UN World Youth Skills Day and the Challenge Fund

The UN has declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. CUP’s Challenge Fund has supported several initiatives that help young people develop their skills and reach their career goals.

The Upcycling Challenge in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This year is the second year when we are celebrating this day in challenging conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly before the pandemic started, the Czech-UNDP Partnership’s Challenge Fund supported the development of skills for employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2018 and 2019, students of fashion design from JU Strednja skola primjenenih umjetnosti took part of the Upcycling Challenge. The project allowed students to work with real textile material during their education and learn about ecological methods of producing garments from established experts in the field of fashion design.

Via the cooperation between the NGO Nadace Veronica and Aarhu Centre, students participated in training from established fashion designers in both Czechia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They learned how to use and re-use materials as part of the Upcycling initiative and finally, they presented their work to public through the Upcycling Challenge Fashion Show that took place at the end of 2019. The project succeeded in improving the awareness of fashion design students about sustainable production, recycling and upcycling opportunities. It also provided them with a real experience in presenting their work via audio-visual materials and through a Fashion Show in Sarajevo. in Georgia

Many companies struggle to find the experts they need. Likewise, many educated young people find it difficult to get the job in their area of expertise. There often is a mismatch between research at universities and business needs. Since 2020, the Challenge Fund project seeks improve this situation in Georgia.

In cooperation with Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU), a Czech AI-innovator builds a AI-enabled platform that would bring together researchers and businesses.

To showcase their technology, organized two educational events in spring 2021. Although with limited participation due to the measures against the COVID-19, both events succeeded in bringing together representatives of Georgian academic institutions, funding agencies, business associations and intellectual property authorities to discuss challenges related to technology transfer and commercialization of research results.

Recently, the has been incorporated into TSU’s website and it currently features 768 experts and over 2,300 research outcomes. Furthermore, research and commercialization projects are now being added to the database.

The project is currently ongoing and the final steps of the intervention are yet to be taken. Once finished, companies in relevant industries will be able to search for concrete expertise and experts based on their specific needs. Within the project all available R&D results from Georgia will be added to the platform.

About the Challenge Fund

Both projects received funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Via the Challenge Fund, the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs brings innovative solutions from the Czech Republic’s private sector, NGOs, universities, state institutions, research centres and individuals to tackle specific developmental challenges in the priority countries.

The content of this material does not necessarily represent the official views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, or of the United Nations, including UNDP, or UN Member States.