UPSHIFT is a youth social innovation program developed by UNICEF Innovation under the Generation Unlimited UNICEF vision.
UPSHIFT combines leading approaches to youth and adolescent development with private sector best practice (human-centered design), to empower marginalized young people to identify and design entrepreneurial solutions to challenges in their communities. The approach combines social innovation workshops with mentorship and seed funding and is tailored to reach the most marginalized.
Young people gain skills for life and for employment. Perhaps most importantly, UPSHIFT positively impacts the wider community through the indirect benefits of the products and services that young people design. Additionally, this contributes to changing perceptions of young people as positive change agents, rather than a problem to be solved.
With a population of 12,316,895 people and a significant youth and adolescent proportion forming a huge youth bulge, Somalia faces an unprecedented challenge in addressing the youth and adolescent needs of the people in a complex context where conflict, natural disasters and climate change divert resources from the needs of this important cohort of the population. Just under half (45.6%) of the population is less than 15 years old, while three- quarters (75%) of the population is less than 30 years old.
Youth unemployment in Somalia is high, with only an estimated 27% of youth employed (58% male and 42% female), while majority of the employed (70%) are in the primary sector that is agriculture, forestry and fisheries. An overwhelming majority (69 percent) of 2,685 males and
females in the Somali region, including South Central Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, surveyed by the Heritage Institute mentioned either the lack of opportunities (48 percent) or the poor economic situation of families (21 percent) as key reasons for out-migration.
UPSHIFT Somalia project aimed at providing skills and innovative opportunities to the youth in Somaliland and Greater Somalia with the following 4 pillars:
Output 1: Top training of Design Thinking, User-Centered Design and Social Entrepreneurship as a way to enable new life opportunities for 400 youngsters.
Output 2: Social enterprise and business development: Identification and generation of innovative social business opportunities. Access to mentoring and funding to successfully start up new business opportunities.
Output 3: Training of XXI century skills. We look for the development of Changemaker Skills: empathy, human-centered design, design thinking, team-work, team-leadership, circular economy, social business.
Output 4: Support the creation of long-term social innovation ecosystems in Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Garowe together with the UPSHIFT local partners.
UPSHIFT Kenya Is the digital version of UNICEF flagship initiative to build skills & create opportunities for marginalized young people. The participants work together to build social innovation and entrepreneurship projects that address problems in their communities.
In Kenya, 50 youth participated in this exciting pilot of the program. The participants are drawn from different parts of the country and are joining hands to co-create out-of-the-box projects over four months.
UPSHIFT Kenya had two goals: to facilitate accelerated start-up learning, social entrepreneurship, and knowledge sharing among youth-focused organizations through programs aimed at them
In the process of working together and defining teams ,the participants learnt each other’s strengths and how they will use them to tackle the issues they presented and the solutions they will come up with.
Upon completion of the 8 day bootcamp, the participants went through a 3 month boot camp where they continued to work in teams with guidance from the coaches to build on their ideas. Upon completion of the bootcamp, the participants the participants will receive seed to set up their social enterprise.