Ashesi D:Lab partners with UNICEF in hackathon

November 1, 2018
October 19 – 20, 2018, Accra – In partnership with UNICEF, Ashesi D:Lab facilitated a two-day hackathon focused on showcasing how young people are using technology to tackle social issues to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under the theme Partnership with Youth to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the hackathon aimed at developing solutions that employ child-centered approach for SDGs 3 (Good Health & Well Being), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water & Sanitation), 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and 13 (Climate Action).

“UNICEF realizes the potential within our young people and how those potentials could help transform nations and economies, yet they remain untapped,” said Mrs. Antoinette Gyan, Communication Officer-in-charge of Brand and Youth Engagement at UNICEF Ghana. “So moving forward, we are seeking partnerships with the private sector, academia, and all stakeholders to ensure they tap the potentials of these young people.”

In September 2018, the United Nations launched Youth 2030, an umbrella framework that seeks to significantly strengthen the UN’s capacity to engage young people and benefit from their views, insights, and ideas, and to ensure that UN’s work on youth issues is pursued in a coordinated, coherent and holistic manner.

“The partnership with UNICEF provided the D:Lab with another opportunity to share its design thinking methodology for problem-solving with the youth,” said Dr. Gordon Adomdza, faculty lead for the D:Lab. “By holding the event at an alum’s hub, the D:Lab was able to use an alternative location to reaching the youth from different schools. The D:Lab was also able to provide opportunities Ashesi students with technical skills to provide mentorship to the teams, hence enabling our students to apply their skills and apply themselves a little more. The SDGs are broad and overwhelming for a lot of young problem solvers. Hence, by partnering with UNICEF, the D:Lab provided the hackathon teams with tools for problem reframing and analysis, so the teams were more focused and effective in what do to tackle these problems.”

Selected solutions at the hackathon will be presented at the African Youth SDGs Summit in November.

The Ashesi Design Lab is an initiative which combines the concepts of design thinking and design making; design thinking or strategy design for problem-solving, and design making or fabrication for making things more tangible and building out the creative outcomes of the different processes involved in both concepts.

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