45 people, four days, multiple solutions

Sarah Butler
Over 45 young people from Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan came together last month in Nairobi as part of Save the Children’s first ever Youth Innovation Lab. One of them was Monitor Deloitte manager Frederikke Saust. Read her story here.

In just four days the group developed solutions to the most pressing problems from going to school to fighting gender inequality and unemployment. We spoke to Monitor Deloitte manager Frederikke Saust from Deloitte Denmark, who was part of the organising team, about her journey from Copenhagen to Singapore, back to Copenhagen and on to Nairobi!

Sounds amazing Frederikke, what is the Youth Innovation Lab?
“The Youth Innovation Lab gathers young talent from northern and eastern Africa in a five day innovation lab, where they join forces to come up with solutions to the most pressing problems by their communities – from keeping young girls off the streets in Addis Ababa to preventing girls from dropping out of school due to teenage pregnancy in Nairobi.”

“The workshop is rooted in three of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations (UN) – Quality Education, Gender Equality and Decent Work and Economic Growth – which form the foundation of the Innovation Lab. The Youth Innovation Lab in Nairobi in October 2019 was the first Youth Innovation Lab in Save the Children’s history. The hope is to run two further Youth Innovation Labs next year in Western Africa and Bangladesh.”

How did you get involved in the first place?
“Last year, I was so privileged to be selected to participate in UNLEASH in Singapore. Over five days, I worked on a solution to secure access to education for all girls in the world. Here I met Helle Gudmandsen, Head of Global Education for Save the Children Denmark, who helped us to qualify our ideas. After UNLEASH, our group decided to hand over the solution to Save the Children, as they were very interested in taking it forward.”

Also read: Young talents join forces to address global challenges

“A couple of months later, Helle contacted me, because she was very inspired by the approach used in Innovation Labs and she wanted to pilot a similar lab within Save the Children – beginning with a pilot in northern and eastern Africa. She asked if I would get involved as a subject matter expert for the group. I was of course very proud and extremely motivated to take on this role. Participating in UNLEASH had opened my eyes for what “impact that matters” means in practice – and being able to continue working on securing education for more girls in the world was a dream come true.”