Application Deadline: 17 August 2023
Due to this interlinkage the mental health of adolescents and young people is closely linked to the achievement of UNFPA’s three Transformative Results (TRs) by 2030, these being (a) ending preventable maternal deaths, (b) ending the unmet need for family planning, and (c) ending gender-based violence and harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation. In light of this, UNFPA in collaboration with Youth Connekt Africa (YCA) implemented by AfriLabs is launching the Mental Health and ASRHR HackLab, which will explore innovation as an approach to accelerating efforts towards achieving the three TRs and ensure protection and fulfillment of adolescents and young people’s rights. The HackLab will target young people who have aspiring innovative solutions that when taken to scale can make impactful change on the mental health and ASRHR of young people in the region.
The HackLab will also identify intermediaries including accelerators within UNFPA Country Offices (COs), incubators, investors, marketers etc, who can support young innovators to thrive and become leaders of societal change. The HackLab will identify innovators and connect them with technical support through UNFPA COs to assist them with aligning with UNFPA’s mandate to develop their innovative solutions in addressing issues related to mental health and ASRHR. This will help to raise awareness of the bi-directional interlinkages between mental health and ASRHR and help mitigate the consequences of both negative mental health and ASRHR outcomes in adolescents and young people.
This HackLab will be an avenue for UNFPA to facilitate opportunities for young people to innovate and create solutions on SRHR while creating jobs for youth.
The opportunity areas include:
- Ideas and solutions aiming at improving the mental health of pregnant adolescent girls and young women and/or young mothers and young parents.
- Ideas and solutions aiming at addressing the interlinkages between HIV and mental health of adolescents and young people.
- Ideas and solutions focusing on mental health of adolescents and young people who are GBV survivors.
- Ideas and solutions on preventing mental health issues and improving mental well-being of adolescents and young people of the LGBTIQ+ community
- Ideas and solutions on drug and substance abuse and its interlinkages to mental health and ASRHR.
To participate in the Hacklab, the selected innovation solution must meet the following criteria:
1. Ideas must be new, innovative and respond to any of the opportunity areas identified above.
2. Be based in an UNFPA SYP Programme country (Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe);
3. Demonstrate that the idea or solution is novel in the SYP programme country;
4. Demonstrate capacity with a clear plan for incubating the idea or solution to scale;
5. The innovator must be 35 years or younger (African Union definition for youth). Women and girls and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply;
6. Innovations can be submitted by individuals, or teams. Innovation teams cannot be represented by more than 3 members;
7. Align with the UNFPAs transformative results and/core mandate;
8. Align with the UN principles of innovation;
9. Be scalable and commercially viable solutions. Solutions that are adaptable to other contexts with little financial injections required;
10. Have a demonstrable capacity to empower women and youth;
11. Teams must be willing to adjust their idea or solution if advised by their Country Office facilitating their technical capacity building;
12. Willingness to showcase their idea or solutions through communication platforms to be determined by UNFPA.
1. Each of the two emerging solutions will benefit from a seed fund investment of USD$15,000.
2. Another $5,000 in kind investment readiness business support will be provided to each winning solution by the identified business incubation hub. The acceleration support provided by Afrilabs will include business support services – exposure to investment opportunities, business coaching, customer acquisition, brand positioning and awareness, financial management, team building, product development and augmentation etc.
- Call for applications closes: 17 August
- Longlisting and shortlisting of submitted innovations: August/September
- Technical capacity building for innovators: Mid September
- Final pitch event at YCA summit: October
- Investments readiness preparation for winning innovations: October-December
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