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JUBA - 12 Jun 2019

Six youth get incubation grants for food security, agriculture in Juba

Six South Sudanese youth were awarded incubation grants for developing ideas aimed at addressing food security and agricultural transformation in the country.

About 60 participants, who were in 23 groups, presented their refined ideas to a panel of judges for the final round of most recent “Youth Innovation Challenge” organized by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in Juba on Saturday.

Each group had five minutes to present their project idea and their prototypes, while the semi-finalists were judged based on a common set of criteria such as how well the concepts addressed food security and agriculture in South Sudan, whether the concepts applied an innovative lens to their solutions and how implementable and realistic the proposed pilot of their idea was, among others.

A team proposal won overall first place, consisting of teammates Rasha Angelo, Cissy Apio, Richard Abondio and Juma Obura.

Second place, according to the judges, went to Lujang Teadato for his concept on use of recycled materials for drip irrigation while Emmanuel Yoasa emerged the third with his crop-tech proposal.

“You have shown that there are solutions to anything, and during this Innovation Sprint, you have tackled the root causes to the issue of hunger and food insecurity,” Kamil Kamaluddeen, the  UNDP Resident Representative said during Saturday’s occasion.

“I want to especially thank the Kingdom of the Netherlands for believing in this kind of partnership, and to Equity Bank for bringing in the private sector perspective and expertise to all of this,” he added.

The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. John Ogoto Kaniois said government would support youth ideas.

“If you want to take your ideas on agricultural transformation to the next level, the Ministry of Agriculture and our partners are here to team up with you. “These ideas can truly drive the development of our country, and I am thrilled about the opportunities and solutions that you have shown,” he said.

On his part, the Undersecretary in the Culture, Youth and Sports ministry, Kuac Wek Wol said the government believes in youth initiatives.

“Our Government and the Ministry believe in youth, and for those who did not win today, remember that you still have all the opportunities to go ahead and implement your ideas,” he said.

The occasion was also attended by the Chairperson for Juba University Council, Manase Lamule, South Sudan Youth Union representative Bak Athian Bak, Managing Director of Equity Bank, Dr. Addis Abba Othow, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Marc Maziarac.

UNDP organized the youth challenge under its Youth Employment and Empowerment Project with support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.