UNICEF Kosovo[1] presents its work at the UN’s ECOSOC Youth Forum!

By Lisar Morina

For the first time ever, UNICEF Kosovo presented the Innovations Lab Kosovo at the UN’s ECOSOC Youth Forum, held in New York on 30-31 January, 2017. Hana Sahatqija, a local staff of UNICEF, present in the meeting threw spotlight on the programme and initiative developed by the Office.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)—one of the six principal organs of the UN— convenes annually to address international social, economic and environmental issues, coordinate the work of UN agencies around the world, and to propose policies that promote collective action for sustainable development around the world.

ECOSOC is the nucleus of the UN for fostering debate and innovative thinking, serving as a hub for the exchange of knowledge and best practices, and as a convergence point for discussion among parliamentarians, academics, policymakers, foundations, businesses, youth and 3,200+ registered non-governmental organizations[2] .file8

The UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo recognizes that youth’s skills, their creativity, and energy, are powerful assets in shaping a society fit for children and fostering an inclusive environment for all.

The Lab pursues new, disruptive solutions for social community development, looking across sectors and fields to identify methods, technologies, and tools that promise to advance the service to children and youth – and it does so exclusively in a By Youth For Youth approach–where youth are at the center of the design and implementation–where youth are partners in developing the initiatives, partners in monitoring, and principal agents of implementation and change.

UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo has developed in partnership with youth a series of initiatives that use non-formal, non-traditional educative methods to instill in youth professional transferrable skills, entrepreneurial skills, the knowledge of advocacy, critical media literacy, and technological skills of the 21stcentury to engage youth in eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity.

Presently, there are 16 countries that have replicated the initiatives of the Innovations Lab in Kosovo, and the Lab is in discussions with many more who have expressed interest.141414414141

The Innovations Lab’s best practices are simple: Have youth guide the program and direct the course of action, use human-centered design, collaborate with the private, public sector and academia, and finally, build trust in youth and build a bridge between them and their duty-bearers, such that their participation and engagement in society is facilitated, and young people from marginalized communities recognize that they are agents of change.

A unit of UNICEF Kosovo, the Innovations Lab is home to an interdisciplinary team of individuals tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work. The lab builds and scales innovations that improve children’s and youth’s lives around the world. Methods and techniques from the programs made by Innovations Lab Kosovo today are practicing models in 16 countries worldwide.

[1] All references to Kosovo on this website are made in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244

[2] Un.org