Home Sports Two young innovators bag Sh7.3m for FGM solutions

Two young innovators bag Sh7.3m for FGM solutions

by kenya-tribune

Two young innovators from East Africa have emerged the winners of this year UNFPA’s FGM Innovation HackLab Initiative.

The two groundbreaking solutions for ending female genital mutilation (FGM) were feted at an event held in Nairobi.

Mack Marangu of Enlightened Generation International Kenya and Glory Mlagwa of Innovate Ventures Tanzania were announced as winners.

Marangu’s innovation is a mobile application built to track school attendance by girls most at risk of FGM.

“In areas where the practice is prevalent, school absence is one of the signs that indicates a girl is about to undergo FGM. We are looking forward to scaling the innovation to reach more communities in Kenya with the tools, to gather real-time data that can inform action to end FGM,” said Mr Marangu.

The winning solution from Tanzania’s is a platform to disseminate community health information on FGM through media, visual arts and community outreach sessions.

“We owe it to every girl in Tanzania to help reach zero FGM by 2030, and we have to work together as a community to achieve this,” she said.

They were each awarded $30,000 (about Sh3.68 million) as seed funding to support the growth of their solutions, aimed at accelerating progress towards zero FGM in Africa. They will also receive incubation support coordinated by AfriLabs.

Six finalists

The winners were selected from a pool of six finalists drawn from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Nigeria and Guinea.

The UNFPA FGM Innovation Hacklab provides a platform for young people to share innovative ideas and solutions to fast-track the war on FGM across Africa.

This year, the Hacklab engaged more than 100 innovation incubation/accelerator hubs across Africa, and more than 300 innovators working on achieving bodily autonomy. Thirty-one submissions were received.

“The African continent has the youngest population in the world. UNFPA is committed to creating opportunities for this generation to work and innovate towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UNFPA’s Kenya deputy representative, Dr Abiodun Oyeyipo.

Kenya’s Anti-FGM Board chief executive officer Bernadette Loloju said she was inspired by the innovative ideas presented. “Each of them presents an opportunity to ensure that no girl falls into the statistics of women who have undergone FGM,” said Ms Loloju.

Launched in 2021, the Hacklab has identified more than 100 innovative solutions, disbursed over $150,000 in seed funds and provided comprehensive business incubation support to scaleable and viable solutions across the continent.

As a result, more than one million young people have been reached with information about FGM innovation. The initiative was organised by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (SIARP) and the global UNFPA-Unicef Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation.

You may also like