Youth Leads #2 : Up early and running!

21 May 2015

Following an entire week of extensive induction and welcome, we were overjoyed to finally start working on the million ideas that kept running through our heads. It didn’t take too long for us to get settled in, because by Monday evening, Isuru was focused on an information sharing system to introduce the people behind the success of UNDP Sri Lanka to the world, where best practices can be shared and people can work out loud. Archana being Archana was busy coming up with revolutionary ideas ranging from developing a campaign aimed at breaking gender stereotypes to make use of conventional three-wheeler quotes to carry important messages, and Joanne was super excited about the project she has been entrusted with, targeting enhanced youth political awareness across the island while also helping the Policy unit with a workshop on the 19th Amendment to the constitution for the public. Meanwhile I was psyched with the walk for energy conversation by the Ministry of Power and Energy. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) were phenomenal in assembling a volunteer force for the walk; with a team of 25 young volunteers guided by the UNV team and the youth leads, we began interviewing people to check their pulse of energy conservation and learn how they think people should contribute towards the cause. The V force was thrilled to meet Hon. Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who was happy to share his thoughts on a united path to progress for the energy sector in Sri Lanka. It was also very reassuring to see a lot of participants speak about the need for green energy development. Don’t forget stay tuned to UNDP’s Facebook and instagram profiles for sneak peeks from the days happenings. Interestingly the walk was in parallel to the sustainable energy for all forum (#SE4All) which took place in New York from the 18th to the 21st  focusing on the overarching theme of “Financing Sustainable Energy to All”. The forum was inaugurated in 2014, as the landmark event that officially launched the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for all 2014-2024.

Also turning the page onto innovations, we met Dr. Rohana Kuruppu, the president-elect of the Organization of Professional Associations in Sri Lanka (OPA) to discuss an innovative approach to the innovations conference coming up later this year. Following the meeting, we were with the belief that our biggest achievement as a team would be to instill in both people and institutions a greater sense of innovation, such that it would be a significant part of their own agenda.

By the way, if you happen to have a knack for coming up with innovative ways to solve development challenges or problems communities face, however small or big, do drop me an email at and let’s work on making it real.

Also later into the week we invited the young personalities behind the 8th session of Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN), which is South Asia’s largest student run model UN conference. The meeting nurtured great ideas on getting young people to independently solve complex development challenges. The SLMUN team also said that it would be a great opportunity for youth to get to know the programmes done by UNDP and get an insight into the projects done around the island. Our colleague, Thilini de Alwis who has been heavily involved in researching on innovations strategies referred to the partnership as a great opportunity for youth to get involved through the UN Volunteer program.

The enthusiasm has only grown and the spirit for innovation within the youth leads just keeps rising. A small sneak peek into a big surprise we have in store for you; all four of us will be working on it with the support of many other partner organizations. Every week following up to August will be an eventful one, because we are prepping for possibly the biggest youth surprise in line for the year.

Have a pleasant week and don’t forget to innovate!

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