Young people have called on stakeholders including those in academia, innovation hubs, industry, the government and donors to support them, particularly with more mentorship, coaching and networking opportunities.
This, to the youth, would enable them expand their innovation space to contribute meaningfully towards sustainable development.
The youth made the call during the United Nations’ Third Edition of the Youth Impact Series hosted online by the United Nations Development Programme on the theme “Expanding the Youth Innovation Space,” a statement released by UNDP and copied to ISD on July 10, 2020 said.
According to the statement, the youth identified the need to address predominant stereotypes especially for girls, support for young people to improve their soft skills to innovate, awareness creation on youth policies to address communication gaps and provision of an enabling environment as measures if instituted would help them overcome the challenges they face.
Speaking during the panel discussion at the forum, Zulaiha Dobia, a panelist and Co-founder at Divaloper, noted that nurturing young people and being role models especially for girls are critical for youth development in the innovation space.
That, she said, would require grassroots public sensitisation on youth mentorship and coaching.
“Young people should be guided to enable them reimagine themselves to improve their knowledge and skills on current trends to courageously venture into new territories in innovation and entrepreneurship to become economically self-reliance”, she said.
The panelists were unanimous in their opinion that young innovators also need to build their soft skills in order to thrive in their innovation space.
“The participants at the forum also emphasized the importance of teaching and exposing young people from early ages to think and act innovatively, to enable them start generating ideas to solve everyday challenges around them. This, according to them, will aid the youth actualize these ideas into prototypes at a very early stage in life, which can be scaled up as marketable innovation solutions,” the statement said.
It said, Mr. Oliver Boachie, the Special Advisor to the Minister for Environment Science and Technology (MESTI), noted that, the Government of Ghana, through the MESTI is in the process of establishing an innovation and research fund; which will further support innovation centres and Science Technology and Innovation (STI) initiatives in the country.
He added that MESTI is also collaborating with academia, the public and private sector to offer more support to young people.
The ‘Youth Impact Series” is an initiative of the United Nations in Ghana coordinated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to increase young people’s awareness on prevention, protection and response to COVID-19. The series often attract participation from Ghana, across the African continent and worldwide. This 3rd session gathered 345 participants from 17 countries.