The chilly evening of Friday November 20, 2015 saw yet another successful Social Design Clinic held at the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) in partnership with the Social Innovation Academy (SINA). This clinic was guided by the theme;  “How might we change the story of vulnerable youth by engaging them in Innovation.”

The event moderated by Brian Ndyaguma, a Consultant with the EA RI Lab started by inviting and leading all the clinic participants through a team building exercise from which participants drew and shared lessons. Thereafter, Etienne Salborn, the founder of the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) shared about SINA and highlighted the stories of innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities from the Academy with the emphasis on youth engagement in Up-cycling construction of buildings from waste materials including plastic bottles, tiles made out of crushed egg shells, polythene bags, bio-gas extracted from human and livestock waste, old car tires, and dry banana fiber among others. “Our community provides a free responsibility atmosphere where the students are not told what to do but are simply guided in what they choose to do,” Etienne added.

IMG_8250Consolata Kwikiriza a facilitator at SINA shared testimonies about some of the youth that the Academy has picked off the street and are currently working on different innovative projects under the guidance of SINA.

The knowledge sharing and networking opportunity brought together 36 participants who were later engaged in a 15 minutes brainstorming group discussion to suggest innovate approaches on how to actively engage marginalized youth in innovation and which innovative activities to involve them in. It was very exciting to see participants finally pitch innovative ideas around the challenges they had worked on in the groups. These included options like creating a platform for the marginalized youth were they can come together and be tutored by mentors on innovation, inviting them to the RAN Innovation Lab to participate in some of the events such as the Social Design Clinic, and also enabling them to acquire a standard education for basic knowledge.

Social Innovation Academy – SINA is a non-formal youth entrepreneurship and skills development programme which brings together youth who have completed their education but are unemployed or those who have dropped out of high school. These are then trained in innovation making use of all the locally available resources/materials to positively impact the communities but also in an effort to create employment. Once the youth is ready to fend for him or herself, she or he is free to exit the Academy and continue with the innovation/business.

The Social Design Clinic is a monthly platform where the RAN team is joined by other development partners, students, faculty and the community to brainstorm brilliant/innovative ideas and interventions to address pressing social issues. This is aimed at changing the way we perceive the world, aid exploration of innovative art and social science approaches, techniques and projects that meaningfully engage with issues of communication, advocacy, justice, community peace building, gender and sexual violence among others. Clinic participants bear in mind that we can use visual, conceptual art, photography, new social media, video, dance, theater, performance art, music, creative writing, documentaries that raise awareness about social concerns and the detrimental social impact.

This monthly event targets the involvement of mostly Arts, Humanities, Behavioral and Social Science disciplines as the RAN Lab recognizes and appreciates that these disciplines too contribute significantly to the quality of innovation. Join us for the subsequent Social Design Clinics and be part of the creative team innovating real time! Updates are shared here