LADP organised the Student Innovation Competition on Sustainable Energy 2017 to support the preparation of SEAPs in KRI, to identify innovative projects to be included in the SEAPs, and to promote the role of youth in addressing resource conservation and climate change. The competition encouraged any ideas that help reduce the loss of natural and financial resources, reduce energy consumption and CO2/GHG emissions, benefit the economy and the environment, and ultimately improve the living standard of people in KRI. The competition offers a mechanism to empower youth and to engage youth in the local planning process, which can be replicated in any sector context.

In Jan 2017, University students in KRI were invited to develop and submit innovation projects in four categories: Resource Conservation/Energy Efficiency, Transport in Cities, Renewable Energy Sources, and Smart Technologies. By end-May 2017, a total of 51 projects were submitted to be evaluated by an expert panel. The panel nominated 14 breakthrough projects – including some projects of international importance. All nominee teams produced video presentations that were broadcast on the SEAP Facebook page.

The competition concluded on 20 Sept 2017, with spectacular Oscars-style Award Ceremony at the University of Kurdistan-Howler. Ca. 250 people attended, including from the local government, diplomatic corps, NGOs, universities, private companies and international organisations. An additional est. 12 000+ attended through live streaming on the SEAP FB page. Eight winning projects were announced (2 per category) based on live audience voting – including the winner of People’s Choice Award voted by online visitors. These were granted financial award; they have also been included in SEAPs to be presented to investors and implemented.

To stimulate participation, the LADP team engaged University administrations to promote the opportunities offered to students (e.g. start of career in the field of sustainable energy). Students were encouraged to work in teams and/or with mentors and professors. A number of university SEAP seminars were held to translate the SEAPs language to a wider audience, which were live-streamed on the SEAP Facebook page. To optimise the competition outreach, LADP partnered with the youth-focused CSO Rwanga Foundation.