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Four Ugandan innovators receive Shs300m seed funding from UNICEF

Pitching 1st at the UNICEF UgInnovates event last week was Seatpack. This is to solving the lack of affordable, classroom furniture by providing a school bag that turns into a mobile bamboo classroom chair with a writing surface to help School Children read and write. PHOTO @OutboxHub

Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | After a tough day of pitching ideas, four winning innovators walked away with UGX77m each from UNICEF to boost their capacity to provide solutions to socio-economic challenges affecting children mainly.

The winning teams are SeatPack, Safe Water Harvester, KAINO Africa and Fine Reed innovates. They will also receive six months mentorship, social business training, and linkages to partners in the market to enable them to realize and implement their ideas.

UNICEF in partnership with Outbox, an innovation and entrepreneurship support organization, rewarded the teams after an independent panel of judges made an assessment of the pitches.

In an innovation challenge funded by UNICEF, the winners were selected from a combined 19 groups that was whittled down a total of 285 applicants. The challenge is aimed at supporting innovative approaches and solutions to address challenges faced by children in Uganda.

The challenge is specifically focusing on early childhood survival and development; improving access to Basic education and adolescent development for girls and boys aged 13 – 19; and ensure that children are free from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, including harmful practices.

“At UNICEF, we encourage innovation as it offers out of the box and non-conventional solutions to challenges facing the realization of children’s rights. With new innovative thinking we can take child survival and development to new higher levels of excellence. Innovations offer agility, efficiency and effectiveness,” said Dr. Munir Safieldin, UNICEF Representative in Uganda.

Richard Zulu, founding partner and Outbox Hub Lead said, “The UNICEF Uganda Innovation Fund Challenge is an initiative that will further grow the social entrepreneurship movement in Uganda, where young people and other private sector actors are encouraged and supported to address societal challenges in sustainable ways.

Unicef and Outbox are planning to launch another call for applications where other participants will have an opportunity to have their solutions and ideas supported by the same initiative.

WINNING TEAMS

SeatPack; solving the lack of affordable, classroom furniture by providing a school bag that turns into a mobile bamboo classroom chair with a writing surface to help Primary School Children read and write in more dignified conditions indoors and outdoors, while social distancing for safety against Covid19.

Safe Water Harvester: uses a solar powered device that traps humidity/water vapour from the atmosphere providing clean and affordable water to underserved rural communities.

Fine Reed innovates: Fine Reed innovates and commercializes energy solutions to promote SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 13 (Climate Action).

KAINO Africa: An EdTech (Education Technology) product that provides nursery schools and parents in Uganda with access to quality curriculum aligned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) blended lesson guides which they deliver to their learners using our web and mobile applications and is able to teach children how to read and write in only one month.

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