Young innovators from Somalia presented their ideas on economically empowering the country’s large population of Internally Displaced people (IDP) at an event organized by the Federal Government and United Nations agencies.
The “innovation challenge” initiative to seek ideas from young Somalis on improving the living conditions of IDPs was launched on Wednesday.
The innovators engaged senior officials from the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the World Bank.
Their business ideas could win them start-up funding. The most viable solutions for improving the living conditions and livelihoods of IDPs will be supported through entrepreneurship training, incubation and access to finance.
The ideas ranged from online applications and tools, to improved milk processing and livestock feeding techniques.
“We really don’t want to be dependent on humanitarian (support). And this is the way out. This is the way people could be resilient and this is I think something that we can really look into,” said government official, Abdullahi Alas.
Somalia has been in a state of civil war since 1991.
It now has an internationally-backed government, supported by African peacekeepers, battling al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated militia, which continues to launch deadly attacks targeting the government and security forces.
Thousands of families have fled drought and conflict.
UNEP head Achim Steiner told the youth, they had the potential to change Somalia for the better.
“You are the best hope that something will be different tomorrow. We write a lot of reports, we do a lot of emergency support. But what we love the most is to work with people like you because if we can succeed with you, to help you to the next level, you will take Somalia to its next level,” he said.
The inaugural Innovate for Somalia camp was held in October last year.