The Swedish government has signed an agreement with UNICEF to promote social innovations in Zimbabwe.
The funding to the tune of US$773 000 is meant to scale up the Global Innovations Hub set up to ignite creative ideas and unlock young people’s potential to develop environmental sustainability and renewable energy innovations.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sofia Calltorp said this was the first programme they were funding that would provide both economic development and jobs for young people.
“We are proud that this first programme is one that aims to ignite social change and unlock young people’s potential to achieve sustainable economic development, green innovations and green jobs,” she said.
UNICEF representative Dr Mohamed Ayoya said women would benefit more from the “green” jobs and increase the participation of young people in environmental sustainability.
“At the end of three years, the project will not only have strengthened the participation of young people in environmental sustainability and renewable energy, but also increased the number of young people employed in green jobs, especially females,” he said.
Ayoya said the agreement was well timed in response to climate change.
“This agreement is timely because it comes at a time when the world, including Zimbabwe, is grappling with the effects of climate change and environmental degradation,” he said.
Ayoya added that the project sought to address obstructions to energy access.
“Energy demand in Zimbabwe is growing gradually at the rate of two percent per year, while access remains low, currently at 40 percent.
“There are still numerous barriers to energy access, among them lack of finance and technology; this project seeks to address some of these challenges by creating a platform for young people to come up with smart energy solutions,” said Ayoya.
Ayoya said details of a media campaign to be launched soon where young people will submit their ideas would be revealed in due course