Rwanda: Ten Young Innovators Shortlisted for the Final Round of IAccelerator

7 November 2019

Ten innovative projects secured ticket to the final stage of Innovation Accelerator (IAccelerator) second phase during a tight competition held on Wednesday, bringing together 40 projects.

The best projects were chosen after a pitching session that gave five minutes to all the 40 young innovators to showcase how they plan to tackle surging teenage pregnancies in the country.

The competition is implemented through collaboration between Imbuto Foundation, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, KOICA and UNFPA.

It aims to explore new and engaging ways to respond and prevent teenage pregnancies while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people aged between 18-30 years old.

The initiative is timely, as according to the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey, teen pregnancy rates increased from 6.1 per cent in 2010 to 7.3 per cent in 2015.

According to available reports, 19,832 underage girls were impregnated last year, while the number was 17, 337 reported cases of teenage pregnancies in 2017.

READ ALSO: Are we losing the fight against teen pregnancies?

"We've seen amazing projects which we think will respond to the increasing teenage pregnancies," Joel Murenzi, the acting Coordinator of Youth Empowerment Unit in Imbuto Foundation, told The New Times.

He added that "our main criteria in choosing best projects included whether the project is relevant, innovative, user-friendly, backed by research and gender-oriented."

Sylvie Nsanga who was one of the five judges also said that: "I was impressed by these young people's innovative ideas. It wasn't easy to choose the top ten, but we had to look at set criteria."

Phase 2 of iAccelerator is themed "Availing Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health information and services as a way of preventing teenage pregnancies."

Its final stage, which will take place later this month, will provide a pitching platform to the top 10 innovators from which three best will receive a seed fund of $10,000 each.

"Our team is very happy that we got the opportunity to go to the next stage, which we think will also require us to do more," Mick Ndayishimiye, a member of one group among the winners told the media.

The first edition of the competition was held in 2016 saw the top four innovators awarded $10,000 and mentorship opportunities.

Mick Ndayishimiye, Christelle Giraneza, Frederick Ntabana and Honoré Isimbi. Their project is to design an interactive game 'Urukundo' and produce an info pack made of a booklet and a game toolkit with Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH).

Robert Mugisha and Abi Gaëlle Gisubizo are members of a team whose project is an edutainment game application that encourages positive attitudes and behaviours towards ASRH through a character named 'Keza'.

Eric Rugerinyange, Alice Tembasi, Aline Nyampinga and Justin Nkunzimana. Their solution to iAccelerator 'The Open Book - Impamba y'Ubuzima'; a podcast about teenage pregnancy prevention.

Jean Confident Niyizibyose. His project is an application called 'Sobanukirwa' which has videos and animations on SRH content, engaging more men and boys in the fight against teenage pregnancy.

Deo Muhanguzi, Ramadhan Nyiringondo and Kagina Azza. Their project is integrate sexual health education in schools and community using promotional materials such as notebook covers.

Jean-Berchmans Uwimana and Alice Gisaro are part of a team whose project is to host a TV kitchen show 'Flavors of Family Planning'; showcasing male engagement in family planning, using kitchen materials for simulation.

Patience Nishimagizwe and Jules Iradukunda are part of a team whose solution is to produce audio-visual materials for people living with disabilities, to be used by health care providers while educating and providing SRH services.

Egide Niyotwagira, Jean de Dieu Nkundabatware, Joselyne Dusabeyezu and David Shema. Their solution is an educative animated TV show for children mostly boys about sexual reproduction, with comics and illustrations on the matter.

Fiacre Mutabazi, Janvier Ndayisenga and Divine Ruhiga. Their solution is creating 'Tubivuge platform' to be used by rape victims when denouncing perpetrators as well as providing online psychology counselling sessions to rape victims.

Emmanuel Nkundabose, Aline Musengimana and Hashimu Habimana. Their solution is a film 'Ibanga' with sexual reproductive health-related content and teen pregnancy prevention messages.

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