Basra, 29 September 2019 – To contribute to the stability and socio-economic development in Basra, the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development, is implementing priority actions that aim at increasing economic growth and creating jobs for youth. The programme is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the UN-Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). One of the actions is the Beautiful Basra project that the Governorate prioritized during the programme’s Steering Committee meeting earlier in 2019.
The Beautiful Basra project will spread on 20,000 square meters to become the first public, environmental-friendly, recreational area of its kind in the Governorate. Involving the local authorities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and youth, this project aims at creating job opportunities, improving the quality of life for the local population, increasing social cohesion and introducing energy efficient and natural resources conservation measures.
To mobilize youth in solutions that address local development challenges and demonstrate the capacities of young Basrawis, and in preparation of this project, UNDP launched a design competition for the Beautiful Basra project and organized the Basra Innovation Olympics on 29 September 2019. University students and recent graduates in different fields, including engineering, architecture, arts, agriculture and science, were invited to submit feasible, modern and creative design proposals. A jury committee will assess submissions and select the top proposal to inform the final plans to be implemented in 2020.
Forty-six projects were submitted to the Olympics by students aged 15-18 years, who were mobilized through social media. Only twenty-five projects made their way to the Olympics. A jury committee evaluated the projects based on innovation and creativity, scientific/artistic thought and understanding, as well as social benefit and presentation. Some of the winners now have the chance for their projects to be integrated in the Beautiful Basra project, and/or to further develop theirs and submit proposals to the Beautiful Basra Competition.
The Olympics winner projects were:
- Art and Design:
Gold: Your Lost Eye, by Mariyam Khaleed
Silver: Student Attendance System, by Hassan Kazim
Bronze: Safety Pan, by Mujtaba Audey
Gold: Anti Acidic Dyes, by Zahra Muslim and Zainab Aqeel
Silver: Biofriendly Exhaust, by Hussain Ali
Bronze: Friendly Killer, by Zainalabdeen Nasir Abd Ali; Automatic Irrigation System for Plant by Solar Power, by Ahmed Hashim; and Stop Corrosion of Carbon Metal, by Asad Abdul Amier
Gold: Prosthetic Arm, by Muntadar Muhammed and Muhammed Ali
Silver: B.R.P Full Alarm Project, by Hussein Ali, Muhammad Imad, Muhammad Hussein and Ahmed Mahir
Gold: Transmit Data with Light, by Hani Al-Aqeel
Silver: Safe Circuit, by Muhammed Usama
Bronze: Safe Cooker by Gaith Ayub; and Time and Mass by Muhammed Asad
- Short Movies:
Gold: Cancer Child, by Sarmad Wasfi Sarmad
Silver: Will is the Road to Success, by Hussein Kazim
Bronze: Never Memorize, by Muhammad Abdul Majid; and Dream, by Hussein Imad
In attendance of the Basra Innovation Olympics was the Minister of Youth and Sports at the Federal Government of Iraq, Dr. Ahmed Al-Obaidi. He said: “I am very proud of the youth of Basra, specifically all those who made it to the Basra Innovation Olympics. I have seen promising projects. We are grateful to the European Union, UNDP and UN-Habitat for helping to harness such potential. We, at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, are keen to create an environment that enables purposeful innovation by the future leaders of Iraq.”
Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Martin Huth, said: “The European Union is supporting youth, innovation, local development and improved livelihoods for the Iraqi population. As everywhere, youth in Iraq are their country's greatest potential, ready to offer great creative ideas and passionate solutions and eager to participate in shaping their local environment. I am happy that through this programme, we can offer them such an opportunity, and invite students to propose new designs and concepts for public spaces in Basra. The ideas and projects that were designed by students during the recent Basra Olympics event show once again that Iraqi youth are true change makers, and I congratulate the winners and thank all the participants to the event.’’
UNDP Head of Programme of Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development, Ms. Isabela Uribe, stressed: “It is encouraging and heartwarming to see how talented the Iraqi youth are. The innovative projects presented at the Basra Innovation Olympics are both impressive and creative and can contribute to bottom-up, participatory solutions to local development challenges. UNDP believes that local, sustainable development can be reached with opening the door wide to the talents and voices of youth. And, this is why we are here today.”
Through such competitions, UNDP is investing in young talents as a driving force for the implementation of projects while promoting a better future for Basra through its future leaders.