UNDP Sierra Leone Accelerator Lab
We aim to support the development of the innovation and digital ecosystem, enabling local innovators to thrive and have a stake in addressing development challenges.
The UNDP Sierra Leone Accelerator Lab was established in September 2019, and since then we have been on a journey of identifying local innovators, to understand and learn about their unique solutions to a catalogue of local challenges. Our aim is to support the ecosystem and enable these innovators to establish themselves as part of the national development agenda. We work with government, development partners, academia, the private sector, civil society organizations and the local communities themselves.
Our work so far has covered various areas, mainly plastic waste management, agriculture, access to water and energy, with a focus on creating opportunities for young innovators through entrepreneurship for solutions that have been tested and seen as market ready.
Our unique selling point as a Lab is the Grassroot Solutions Mapping database which we have developed and are continuously updating as new solutions are discovered around the country. By partnering with the two leading Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in country we’ve activated a toll-free line for the channelling of information on innovative solutions that emerge within the communities including those that we can engage directly. As a result of the real time update from innovators living within communities, we have been able to provide relevant data to interested development partners in search of local solutions that are within their respective areas of priorities.
Our strategy for scaling up solutions is internally through our Country Office’s program interventions and externally with other UN agencies, development partners, and the private sector. So far, we have been able to work with our Sustainable Local Economic Development Cluster to scale-up an access to water solution, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for an agriculture solution and also accessed private sector capacity-building support to local innovators. We aim to create more opportunities for scaling-up with private sector investors, using innovative tools such as a crowdfunding platform, as we believe this will be more sustainable in the long-run.
Going forward we will also continue to work with the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre on designing tailor-made solutions to monitor and improve on vaccination uptake, creation of an online EPI verification option, improved data management and information sharing with the public.
We would like to thank our partners for their collaborative work with the UNDP Accelerator Labs. Building and strengthening alliances is the core of UNDP and the Accelerator Labs’ model. Please reach out if you are interested in partnering with us, we would love to hear from you.