Monday, 22 July 2019 09:31 GMT

UN conference puts spotlight on Jordanian entrepreneurs, innovation

(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — UN representatives and activists gathered in Amman on Sunday for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Zain Innovation Campus' 'Youth Making Impact through Technology and Innovation' conference.

The event hosted the UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, UNDP Resident Representative Sara Ferrer Olivella and Programme Specialist Dana Malhas, in addition to various young speakers who shared their personal experiences and projects.

Olivella said that in Jordan people talk about economic problems but they should not forget about environmental and societal problems, stressing the need for economic growth that respects the environment and helps society overcome its problems as well.

Anyone can find information about the UN and its projects online, Wickramanayake said, adding that she wanted to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals noting that the aim is to achieve the goals by 2030, which is why scalable innovation is needed to empower communities and develop countries.

'Technology is the best available resource for young people, which we can use as a tool towards radical transformational change,' she said, stressing that one should not limit innovation to technology, as innovation can also be applied to the way people live.

In the last two years, the global gender gap has increased, which means there are less and less woman who have access to the Internet or technology, she said, presenting the challenge of how to use technology to bridge societal gaps.

Around 63 per cent of Jordan's population is comprised of people younger than the age of 30, Malhas said before introducing a group of young Jordanians to present their project.

The first group of entrepreneurs introduced WeCycle, a start-up that collects and resells recyclable waste.

The young people said that, in Jordan, people produce 2.6 million tonnes of waste ever year, only 5 per cent of which is recycled, which they described as a waste of resources.

The idea was to create an app through which people could request that someone visit their house and collect their recyclable waste, earning a number of points that can later be redeemed to purchase certain products or services, they said.

Afterwards, Safaa Momani and Hamza Mansi from Irbid presented the audience with their project, called 'Shamooseh' ('a small sun' in Arabic).

The project focuses on tackling environmental issues through plays about different environmental problems. The project has organised plays at 21 public schools in Irbid Governorate so far, according to its founders.

During an interview after the event, Wickramanayake, who hails from Sri Lanka, told The Jordan Times that Jordan is a country filled with 'young people bustling with energy and creativity, and looking for ways to get engaged'.

She said many people eager to join employment, political and volunteer programmes, especially those away from the capital.

The UN envoy said she met with HRH Crown Prince Hussein prior to the event, describing him as 'a powerful leader in the global arena when it comes to youth-related issues'. She also highlighted his role in Jordan adopting UN Resolution 2250 in 2015.

During their meeting, she said they discussed the need for youth policies to be inclusive, participatory, accountable and resourced, noting that Crown Prince Hussein called for concrete actions that can be implemented in Jordan. She added that the UN would look into concrete projects in the following weeks.

During an interview with UNDP Resident Representative Olivella, she said the media plays a role in showcasing the work of young people and sending their messages to the concerned parties.


UN conference puts spotlight on Jordanian entrepreneurs, innovation


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