akmalako1On June 29-July 12, Ilhom Aliyev ’05 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/Monroe, OR), Inomjon Igamov ’05 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/Swan , IA), and Nozanin Salimova ’13 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/Prairie Farms, WI) organized a two-week hands-on training for fourteen young students on social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and leadership.  The training was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan through a Democracy Outreach Alumni Grant, together with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and TCell, a leading internet and cellular service company in Tajikistan.  During the first week, participants learned about entrepreneurship, leadership, project and startup management, and social change through presentations and sessions conducted by leaders from a wide range of companies, development organizations, NGOs, and entrepreneurs.  During the second week, participants were divided into two groups to work on projects directly with UNDP and TCell.  Both teams worked on bringing innovative change to society with projects on accessibility for persons with disabilities (UNDP group) and establishing an on-line coupon company that would be profitable while increasing use of social media and providing jobs for people with disabilities (TCell group). Both organizations confirmed that they would use recommendations from the teams.

conference3This project united private sector, public sector and youth together in meeting the challenges of social problems and coming up with innovative solutions to solve these problems.