Preparations are under way for the 5th edition of UPSHIFT- Social Impact Workshop organized by UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo. This time the three day workshop will host 15-24 year old youth from the municipalities of Podujeva, Obiliq and Drenas, and surrounding villages.
Through a hands-on, learn-while-doing approach youngsters will apply innovative techniques of design and will develop solutions for challenges they have themselves identified and researched in the communities where they live.
So far, 148 youth-led projects in Kosovo, all UPSHIFT finalists, have created platforms, products, services and organized educational activities of significant value for Kosovo society. They are examples of collaboration in their multi-ethnic communities, of civic participation, showing how far some support can bring their willingness for the betterment the society they live in.
Through their projects they have tackled environmental issues, worked to help youth grow professionally, worked with children, and brought science lab activities back to high schools students.
Valon Nushi, coordinator at UNICEF innovations lab Kosovo says that UPSHIFT is slowly becoming a leading programme for youth in Kosovo, giving them the opportunity to not only implement their own projects but at the same time equip them with different skills for the identification of challenges, the development of prototypes and their solution.
Moreover, he adds, during the three days at UPSHIFT, and later during the implementation phase of their projects, youth are provided intensive training phases in different areas. The programme’s aim is to increase their employability and professional readiness teaching them skills of entrepreneurship and active citizenship.
Enis Presheva, leader of one of the winning teams at UPSHIFT’s 4th edition, getting ready to implement their Say NO to bullying project tells about his experience: â€œParticipating at UPSHIFT was very interesting.
Creativity, time management, collaboration, and fun- we did it all. I consider myself privileged to have been given the chance to learn from the experience of professionals and work to find a solution for the problem we wanted to solve, as well as learn effective problem-solving techniques that I can use also later in other areasâ€.
Apply before April 14, 2016
The Lab’s team has already started the outreach campaign for this edition of UPSHIFT visiting schools, youth centers and villages meeting with youth. During the coming weeks they will guide youngsters through daily workshops and non-formal meetings, to identify and learn how to research challenges of their communities. The Lab will be receiving applications until April 14, 2016. Ten teams will then be selected to participate at the workshop which will be held on the last weekend of April, dates 22, 23, 24.
During the workshop, all teams will have the opportunity to work with different mentors- professional project managers, software engineers, communications and marketing specialists and graphic and web designers. Mentors will be there available to help, guide and advice teams through all phases of the workshop. On the final day, after presentations to a panel of judges, from the ten teams participating, five will be selected to implement their project with further financial and technical support from the Lab.
Aleksandra Arsic one of the members of the Live Puppets project group which offered art workshops for children in the municipality of Gracanica/Gracanica, when asked about her experience participating at UPSHIFT said: This was the first time in my life participating in such a workshop, where I have learned many things starting with challenge identification to the detailed processes of arriving to a solutions we could offer to our community. Socializing and collaborating with members of other communities in Kosovo was a special pleasure for our team.
Youth interested to become part of this edition of UPSHIFT should send their application found in this link before April 14, 2016. All of the latest information in regards to the workshop and outreach campaign can be found on the Lab’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kosovoinnovations
UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo recently celebrated its 5th year. As a programme of UNICEF in Kosovo the Lab’s activities are implemented with the local NGO Peer Educators Network, both committed to support and empower Kosovo youth.