300 young Iraqis introduced to innovative tools to address development challenges

Oct 14, 2017

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to present their ideas to representatives of both the private and public sectors. Photo: UNDP Iraq/2017

Baghdad– Over 300 participants, mostly youth, gathered in Baghdad on 12-14 October 2017 to participate in UNDP’s Innovation for Development workshop. Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methodologies were introduced as innovative tools to identify local development challenges and find solutions linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Iraq has adopted in early 2016.

Design Thinking is a human centered approach to planning projects and businesses. It depends on empathizing with target groups or customers, as well as visualizing ideas and solutions. On the other hand, Lean Start-up methodology focuses on learning about the customers and building sustainable projects around solutions and ideas. 

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to present their ideas to representatives of both the private and public sectors, such as the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministries of Youth and Sport, Industry, Labour and Social Affairs, Higher Education, and Planning, in addition to the Technology and Al-Nahrain Universities, Syndicate of Engineers, Chamber of Commerce and Ashur Bank. The participants were also informed about respective governmental and non-governmental opportunities and programmes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized this workshop under its Innovation for Development Initiative, with funding from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and in partnership with Zain Iraq, GigaNet and Frame Production House companies. 

“I am deeply moved to see many young people work on tackling the SDGs using proper innovative tools- something I truly dream of becoming the norm in the near future,” said private sector representative from Sony Ericsson telecommunications company, Ms. Safa Salwan.

Participant from Zain Iraq, Mr. Ali Hilli, said: “Throughout the past three years, UNDP's Innovation for Development Initiative has helped the entrepreneurial scene to become more vibrant and energetic. As a member of Zain Iraq, I am honoured and excited to be part of their programme this year.”

Fifty young volunteers worked for three months to organize the workshop to ensure providing the participants with a unique and life-changing experience. Professionals in different related fields and start-ups led by participants in previous activities supported the workshop.  

24-year-old participant, Ms. Ilham Sajid, said: “I am glad to find such a platform that accepts our ideas, dreams and diversity. You learn how to organize your thoughts, develop your project, work with a team, and more.”

Since 2015, UNDP has been implementing the Innovation for Development Initiative in Iraq with the aim of supporting the role of young people in entrepreneurship and innovation focusing on service delivery and the achievement of the SDGs.


Dhafer Hasan, Project Manager, (m) +964 790 150 6492

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