Finnish Embassy supports RLabs Namibia
The Polytechnic of Namibia received a generous grant of N$ 1,6 million for the RLabs project. The grant was awarded on behalf of the Finish Embassy Fund for Local Cooperation, and the official signing event took place on 26 October at the Residence of the Embassy of Finland in Klein Windhoek.
The Polytechnic of Namibia (through its Namibia Business Innovation Institute, NBII) launched its social innovation project “RLabs Namibia” in 2012. The RLabs (Reconstructed Living Labs) concept originated in South Africa in 2008 and is now a global movement operating in 22 countries worldwide. RLabs focuses on the youth and creates an environment for community driven innovation, offering various trainings, community development, social and disruptive innovation, mobile and internet solutions and social enterprise incubation.
Prof. Tjama Tjivikua and Ambassador Anne Saloranta signed the agreement for the coming two years and Madame Saloranta, the Ambassador of Finland, emphasized the crucial role of promoting the Namibian youth and creating income-generating activities. With the support of the Finish Embassy, the RLabs Namibia programme will be extended substantially in the coming two years.
The primary focus of the programme will be the creation of innovative income generating activities for the youth:
In cooperation with the School of Computing and Informatics at the Polytechnic of Namibia, RLabs will co-design a variety of IT solutions such as a job-matching, a crowdfunding and a counselling website and mobile application. Researchers and students from the School will conduct the research and develop prototypes in the framework of their studies, which will then be implemented by RLabs Namibia.
In the so-called “Job Factory”, the youth who have completed the training programmes will be exposed to real-life jobs where they can practice their newly acquired skills and receive remuneration according to their level of involvement.
In Havana, Katutura, the plan is to establish a youth centre and digital job hub in the immediate vicinity of the target group. The youth will thus have a place to meet and work on new business ideas under the coordination of RLabs Namibia.