Future Forward UNIPOD: Launched at the University of Juba, South Sudan

August 17, 2023

VP Hussein Abdelbaggi and delegates towards the UNIPOD

UNDP/Sarah Sibrino

The first high tech innovation hub for technology was launched in Juba University on 16 August 2023.  Officiated by H.E. Hussein Abdelbaggi, Vice President for Services Cluster the University of Juba Innovation POD (UNIPOD) is the first of its kind in the country. Worth $1.2million, the UNIPOD facility is furnished with equipment for; woodwork lab, Agri/Food Tech Lab, Textiles/Fabrics, Electrical & Electronics Lab, Audio Visual & Augmented Reality/Visual Reality (AR/VR) Lab, and other spaces.

After a tour of the University and UNIPOD premises, the Vice President pledged his support to all South Sudan Universities, stating that he has seen the need of the students. The UNIPOD is a great solution because it brings students what they really need, he said.

Hon. Gabriel Changson Chang the National Minister for Higher Education, in attendance, reiterated the Ministries commitment in transforming a National Universities to Centres of excellence.  Although resources are limited, he said, discussions are ongoing with the cabinet on the national budget and the enactment of the Education Bill, which will facilitate improvement of higher learning institutions.

The University of Juba and UNDP South Sudan signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2022 and since then, the two entities have partnered to ensure the UNIPOD’s success through the National Transformational Leadership Institute (NTLI) of the University, Go Girls Initiative and the Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project at UNDP.  Ensuring ownership and continuity of the UNIPOD, UNDP hired a consultant to set up a team of youth in the science and arts fields who will manage the POD.

Speaking at the launch, Prof. John Akech the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba said that the UNIPOD will accelerate learning for students and talented youth while reinventing the future and transforming lives. 

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Titus Osundina emphasized that the UNIPOD will serve as a space where University faculty and Students will become innovators and entrepreneurs while fostering connections with industries, UN agencies and the local community. 

The UNIPOD is a UNDP African Regional Bureau initiative is aimed at promoting innovation, inter-disciplinary research and nurture the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in the University. Located in six countries: Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Guinea, Togo and now South Sudan.