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UNFPA brought together young minds to draw innovative ideas and solutions to curb the Sexual Reproductive Health problems that the country is facing at a one day session held at the Blue Tree on the 22 May 2015.

The Innovation Day was organized in response to a UNFPA wide call to institutionalize the culture of innovation in the organization’s work. The call to innovate is more than just an exciting opportunity; it is an imperative for global organizations to continuously strive to deliver the best responses to the challenges at hand, and to remain adaptable, agile and responsive in a rapidly changing world.

Botswana is a young nation with more than 60% of its population is below the age 35. This is a cohort that needs better resources and useful information to shape their future and in essence shape the future of the future of the country.

Opening the event, UNFPA Botswana Assistant Representative, Ms. Mareledi Segotso said “we simply cannot ignore innovation as it is part of our daily lives. So it is only fitting that we use innovation in finding solutions to challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health and help in making a better country for all of us”.

Using interactive methodologies the young people explored in depth three problems and identified innovative solutions to these problems. Some of the problems identified at the event were the cultural dynamics in the country, information gap and the challenge of information dissemination and the high prevalence of STIs.  The young people chose the deficiency in information dissemination to bridge knowledge gap amongst the youth as the main problem to innovate solutions for. It was agreed that collaborating efforts as youth based organizations, co-creation of messaging with the young people that should be considered.

As such it was agreed that an establishment of an application that could be used by both smartphone users and non-smart phones should be developed to give knowledge and answer questions relating to sexual reproductive health that the youth might have.

Following the successful day, a team made up of innovators and UNFPA Botswana staff was selected to develop the chosen idea into a proposal that will subsequently be submitted to the Innovation Fund. In 2014, UNFPA created an Inoovation Fund to bring together may innovative initiatives under a common approach. For UNFPA, promotinginnovation offers an opportunity for experimentation and creativity, and for testing new ideas and approaches through innovation projects.

The meet was attended by over 20 people, including representatives of Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) and University of Botswana (UB). BIH pledged its facilities for use by UNFPA for youth activities.