Ho Chi Minh City, 31 May 2019 – During the summer of 2019, over 100 children and adolescents between 10-19 years old from poor and vulnerable neighborhoods in Ho Chi Minh City will participate in an innovative skills development programme under the theme “Children innovate: Planet-friendly Product Designs”. The programme will be implemented by Saigon Innovation Hub in partnership with ARKKI Viet Nam under the overall framework of Ho Chi Minh City’s Child Friendly City Initiative and with support from UNICEF in Viet Nam.
This week (27 – 31st of May), 36 girls and boys have participated in the first series of five-day workshops. They were the proud winners of ‘Children Innovate: Smart and Child Friendly Cities’ exhibition held at Saigon Innovation Week in October 2018. Together with ARKKI trainers they have tested the planet friendly product design programme, from ‘problem definition’, to understanding user’s needs, over ideation, designing, prototyping and finally pitching their prototypes’ to peers, parents, community members and interested private sector partners.
“Last year, we had a field trip and learned to plan our dream city in computer and 3D model. This year’s workshop is also exciting as I can design a new product that is eco-friendly from recycled materials. From just a sketch, I keep changing and refining my prototype, a flying chair that uses wind energy and helps fishermen with transportation. What I enjoy most is turning the idea into a tangible model. I want to make new and useful products in the future”, shared Nguyen Ngoc Duy Tam, a participant from “Light” shelter for boys in District 10.
Today (31st of May) at Saigon Innovation Hub, children have pitched their planet-friendly prototypes to parents and guests from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the corporate sector.
“I am delighted to see how our young innovators have embraced the importance of acting responsibly towards the environment. We hope their safe, child and environmentally friendly innovations will inspire the community and market,” said Marianne Oehlers, Chief of Program Partnership Office, UNICEF.
“Innovation in the 21st century aims to create products that are socially responsible and sustainable. That’s why it’s critical to involve children at this early stage so that they become aware of and can help create awareness among their peers, parents and community members, on the importance of environmental responsibility and sustainability. I value the Children Innovate Programme as an important contribution for nurturing a generation of future innovators for the start-up ecosystem of Vietnam”, stressed Mr. Huynh Kim Tuoc, Co-founder & CEO of Saigon Innovation Hub.
“Arkki Vietnam is very honored to continue our journey with SIHUB and UNICEF to equip children and adolescents with 21st-century skills, including critical thinking, communication, cooperation and problem-solving through working in teams. Besides, we hope that with the theme “Planet-friendly product design”, children will nurture a mindset and actions towards sustainability, so that they would become future citizens who are socially responsible and be able to tackle any challenges that they might face”, said Ms. Nguyen Huynh Thu Truc, Managing Director of Arkki Vietnam.
UNICEF Viet Nam, Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) and Arkki are co-organizing a series of “Children innovate: Planet-friendly Product Design” workshops in the summer of 2019. It is within the framework of the “Child-Friendly City Initiative” Project of Ho Chi Minh City (2017 – 2021) supported by UNICEF to Ho Chi Minh City, and following the success of “Children innovate: A child-friendly city” workshops in 2018.