this programme are women, out-of- school and in-school youth, men and stakeholders like ASHA, Aganwadi, community leaders etc.

The programme focuses on promoting knowledge among girls and women on puberty, menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health as well as creating conducive environment for them by engaging stakeholders.

“I preferred to stay at home during my menstruation to avoid embarrassment, I did not know how to use a sanitary pad or the hygiene practices during my periods. In 2015 I attended the menstrual health management session conducted by Restless Development, and learned about hygiene practices to avoid infection”
Mamta Kumar,  a 15 year old, is currently one of the 40 trained educators

Educators giving a session about SRHR

Restless Development conducted a needs assessment and its results are shocking:

  • 75% of girls across India don’t have any knowledge of what material should be used during menstruation and were majorly using cloths which were unclean.
  • 25% of out-of- school girls were not using anything during their periods.

To tackle the issue of insufficient information on menstruation, they are implementing a full programme specially designed for young girls on menstrual health hygiene management. The sessions are designed in a manner that give young girls the space to learn about body changes and speak about their health issues.
In order to provide a more holistic approach Restless Development includes trainings for teachers, mothers, peer educators and young boys in our programme. They created a pool of 40 peer educators specifically trained to provide knowledge and guidance to young girls in their communities and districts.

Raising awareness not only among women

“I did not have the courage to share my health problems with my mother, I did not have the confidence to do so.  A friend told me about the menstrual hygiene management session by Restless Development. I then understood the menstrual cycle & spoke about my irregular periods to the volunteers”
Rinku Kumari, 19 year old, Bhagalpur, Bihar

  • The number of girls who could report menstruation as a sign of puberty went from 4% to 58%.
  • 80% of young people involved in our intervention could identify problems experienced by girls during menstruation.
  • 92% of girls who used cloth during the menstruation said that they dried their used cloth in sunlight.
  • Awareness about sexually transmitted infections increased to 78% from 58%.

The objective of this initiative is to educate young people on puberty and menstrual health to help them adopt safe health practices, and educate teachers/parents, peer educators the importance of educating young girls on menstrual hygiene. Reaching more than 90,000 young people and having trained 40 educators on Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), restless development did not stop there and eventually designed a special mobile app called M-Sathi to make SRHR education accessible to all.

To know more about Restless Development: http://restlessdevelopment.org/our-work-with-girls-1

We invite you to follow this special blog series on the High Level Political Forum 2017 “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” to find out more about the action taken by citizens and organizations of the country presenting their Voluntary National Review on the SDGs