This project emerged from the founding idea that poor and marginalised youth experience the challenges in their community and society first-hand, so they are in a crucial position to identify those challenges and come up with innovative solutions to them.
Using this approach, Plan International Uganda’s SmartUp Factory builds young people’s work-related skills and capacities in an inspiring youth space. It also engages with the private sector and government to provide youth employment opportunities.
This project has made me love technology.
The project has a focus on creativity and promotion of innovation, especially from girls and out-of-school youth. It also addresses barriers faced by girls and women, organising sessions on leadership, sexual health rights and inclusion in the world of technology.
Over the past 3 years, the project has supported over 3,500 young people in Kampala, Gulu, Alebtong, Kamuli and Tororo to acquire skills and link them to different opportunities through training, mentorship and networking.
What the Plan International team say about SmartUp Factory
Dennis Omalla, Youth Engagement Coordinator: “The main impact of the project has been to set up a safe, inspiring and enabling space for young males and females to be able to incubate innovations, especially in terms of technology, which is one of the main barriers limiting youth development in Uganda.
“For instance, there are skills that young people thought were not achievable but now they are more open-minded because they have a place where they can try things out and feel safe and not be judged. This has helped many of the young people gain skills, have positive attitudes and develop personal and group projects.”
What girls say about SmartUp Factory
Harriet, 22: “I can now develop simple smartphone apps using MIT App Inventor. The future has become much brighter since I can solve world problems using apps. I recommend that this project be expanded to other areas to benefit more youth.”
Fiona, 20: “This project has made me love technology. I have learned app development and hardware programming. For instance, I have been able to develop an app which is focused on providing reliable and safe motorcycle taxi transport within cities. I can now think in a more scientific and creative way. I will now be coding away problems. For girls like me who had never thought of technology this has been a great opportunity.”
Judith, 22: “I have learnt how to type, write emails, print out documents, scan and make copies. Before I couldn’t start or even operate a computer but now I can comfortably use applications like MS Word, PowerPoint and databases. The project is giving girls the opportunity to prove themselves in the world of information technology and get employed.”