UNFPA Launches Program to Support Youths Innovating for Sexual Reproductive Health

Edson Muhwezi, Assistant Country Representative UNFPA Uganda(left) Davide Piga, Innovations Specialist ESARO(middle) and Outbox Team Lead Richard Zulu(right) addressing the media at the launch

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with Outbox, thumb a local business incubator on Thursday launched a health-based innovation accelerator dubbed ‘Up Accelerate.’

This innovative program is part of a regional initiative by UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office, capsule with funding from UKAID.

Up Accelerate seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges in Uganda while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.

“This program is a way of empowering the youth to create the change that they want to see in their society as well as to be able to create employment through entrepreneurship,” said Davide Pigs, the Regional Innovations Specialist for UNFPA in East and Central Africa.

The demographic dividend can be reaped if Uganda simultaneously prioritizes enhancing the quality of its human capital, empowering of women and their partners to reduce fertility, and reforming the economy to increase productivity and create jobs.

Up Accelerate calls on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving access to, and the planning, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes.

Key stakeholders who attended the launch of the “Up Accelerate” progam at the Outbox office in Kampala.

Key stakeholders who attended the launch of the “Up Accelerate” progam at the Outbox office in Kampala.

In the first cycle, applicants will be required to innovate for several challenges including improving access to health services and using open data to improve health care. In the second phase, they will submit their Apps to either of the challenges and be assessed by a jury.

A shortlist of 10 startups will then be drawn in January and these will pitch their ideas from which only 4 Apps will be enrolled into training. These 4 startups will be given a seed funding worth USD 10,000 to develop their prototypes and come up with a business model.

James Shaka the Executive Director of National Information Technology Association of Uganda (NITA-U) who officially launches the program said that in order to reduce the challenges like maternal mortality, government must harness the potential in innovation.

“Government has created a fund for innovation hubs to improve the environment for innovators. We are also looking to strengthen the protection of Intellectual Property Rights and establish a National ICT Park where innovators will have the facilities they require,” Saka noted.

On his part, the Outbox Team lead Richard Zulu said; “Working with UNFPA as an institutional partner contributes to our mission of building innovative infrastructure that leads to development of inclusive communities.”


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