Two teams represented Sri Lanka at the Asia Pacific Youth Co:Lab Summit in Bangkok, Thailand this year.The event held from 25 – 28 March 2018 bought over 1,700 young people together from over 11 countries to share social innovation and entrepreneurship.
‘Team Psycoders’, a team from the University of Jaffna, is building an app that aims to tackle mental health issues in Sri Lanka. Speaking about this opportunity Janaka Sampath, of Team Psycoders stated “This experience was amazing. At the Summit we were mentored and guided to ensure that we receive support to market our idea as a product. Participants from other countries brought in different expertise to the summit and it was great to learn from some of them”.
Team Stranger, the other team from Sri Lanka are students of Rajarata University. They aim to make clean water more accessible through an app that tracks water distribution vehicles. Speaking about this experience, Suresh Madushan from Team Stranger stated, “the Youth Co:Lab Summit recognized our talents and gave us the space to improve our idea. It was also great to hear from other teams and startups on their journey.
Today, young people are more connected, creative, informed and more persuasive than any previous generation. Young people are responding to the challenges of the day with innovative approaches, contributing fresh ideas, creating the world they want. At the same time, approximately 300 million young people are either unemployed or underemployed. In other words, nearly half of the 700 million young people in the region face economic insecurity. In addition, many young people are left out of decision-making processes.To address these challenges, UNDP and its partners developed what is called the ‘Youth Co:Lab’, in Asia and the Pacific.
Introduced in 2017, Youth Co:Lab is an initiative led by UNDP and Citi to empower youth on social innovation and entrepreneurship for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2017 the National Dialogue was held in Sri Lanka and it bought together 300 youth delegates. The program has reached out to over 1,700 young people and led to the launch and further development of over 140 social enterprises across a total of 11 countries. These countries include Thailand, the Philippines, China, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Speaking on how UNDP Sri Lanka’s efforts around young people and social innovation, UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director Mr. Jorn Sorensen stated “Youth Co:Lab is enabling young entrepreneurs to be at the center of efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP is pleased to partner with Citi in Sri Lanka to provide avenues for the youth of this country to contribute to challenges that affect all communities.”
Courtesy of colombopage.com