February 25, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Head of Operations at Innovate Salone, an organisation which aims to promoting young innovators, has urged Sierra Leoneans to use innovation as a vehicle for development in the country, instead of depending on foreign direct aid.
Mohamed Javombo yesterday spoke at a press conference occasioning the official launch of their 2016 innovative competition in Freetown.
He said the organisation is a Global Minimum flagship programme in the country that empowers locals to think about using innovation to solve problems.
In 2012, he said Global Minimum, which is an international organisation led by David Sengeh, a Sierra Leonean PhD candidate at Harvard University in the United States of America, started the inaugural innovation competition in Sierra Leone to identify young and passionate individuals who are poised and determined to re-create their communities, using both entrepreneurial and innovative sprit.
He noted that based on the record success of the inaugural programme, Global Minimum replicated the innovation challenge in South Africa and Kenya.
He revealed that at the end of 2012, they met a young Sierra Leonean by the name of Kelvin Doe, who was creative enough to be chosen as one of the finalists and eventual winner of that year’s innovation completion.
He said his organisation has over 30 creative youth across the world and that two Sierra Leonean youths – Mohamed Harding and Brima Bangura – are currently representing the country at the Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa.
He added that another, Mohamed Bangura, is also representing the country at the Africa Leadership University in Mauritius.
“Through our hard work and resilience of our youths all across the country, coupled with the efforts of Global Minimum board, we have been honoured by credible and reputable organisations including the Rockefeller Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lemelson Foundation and Harvard University, among many others in the United States of America,” he said.
He said they strongly believe that if young people were to be future leaders of the nation, they should be provided with skills and leadership opportunities that would enable them to lead in the future.
The Country Director of African Entrepreneurship Academy Sierra Leone said every human being was born an artiste with unique gifts and talents that could be used for the nation’s development.
He noted that innovation was not about Innovate Salone, but Sierra Leone, and expressed optimism that the dream of his organisation and Innovate Salone would surely come to pass, thus calling on young Sierra Leoneans to come on board to participate in, and exhibit their talents for the development of the nation.
Jasonta Coker, who is one of twelve innovators selected in 2015, said she had learnt a lot from Innovate Salone and called on other young people, especially girls who have talent, to apply and contribute to their community’s and country’s advancement.