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On October 26 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) announced the winners of the 2022 Innovation Fair and Awards, among which was the submission from Nigeria Country Office (Cross River State, Sub-office) "Youth Hangout," which won the Risk and Opportunity Champions award.

The UNFPA Innovation Unit organized the global Innovation Fair to recognize innovative ideas, processes, and solutions that accelerate sustainable impact and create an enabling environment for innovation. This year's innovation award received 121 submissions from colleagues across all UNFPA-supported countries, out of which teams from each UNFPA region were awarded in 3 categories; impactful innovation, risk and opportunity champions, and innovation dreamers. The Deputy Executive Director (Programme), Ms. Diene Keita, and the Chief of Staff, Mr. Pio Smith, presented the awards to the winners.

While announcing the award winners for the risk and opportunity champions, Mr. Pio Smith highlighted that the award recognizes teams that demonstrate risk and opportunity management excellence, creating an enabling environment for innovation while anticipating risks, managing the risk, and embracing opportunities.

The submission from Nigeria Country Office, "Youth Hangout," which won the Risk and Opportunity Champions award, is aimed at addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people using mass and digital media. 

Adolescent SRHR/HIV Analyst Oke Nteigbanam explained that the 'Youth Hangout" intervention started after the COVID-19 pandemic and utilized radio and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to communicate SRHR information and enhance access to quality health services for young people. 

Young people hosted the program with expert healthcare professionals to guide the discussions. Since, the initiative has provided comprehensive sexuality education, including prevention of unwanted pregnancies, raising awareness on family planning, improving access to contraceptives, and ensuring access to age-specific and accurate information on SRHR for youth. 

The recognition pushes UNFPA Nigeria to continue celebrating learning opportunities and solutions that accelerate sustainable impacts and an enabling environment for innovation.