Saturday December 12, 2015 saw the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) in partnership with Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) host the 1st Uganda Innovation Day in Mpigi District, Uganda – near Nsamizi Institute. This event was guided by the Theme:  “Breaking Barriers towards Innovation” as a tool to tackle the unemployment challenge among the youth in Uganda.

The Uganda Innovation Day attracted 160 participants including different young innovators, entrepreneurs, business partners, leaders, media, parents, organizations like YAFU (Youth Advocacy Foundation Uganda ), AISEC who are focused on empowering young people to realize and achieve their full Potential in life through engaging them in skilling, mentorship, guidance , motivation and support activities.

These participants engaged in challenging but powerful impossible to possible challenges through the open space dialogue, a technique used to allow different stakeholders to share without limits which we used to understand understand and brainstorm barriers that youth are currently experiencing that hinder them from pursuing entrepreneurial and innovative activities which can lead to job creation opportunities. Some of the discussion topics which emerged from the question that participants brainstormed in groups included; participants included; How might we support the youth to get Mentorship? How might we link the Youth to potential funders?

SINA and RAN Innovators engaged participants in 5 minute elevator pitches and got feedback on their ideas; Some of the ideas from SINA pitched included; “Ask Without Shame” who launched their Sex-Education-App. RAN Innovators who pitched and showcased their projects include; Matibabu (Non Invasive Malaria Disgnosis Kit), RootiO – Community Radio, Maize Thresher. It was also a great opportunity to share extensively about RAN and the opportunities that are available for young Innovators like the Youth Spark Innovation Grants (#YSiG2015), mentorship and capacity building initiatives in the EA RI Lab.

 SINA also announced their upcoming projects on building bottle houses for and with youth communities in 2016. The event ended successfully with Frank Gashumba’s closing remarks on youth empowerment and inspiring the youth to actively engage in entrepreneurial start-up businesses that will materialize into employment opportunities.

 The RAN Team is finalizing an MOU between RAN and SINA to engage in further activities like the monthly Social Design Clinic (SDC) as well as other opportunities that can mutually benefit us