The Accelerator Lab uses technology, creative and citizen-led solutions to spur growth in South Sudan
August 25, 2022
The Accelerator Lab is deploying technology, creativity and citizen-led solutions to address decades-long challenges in South Sudan. From technology-enabled financial and digital inclusion, innovative sustainable STEM-based products to creative food systems and business resilience schemes, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab is championing technology, creativity and innovation to achieve sustainable development in South Sudan.
In this narrative, we profile the main six mid-year initiatives of the Accelerator Lab in South Sudan. We have our treasured partners to thank for making our successes possible.
Enjoy your reading!
University Career Ideathon Camp
The UNDP AccLab, as it is popularly known, in conjunction with Snap Recruitment, conducted a three-day boot camp at local public and private universities to source new solutions to career mismatch and youth unemployment. Over 100 university students and fresh graduates participated in the co-creation of solutions.
Traditional Meets Digital: The Sanduk Saving Scheme drives financial and digital inclusion
Supported by the Africa Borderlands Centre (ABC), the Government of South Sudan and in partnership with Mgurush, the AccLab is promoting financial and digital inclusion of rural borderlands communities. This experiment facilitates community and culturally informed economic empowerment via enrollment of traditional village savings and loaning associations (VSLAs) onto Mgurush Mobile Banking. Targeting the unbanked, this project seeks to transform traditional savings boxes into digital mobile banking and increase access to capital for the underserved communities.
The Ignite Food Systems Challenge boosts food security in South Sudan
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNDP with support from USAID and in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security set out to find South Sudan's brightest and most creative solutions to address hunger, improve food security and strengthen food systems in Africa’s youngest nation. A total of sixteen initiatives were selected as finalists, and underwent a weeklong skills training and pitch deck preparation in Juba, South Sudan. This training prepared the finalists for the final pitch day in May where they had a chance at winning up to USD 40,000 to realize their initiative. Cumulatively, a total of USD 200,000 has been awarded under this initiative.
Digital Innovation for Business Resilience in the EAC Innovation Challenge
The Accelerator Lab in partnership with Junub Open Space conducted a business resilience innovation challenge. Digital Innovation for Business Resilience in the EAC, a program under the dSkills@EA project seeks to support young innovators at universities in the East African Community (EAC) to develop digital innovations for the industry and design new digital business models for business resilience.
The UNDP South Sudan Accelerator Lab, in its role as a conduit for social innovation, provided technical and financial support for the digital innovation challenge throughout the four phases of ideation, boot camp, national pitch event and EA regional finals. Two finalists from South Sudan were selected to proceed to the East African finals and NileBoda came back with the regional 1st place trophy.
Go-girls Lab produces locally made sanitizers
With support from the Accelerator Lab, the GoSanitize established a physical laboratory for teaching and production of sanitizer. The GoSanitize initiative is a social enterprise that seeks to produce affordable yet quality hand sanitizer within South Sudan using locally supplied raw materials and capacities.
The whole ecosystem comprises farmers who provide lemons as antioxidants and aloe vera as moisturizer for the product, local female brewers who provide the alcohol and local market vendors who provide the yeast, among others.
Annual Innovators Ecosystem Meet and Greet events
This quarterly meeting of creatives, makers and doers seeks to broaden networking opportunities, building community and unity in South Sudan.
It provides space for the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Sudan to reflect on themes and trends in the field and provide feedback to the AccLab.
For a country transiting from political, social and economic challenges, legacies of conflict, prolonged conflict and climate change, the AccLab methodology is key to the country’s recovery efforts.
As the country continues to work on constitution making and institution building, the AccLab believes capacity building as well as infrastructure for the technological and innovation ecosystem are key to stimulating development in South Sudan. Technology, innovation and creativity can enable new learning and gains for sustainable development in South Sudan.
The AccLab modalities continue to champion grassroots citizen-led solutions that are representative and inclusive of all stakeholders.