Accelerator Lab’s First Innovation Expo in Timor-Leste
January 29, 2023
“It was an inspiring moment for me as mapper to be able to connect with local innovators at the innovation expo. It is like having so many windows open to different views, new ideas, and more opportunities “ said Grazela Maria Albino, UNDP Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab Head of Solution Mapping.
Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab team proudly completed the first innovation expo on Local Solutions and Grassroot Innovation (GI) in Timor-Leste from 19 – 21 December 2022, showcased products and works by youth and communities mapped by Accelerator Lab team. The innovation expo is a great opportunity to raise awareness of people solutions, namely, problem solving skills to tackle real-life issues at the community level that Accelerator Lab has been promoting. “The importance of people solutions needs to be underlined, because it helps us to better understand the unique context of local community and problems they are facing” said Grazela.
The main objective of the innovation expo is to nurture local network to improve people’s lives through innovation. More than 30 local solutions and grassroots innovation teams, including four project teams from UNDP, and key social actors, such as Government officials, embassies, university students, academics, NGOs and CBOs joined the event, grasping at creative ideas generated by local communities. The interactive exhibitions also facilitated visitors to engage to the community solutions and discover new possibilities - it is not an event to showcase local products, rather a momentum to prove the power of local knowledge that remains untapped and underdeveloped.
At the expo, participants voted for the best local solution and GI. The first two winners were the Biogas clean energy project and the Smart city student project. The Biogas clean energy project was initiated by Mr. Aires Almeida, who proposed Biogas Clean Energy to replace from firewood at local households, his invention largely contributed to protect women who cook meals with firewood from having respiratory related diseases. With the first-hand experiments, he discovered that the residue from biogas digester can be reused as fertilizer to boost the growth of fruit plants. On the other hand, Smart city student project was led by students from Technical and Vocational School of Fatumaca. They presented 3D smart-city models to solve traffic congestion problems in the capital city of Dili, demonstrated how Internet of Things (IOT) tools helps people to operate the city and tackle to current problems efficiently and effectively.
People’s innovative ideas and creations, especially young people, are getting more recognized by the government of Timor-Leste. “Young people must be creative and take a lead for the innovations. Many innovations are happening right now in Timor-Leste which allow us to explore more opportunities ahead “expressed Director General Representative of the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry Mr. Carlos Ximenes. The importance of youth engagement was also emphasized by UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, saying innovators are like athletes, they practice many years to bring tangible outcomes. “We are happy to support talented Timorese youth by providing training through Accelerator Lab”.
“We felt the positive vibes from participants and visitors at the expo, challenges and aspirations ahead for innovations happening in Timor-Leste” said Grazela. UNDP Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab will continue to work closely with youth and local communities to scale up solutions to the next level.