Hackadev challenge

UNDP Sri Lanka

Youth and Innovation

Investing in Young People

Today’s generation of young people is the largest the world has ever known. All around us, we see that there are challenges of creating enough jobs and opportunities for all due to growing inequalities, lack of access to healthcare and education, protracted conflicts, natural disasters and other global environmental challenges. These challenges are important to all of us, but especially to the young people who make up more than half of the world’s population today. In Sri Lanka, young people make up nearly a quarter of the population. Therefore, the importance of responding to the needs of this generation of young people cannot be overstated. Addressing young people’s specific needs as well as recognising, promoting and supporting the role of youth as critical and positive agents of change, is a top priority for the United Nations.

At UNDP, we work on several fronts to support young people and youth organizations around the world.


Safe Spaces. Opportunities. Inclusivity.

At global and regional levels, UNDP has set up programmes and platforms to boost youth participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

In 2016, we launched our first Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace, which aims to empower youth across all development contexts through greater engagement -  a 5-year programme covering over 40 countries, including Sri Lanka

Globally, UNDP also supports the capacity development of young people guided by UNDP’s Youth Strategy 2014-2017 which recognized the importance of the involvement of young men and women in decision.

In Sri Lanka, we introduced the UNDP Youth LEAD programme in 2015 to provide an opportunity to four young people to work within UNDP, to infuse new thinking into our work. After two successful batches, UNDP recently recruited the third batch of young people who will work cohesively to support some of the ongoing UNDP initiatives.

Together with the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Development, the National Youth Services Council and the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, we are hosting the National Youth Social Innovation ‘Hackathon’ for the 4th year in a row, providing a platform for young people to be part of the solution to development challenges around us.

We are also working with the National Youth Services Council along with Cisco and Citi to provide e-learning courses to 1000 young people across the country.

With the support of the Government of Norway and the European Union, we partnered with a few national universities in the North and the East to provide a Youth Leadership Development course for young people who are unable to gain entrance to tertiary education.


Strengthening Gender Equality (Policy and Engagement) 

•    Gender integration into public sector trainings undertaken by Citra in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Administration and SLIDA 
•    HackaDev challenges address core gender discriminatory issues of sexual harassment of women in public transport, cyber violence among youth, especially among young women
•    HackaDev teams require the participation of at least one woman in the teams, as a result women dominant teams are also part of the challenge fostering a culture of gender equality
•    Ensure gender balance in the judging panel at the pitching sessions of the HackaDev social innovation camps
•    Facilitate the participation of female domain experts in each of the selected areas at the HackaDev social innovation camps to inspire the young girls who are taking part in these social innovation camps
•    Assisted LIRNEasia in developing a qualitative study commissioned by the Millennium Corporate Challenge (MCC) on user preferences, and behaviour patterns in the use of public transportation sector where gender is integrated.  
•    Collaborated with the Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ) providing design thinking on their project (Supported by UN Women & UNDP) which looks at reporting cases of sexual bribery carried out by public sector officials in certain selected areas of Sri Lanka.
•    Issues and approaches when designing and facilitating the annual youth camp organized in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission scheduled to take place in December 2019