Inaugural event side
CAIRO, 19 September 2022: The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have inaugurated the first such innovation lab at the El Waily Youth Center. A total of six innovation labs are being established in Egypt with the support of the International Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt to develop social innovation, skills digital and entrepreneurial skills among young people, including refugees and migrants.
The inaugural event was attended by HE Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, HE Ambassador Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Egypt, Dr. Valerie Liechti, Head of Cooperation Office Swiss International Embassy, Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt and Mr. Eric Oechslin, Director of the International Labor Organization.
The Innovation Labs model is a new component of the “Meshwary” program. With the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Dutch Embassy, UNICEF, in collaboration with the MoYS, will establish innovation hubs in youth centres. Each center will be managed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The model aims to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of young Egyptians and non-Egyptians by promoting their skills in social, digital and entrepreneurial innovation to support them in their learning journey towards remuneration.
HE Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports pointed out that the Ministry of Youth and Sports pays great attention to the field of innovation and entrepreneurship in the current era, especially to bring into sets up innovation labs within youth centers as part of its role in qualifying young people for the labor market and helping them start small, medium and medium-sized projects and businesses after graduation of their degree. These projects are of great importance for the Egyptian economy, in addition to the innovation labs that play a big role in promoting social innovation, digital skills and entrepreneurship to support these young people.
The Minister for Youth and Sports said: “We want to have an innovation lab in each youth center to provide support and training to young people so that they come up with suitable ideas for their own start-up projects. This will help us to continue our efforts to support the idea of entrepreneurship and encourage young innovators in all Egyptian governorates to discover, refine and nurture their talents while guiding these talents in the right paths that serve national development.
At the end of his speech, Dr. Ashraf Sobhi praised the fruitful cooperation and long-term partnership with UNICEF, especially in the “Mashwary” program, which spanned 14 years, during which he was able to reach nearly 400,000 young men and women. in 15 governorates representing Upper Egypt and the Delta. Dr. Sobhi pointed out that the “Meshwary” program has been able to provide young people, including people with disabilities, with continuous opportunities for capacity building and career guidance, through two main components, the first is the skills development and the second is career guidance.
Ambassador Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Egypt, said: “The Kingdom of the Netherlands is proud to support this initiative through the PROSPECTS partnership and hopes that it will enable all children to Egypt to have access, skills and desire to improve. their prospects. We hope that this innovation laboratory will be a place where children, Egyptians, migrants and refugees, can come to learn and play together.
Dr. Valérie Liechti, Head of the International Cooperation Office of the Swiss Embassy said: “It is a pleasure for us to be here today at the opening ceremony of the first innovation laboratory of this type in youth centres, which is a new component under ‘Meshwary programme; one of the most important elements implemented under the “Youth for Future” program. We are proud of this partnership that has brought us together, as we also hope very soon to see young graduates from the innovation labs presenting innovative solutions to Egypt’s major challenges.
Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, said: “We strongly believe that all young people should have access to the right skills that will enable them to be active citizens and agents of change in a changing world. Hopkins added that; “Through this model, UNICEF, in collaboration with MoYS and with the support of the Swiss Youth for Future program and the Netherlands Perspectives program embassies, will ensure that all young people, over time, have access to innovation labs such as these, where they can work on innovation ideas and improve their skills.
The Innovation Labs model is an extension of the “Meshwary” program that promotes youth employability and empowerment. ‘Meshwary’ has been under the auspices of the Prime Minister since May 2021 and has been led by the Ministry of Youth and Sport since its inception in 2008. It has reached 400,000 young people with life skills and employability skills.