A global initiative for the youth was launched in Arusha last week with the aim of finding a lasting solution for the use of data in quantifying development achievements.
The initiative, dubbed “Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator,” will collect data from local communities and use it to push for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The initiative also seeks to empower young people to work towards the development of their countries.
Pioneered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017, the initiative is part of an annual global campaign to use stories and data to highlight the progress of SDGs and hold governments to account.
This year’s initiative has also received financial and technical support from a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists — CIVICUS, Restless Development, the George W. Bush Institute, Action for Sustainable Development and the Obama Foundation.
The initiative is made up of 26 data innovators aged between 18 and 35 from 22 countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
“We were looking for young leaders who are implementing development projects and are ready to scale them up. Those applicants with fresh ideas or testing projects did not qualify” said Youth Engagement officer with CIVICUS, Elisa Novoa.
Each of the selected candidates will get grants worth $30,000 coupled with mentorship and technological support to tackle challenges associated with poverty, health, education, gender inequality, and water and sanitation.
The selected projects range from initiatives to curb deforestation by providing rural communities with alternative sources of income; a campaign to strengthen food security by providing farmers with data on land fertility; to a plan to produce low cost drones to deliver medicine and HIV tests for young children and pregnant women in remote areas.
“We hope that after a year of the pilot project, we can provide evidence to show that supporting youth activism is important for achieving the SDGs,” said Ms Novoa.
The innovators will need to submit three brief reports on their activities.