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Accelerator lab launched to solve development challenges

Guests visit innovators’ stores at the launch

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  United Nations Development Program- UNDP has launched the Accelerator Lab to solve complex development challenges in Uganda. 

The UNDP Accelerator Lab in Uganda is part of a three-year global initiative to build a network of 60 labs in 78 countries across the world.

The labs consist of experts from UNDP working with local innovators to identify solutions to challenges like poverty, hunger, de-afforestation and poor health among others.

Innocent Ejolu, the focal point person of the lab at UNDP, says that the initiative will enable local innovators to pitch solutions to UNDP. UNDP will then work with the innovators to experiment and implement them.

He says UNDP has already called for innovative ideas on dealing with deforestation in Uganda and are receiving feedback.

The Accelerator Labs initiative was launched globally in July as a measure to find new ways that can accelerate progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals- SDG.

According to UNDP, some SDGs are far from being realized and hence a need for a different approach to achieve them by 2030 as planned.

Ejolu says SDGs like Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being for all, Quality Education for all, clean Water and Sanitation and climate action are lagging behind.

According to UNDP, there will be regular evaluations at the labs to establish if they are still pursuing their commitments or innovations, assess progress, make modification or adjustments if need be among others.

UNDP Resident Representative, Elsie Attafuah reiterated UN’s commitment to achieving sustainable development goals and said the labs are a good step towards the achievement.

The Minister in Charge of General Duties Mary Karooro Okurut also welcomed the initiative saying it will generate local grounded solutions with maximum participation of the local community. 

She says that it is also a great opportunity for the youths to showcase their innovations and contribute to solutions to the challenges facing the country.

Edwin Muhumuza a climate change activist and an innovator in alternative cooking fuel says the lab is a good initiative with potential to tap into the innovations of youths. He, however, says the program should be accessible to youths in rural areas.  

So far, the UN Labs are in countries like Cambodia and Pakistan. In Pakistan, the labs are focusing on drought as one of the challenges. One of the teams in Pakistan found a seaweed that is highly nutritious for animal feed hence providing a solution on how to cope with drought.

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