UNDP Maldives along with its partners launched Miyaheli Social Innovation Camp 2017 from 28th – 30th September 2017 at Soneva Fushi Resort. This is their second collaboration for this Social Innovation Camp. The first Miyaheli was held in 2016.

This year, Miyaheli was open for Maldivian youth aged 18- 30 from the northern atolls of Haa Alif, Haa Dhaal, Shaviyani and Noonu. The five thematic areas for this year were Building Youth Movements, Empowering Women in the Political Sphere, creating a Peaceful and Tolerant Community, Supporting Victims of Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Sustainable and Innovative Development Solutions. Five of the best ideas were shortlisted out of all the ideas that were presented. The five participants whose ideas were chosen are Afa Hussain (HDh. Kulhudhuffushi), Misbaah Moosa (HDh. Kulhudhiffushi), Raihana Abdulla (HDh. Makunudhoo), Mariyam Shiba (HA. Hoarafushi) and Yoosuf Abdul Kareem (HDh. Nolhivaran). These fortunate five participants got the opportunity to participate in the two-day workshop at Soneva Fushi Resort where they had access to a team of technical expertise and got the support they needed to flesh out their ideas. Each idea was fine-tuned and prototypes presented to judges. Once the ideas were presented the three lucky winners of Miyaheli 2017 were chosen and presented with grants to bring their ideas to life. The winners were Mariyam Shiba, Yoosuf Abdul Kareem and Afa Hussain.

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Shiba’s idea, “LEAP”, is a web platform which could change the way we address mental health issues and be there for those who need psychological help. This platform will be a safe space for people to step forward and ask for help and “LEAP” will connect them to professionals. As for Yoosuf, he saw the women in his community providing for their families by making delicious food items, packaging them and selling them through shops. This trend hit a hiccup in his island of HDh. Nolhivaran with the introduction of the rule for having labels in all food products sold in shops. With no place to print labels on the island, he wanted to open up a small printing business, “Yoosuf Printers”, for his community with the aim of providing labels for the hard-working women who make these food products for a living. Afa’s innovative idea is a Dhivehi game called “Elhigaa”. She wanted to create a platform which ushers in a generation of youth who are aware and interested in urban planning and sustainable cities. This app could engage the youth of our society to not only build the future, but have fun doing it.

Miyaheli brings together the youth of society, ideas and digital and non-digital tools to create both tech-based and non-tech-based social innovations to pressing social issues, all in just one weekend. Maldivian youth hold huge potential to help bring positive change to issues in the society. Youth, with their drive and intellect, have what it takes to think outside the box and come up with simple and effective solutions that might not have been thought of before. By bringing together a diverse group of people to collaborate in one space, the aim is to bridge the gap between having an idea, making that idea concrete and taking in forward and incubating a project. UNDP Maldives felt that a social innovation camp can create change – be that in improving women’s participation in the public sphere, enhancing access to justice, enhancing youth and community engagement or coming up with sustainable and innovative development solutions – from the grassroots up. This means that people – rather than companies, governments or charities – are increasingly capable of taking matters into their own hands and creating the change they seek for themselves.