I recently traveled to Kosovo for the inaugural Kosovo Innovation Camp, a UNICEF sponsored, 48-hour intensive retreat that brought together 80 young people to develop six projects, from idea to business plan. The goal of UNICEF’s Innovations Lab Kosovo is threefold: to develop new solutions for some of Kosovo’s problems, empower young people to be a part of the solution, and connect them with community leaders. By these measures, the event was a huge success. Watching these young people in the room, it was easy to imagine the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin coming from Kosovo. The participants’ ideas, ability to connect different technological solutions, and energy were contagious, and I found myself wondering how many great ideas we may have missed out on just because there was no access to a mentoring, support, and peer network such as this one.
Matthew Bane, UNICEF USA