Edson Muhwezi, Assistant Country Representative UNFPA Uganda(left) Davide Piga, Innovations Specialist ESARO(middle) and Outbox Team Lead Richard Zulu(right) addressing the media at the launch of the “Up Accelerate” progam at the Outbox space in Kampala. Up Accelerate seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health challenges in Uganda while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.

UNFPA and Outbox launch “Up Accelerate”, focused on empowering youth to address sexual and reproductive health bottlenecks.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with Outbox, a local business incubator, today launched a health-based innovation accelerator on 10th November 2016 dubbed ‘Up Accelerate.’

This innovative program is part of a regional initiative by UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office, with funding from UKAID.

Up Accelerate seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges in Uganda while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.

“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and further UNFPA’s mandate, we need to test new approaches and improve on those already in use. Innovation and the active engagement of young people in our work can be catalyzers of significant change, and help achieve the demographic dividend in Uganda,” said Ms. Miranda Tabifor, UNFPA Representative a.i.

The demographic dividend can be reaped if Uganda simultaneously prioritizes enhancing the quality of its human capital, empowering of women and their partners to reduce fertility, and reforming the economy to increase productivity and create jobs.

Participants at the launch event of the Up Accelerate initiative

Up Accelerate calls on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving access to, and the planning, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes. Investing in a healthier and more educated population and enabling young people to access opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, will provide young Ugandans with a favorable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

“Working with UNFPA as an institutional partner contributes to our mission of building innovative infrastructure that leads to development of inclusive communities. It is these kinds of unusual productive partnerships that create an enabling environment where young entrepreneurs can learn about problems worth solving and leverage industry networks to quickly go to market,” said Richard Zulu, Founder of Outbox.

The UNFPA — Outbox — Up Accelerate project is set to run from November 2016 through to October 2017. Eight youth-led innovations will be picked to join the two acceleration cycles. These entail two months of training, mentoring and assistance for fine-tuning their solutions and business models, and two months of support in going to market, for which training, mentorship and seed funding of up to USD 10,000 will be provided based on achievement of pre-agreed business milestones. Interested participants can apply at http://upaccelerate.co.ug/

About UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Currently, UNFPA is implementing its 8th Government of Uganda — UNFPA Country Programme (2016–2020) in alignment with national priorities, as outlined in the National Vision 2014, National Development Plan II (2015/16–2019/20), and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2016–2020). UNFPA does this in partnership with the Government, development partners, private sector and other key stakeholders. Visit https://uganda.unfpa.org/ for more information.

About Outbox Hub

Launched in 2012, Outbox is a hybrid incubator, innovation lab and co-working space that specializes in supporting African entrepreneurs interested in using technology to build high-growth businesses with mentorship, training and co-working space. Outbox is built on the principles of sustainability, solving real problems, collaboration, openness and transparency, commitment and personal excellence. The incubator has so far transformed the lives of over 7,000 youth in the country through entrepreneurial mentorship and training. Outbox startups have raised more than $1M in funding support while creating more than eighty jobs. Visit www.outbox.co.ug for more information.

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