USP hosts Youth Co-Lab Conference

Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & International with the category winners.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & International with the category winners.

A two-day Youth Co-Lab Conference co-hosted by The University of the South Pacific (USP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ministry of Youth and Sport (MYS), and AusAID was held at the Innovation Hub, ICT Building A at the Laucala Campus from 26-27 March 2019.

The conference brought together young people from all over Fiji who engaged with youth advocates from various organisations within Fiji and around the region. The event was organised to align with the MYS Main Conference which was hosted consecutively at the Australia-Pacific Lecture Theatre at the Laucala Campus.

A total of 37 youth participants joined the Youth Co-Lab conference and are currently affiliated with USP, UNDP, and MYS.

Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation & International) officiated at the combined opening ceremony with that of the MYS’ main conference.

He encouraged participants to utilise the knowledge and skills learned from the conference to contribute towards building and accomplishing more innovative projects that can benefit their own communities and Fiji in general.

Professor Armstrong added that USP shows its support for youths by allowing the Innovation Hub (University’s facility) to host such initiatives which is very much aligned with the University’s role in strengthening innovative knowledge in the region.

Youth participants also took part in a pitching competition under the General Social Enterprise, ICT and Group categories. Ideas were developed around successful business models by winners for each category:

1. General Social Enterprise category winners:

a. Sovaia Liku (Converting shipping containers into homes)
b. Samuela Tuinabua (Self-defense academy)
c. Epeli Tuibeqa (Fashion retail)
d. Shiuhendra Prasad (Bee farming)
e. Josifini Ledua (Organic livestock farming)

2. ICT category winners:

a. Vineet Singh (EduFiji App): USP research-based student
b. Dwain Qalovaki
c. Tevita Tuvuki

3. Group category winners:

a. Galoa young women: Vasiti Kawau, Miriama Saunalewa, Mere Mese (Plastic repurposing)
b. Seru Feresi and Mosese Volavola (Flower nursery)
c. Broderick Mervyn, Leone Zion Vurakania, Mere Delai, Alitia Wailevu (Girded Grace)

The award presentation was done at USP Laucala Campus during the MYS Awards on 28 March 2019.

Youth Co Lab is a regional (Asia-Pacific) initiative co-created by the United Nations Development Programme and the Citi Foundation for support and promotion of youth-led entrepreneurship, social innovations and leadership.

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