Young eco-innovators awarded seed funds to make water-solutions a reality
18 April 2022
Five teams were granted seed funding to realize their innovative solution to improve and protect water resources in their communities.
Skopje, 18 April 2022: At a design thinking workshop 5 (five) teams of 13-19-year-old young people were granted each 120,000 denars to realize their innovative solution to improve and protect water resources in their communities and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The innovators were selected as part of the UNICEF supported UPSHIFT programme where 10 teams made up of 50 high school students from Skopje, Strumica, Tetovo, Valandovo, Prilep, Veles and Berovo participated in the three-day design thinking workshop. Under the guidance of their mentors and professors, all teams had the opportunity to develop their ideas and gain new practical skills.
“Supporting young people in the realization of their innovative ideas for environment protection has always been and will be part of all policies and strategies developed by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. I am especially glad that the focus of this cycle is water and it’s sustainable use. I expect that the selected innovative solutions will receive seed funding because water as a resource is vital and is the most vulnerable category that will be affected by climate change,” said Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning.
“We are glad children and young people responded enthusiastically to this UPSHIFT cycle demonstrating again their capacity to generate innovative ideas when given a space to express themselves and participate. We have a duty to continue engaging them in driving the solutions. Environment and climate action must be designed for and with children and young people because they bear the greatest burden of climate change, and they are capable of relevant, realistic and doable innovations” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative.
“Stimulating youth innovation and design thinking is an excellent way to catalyze positive change related to the environment and climate action. I congratulate these young people on their engagement and look forward to the great ideas that they develop in the coming months!” said H.E. Kristin Forsgren Bengtsson, Ambassador of Sweden in North Macedonia.
"The partnership between the the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development and UNICEF continues to create essential support for youth social entrepreneurship and realization of young people’s ideas. I am glad that in the past three cycles of the UPSHIFT programme we have managed to reward 32 teams that will work on innovative solutions for a healthy environment, food, water and clean air. Congratulations to all who were involved in the programme, researching together and sharing their skills. The Fund, through various instruments, namely the Challenge for Young Researchers and FabLabs, will continue to encourage innovation and create better conditions for all young people in our country," said Festim Halili, Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development.
The five top teams awarded seed funds to implement their ideas include:
Team “Source Miladinovci” from the vocational high school “Brakja Miladinovci” in Skopje for their idea on irrigation and maintenance of the schoolyard and zoo by rehabilitating the school well to reduce use of drinking water for irrigation.
Team “AQUADRON” from the vocational high school “Kole Nedelkovski” in Veles for their idea to prevent water losses in the city water supply system in Veles through the installation of sensors in the water supply pipes that will send direct information through the SCADA system.
Team “Waterpower” from the vocational high school “Orde Copela” in Prilep together with the team “VODA” from “Vlado Tasevski” school, Skopje for their idea to collect and utilize rainwater in overhead containers that will be used for watering the orchards in their school yard. The whole system will be powered by solar panels.
Team “ECO FUTURE” from the vocational high school “8 September” in Tetovo for purification of drinking water in their school by installing filters.
Team “VODA” from the vocational high school “Vlado Tasevski” school in Skopje together with the team “Waterpower” from “Orde Copela” school, Prilep for their idea to collect and utilize rainwater in overhead containers that will be used for watering the orchards in their school yard. The whole system will be powered by solar panels.
Over the next three months the teams will be supported by mentors to implement their ideas.
UPSHIFT is a UNICEF supported initiative that combines social innovation workshops, with mentorship, materials and seed funding. It aims to foster innovative and creative thinking among young people, to understand the challenges they face and help them design innovative solutions in the form of a product or service. It builds on “human centred design” methodology which is transferable and helps both teachers and students develop entrepreneurial skills, such as: project management, critical thinking, teamwork and successful communication.
The programme is funded by Sweden, implemented by UNICEF and the association LEAD in partnership with the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, and supported by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Bureau for Development of Education and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.