The UNLEASH Innovation Lab is a lab that is designed to bring together 1000 talents from all over the world to bring about solutions to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. I was extremely fortunate to make it to the final 1000 from 18000+ aspirants who applied.
It was held in Shenzhen from 6th November to 13th November, and this past week has been one of the best and most fruitful weeks of my life. Not only did I learn about the SDGs, I had the honor of meeting and engaging in conversation with people from all over the world.
I was a part of the SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being, and as I dealt with a problem, focusing on maternal mortality in underdeveloped countries, it dawned on me that the world is not as we see it. As “millennials” we must take all actions in our power to help in bettering this planet.
We began our journey on the 6th of November with an opening ceremony that was graced with the presence of notable personalities like Dr Alaa Murabit and Robert Kirkpatrick. Their speeches on SDG advocacy were inspiring and gave us the motivation to work harder towards the SDG solutions.
The next day we began with the Innovation process at the China National Gene Bank, and were divided into our teams. My team was culturally diverse with a Libyan, Somalian, Ethiopian, Nigerian and Indian on it. Even though there were so many cultures and so many different thought processes, we managed to power through and were one of the first teams to complete our gate checks, with full support from the facilitators. Our solution created a refrigerator without electricity to keep medication cool, even in times of power-cuts. It was called “ASILI: Nature’s Refrigerator”. We made a great pitch, but sadly weren’t given the opportunity to pitch again at the Dragon’s Den. The pitch in itself was a wholesome experience. After this we had a marketplace where we could put up our solution and view other people’s solutions from other tracks too. To see the amazing things that were achieved throughout the week was overwhelming.
The closing ceremony held on the last day was the most enlightening experience I have ever had. Two of the speakers at the ceremony were Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Lehmay Gbowee and Muhamad Yunus. Their journeys had a great impact on me and it humbled me even more.
The ceremony left us all with mixed feelings. I was sad because I was leaving all these beautiful friends I had made from all over the world, but at the same time there was a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with the work I had done. I felt like I had left my mark on the world and maybe someday would be able to pursue it.
In my time at UNLEASH, I learnt that this process is not about pitching and winning, it is about the innovation process. It is about coming up with viable, sustainable solutions that the people from all over the world can identify with and implement to make this a safe, sustainable and harmonious place to live. We are not each other’s competitors, but are each other’s greatest allies in the fight to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
图文 © Insha N. Mirza
编辑 © 江派
审核 © 余佳佳