St. Fintan's High School

Young Social Innovators 2018

Young Social Innovators is a national programme aimed at young people and their ability to shape and improve the society around them. Over the course of the last two years

St. Fintan’s High School teacher Mr. Sam has introduced the YSI programme as a key component of the Transition Year programme and has achieved outstanding things in an extremely short timespan. This year saw two teams, Off Grid and Icitabo, enter amazing projects in the competition, ultimately going on to win prizes and implement extraordinary practical change in both our school community and our partner school in Kabwe, Zambia. The article below documents the work and endeavour of the two teams involved.

Article taken from TY magazine ‘Focus on Fintan’s’:

This year, two groups of TY students entered into the Young Social Innovators competition, Off Grid and The Icitabo Project. Off Grid are a group of 13 students whose goal was to install solar panels into our school and to spread awareness about climate change and how communities can make a change to the environment. The Icitabo Project, a group of 25 students whose goal is to build the first ever public library in Kabwe, Zambia to help improve the state of education there. Throughout the year both teams have put in tremendous work to complete their projects. As Off Grid are the first student group in Irish history to do what they are doing, they decided to use their progress to push for policy change in the government. They met with TDs, namely Bird Smith and city councillors and attended an Oireachtas meeting on climate action to spread their message.


Off Grid became the first student group to meet with Saint Fintan’s Board of Management who agreed to fund half of the €6,600 needed to install a small solar system into our school. They also held a non-uniform day in the school on the 21st of February in which the members of the project wore suits to creatively advocate for the project which raised €1,000! Off Grid also received €1,000 from the YSI Den by pitching their idea to “YSI Dragons” (Exactly like Dragons Den but only it’s the YSI Den) which was the most money ever given out by The YSI  Den. Off Grid then raised an additional 600 euro at Northside Shopping Centre by bucket collecting for an entire day and another €700 by completing a sponsored cycle from the school to Dáil Éirinn.

They created an intuitive and modern website and app to educate people about the aim of their project and the dangers of climate change.

They also created multiple social media accounts to keep their followers up to date on the progress Off Grid was making. Off Grid’s main goal wasn’t just to install solar panels in the school but to call on small communities to help make a change to the environment.

The Icitabo Project, made up of over 25 people, aims to build the first ever public library in Kabwe, Zambia near Sables Nua to help provide books and basic literacy teaching to kids in the area who can’t afford education. Sables Nua is the same school in which our school helps every 2 years by sending 5th years to help them renovate the school. Since September, The Icitabo Project has been collecting thousands of books that will be shipped to Kabwe and placed in their library. At first they were kindly donated a shipping container to bring the books over to Kabwe to be then converted into the library but the donator had to pull out of this deal which left the Icitabo Project with a big job on their hands. They had a very short amount of time to sort out this problem. With great effort put in by the team, they managed to come up with a solution. They organized with the director of Sables Nua to build the library out of brick with construction starting as soon as possible and found a new way to ship them to Kabwe as well. The Icitabo project were awarded 1000 euro at the YSI Den and have done many different Fundraising Activities such as Sports Days and a Runamuck Challenge which raised 2000 euro. The Icitabo Project met with many great people including members Irish Aid to learn more on helping third world countries like Zambia and Malawi and Michael Chanda, a Zambian national, who taught them Zambian dances and songs. Five members of the group attended the annual Zamda Ball to creatively advocate their project. Their Language committee worked hard to translate the book, Handa’s Surprise, into Bemba. They also created an innovative and intuitive website and made social media accounts with over 2,000 followers to document and keep followers up to date on the progress they were making. They also created an app to help Irish volunteers traveling to Zambia learn Bemba. Over the year, the work both teams have put in is remarkable and will show in their results in the competition. Both teams would like to thank Mr.Sam for his continued support and aid of both teams projects. The competitions overall winners will be announced on the 8th May 2018 and hopefully one of our teams will be victorious.