UNISPARKEmpowering Young Innovators For Positive Change!
What is unispark?
UniSpark is the first University-focused design sprint in Tanzania that is aimed at creating innovation-driven platforms for young people to collaborate and develop desirable and user-centric solutions, by working in small groups to design, prototype and test defined solutions that are addressing business and social problems. The students are guided to design solutions that are contributing towards achieving the SDGs and shaping socio-economic development of our communities and companies
Our world is being faced with different social problems that are affecting lives at different stages. These problems cut across Hunger, Lack of quality education for all, poor healthcare system, climate change and poverty. We are seeking innovative ways to solve these social challenges that are hindering both social and economic development of the zone. We believe that engaging young people in designing social and economic impact solutions through design sprints, will help build a responsive future workforce that is inspired by using innovative approaches in developing and implementing both business and social projects.
Uni Spark comprises one cohort per academic year, where university students will go into small groups to design and test project ideas that are solving key social problems either within their community or challenges that are faced by corporates. It also gives students and teachers an opportunity to put theories and lessons acquired in the classroom into practice to acquire experience and solve real-world problems.
The overall objective of the sprint for UniSpark Sprint Project is to engage young people in solving social problems through innovation centred design approach, to foster collaborations, teamwork and equip the future workforce with practical skills in designing projects for social good.
FIRST COHORT OUTCOME The first cohort of the design sprint had student participants from SAUT, designing solutions in the areas of improving education and teaching/learning experience using technology in SAUT. At the end of the first cohort, the winner of the sprint is using technology to improve student welfare through micro savings for meal services. The solution, which is female founded is enabling students get access to meals throughout the semester at designated restaurants for a discounted pre-paid meal package. The solution also provides free meals to underprivileged students through crowd donation, to ensure that they have full concentration on their school works, in order to improve both their health and academic performance. The winner (Lunch Box) is now being supported to launch out their innovation through Ennovate Venture Fund Program.
SECOND COHORT OUTCOME The Second cohort was sponsored by Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) and UKAid. The cohort was opened to universities in Mwanza zone, where we received applications from 50+ teams from 5 universities and colleges in Mwanza. 8 teams were pre-selected for the 3-day hackathon, where they worked with innovation experts to use human centred thinking methodologies to design innovative and sustainable solutions to the most pressing problems faced by communities and businesses. The winners were Ndoto Star, a digital platform that seeks to connect grassroot talents to global opportunities through showcasing their stories and connecting them to market; Connection Inc is a real estate solution that is cutting off house agents and gives tenants opportunity to connect with house owners directly, thereby cutting of agent fees and irregularities in house search processes; and Gran Ultra, a foodtech that is adding value to food products to increase the nutrient base and sell to larger market.
COMING SOON – THIRD COHORT
The third cohort of UniSpark will now scale across the country. It is the first country-wide innovation challenge for all universities in Tanzania. The third cohort will be opened to university and college students across the country, This will be implemented from the zonal level to national level. UniSpark will be organized in each zone, and all teams from each region within a zone will participate under their zonal UniSpark. The zones are Coastal zone, Northern Highland Zone, Lake Zone, Central Zone, Southern Highland Zone and Southern Zone.