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Zekki digital service for the young won the European Union’s innovation contest

Zekki digital service has been elected as the best social innovation of Europe amongst 565 other participants. Zekki is a great example of co-creation which is very characteristic to Diak. Digital service has been developed as cooperation of the university of applied sciences and 12 associations.

The Zekki digital service, centered on young people’s wellbeing, was chosen as a winner of the European Social Innovation Competion (EUSIC) in the final on the 8th of December.  

Zekki, which was launched earlier this year, made an impression to the panel of judges with its young-centered and user-friendly approach. The panel notes that Europe cannot afford to lose the huge potential that lays in European young people.  

‒ The win of the contest shows that in Finland we have great potential for being pioneers in the social innovation field, Project Manager Reija Paananen from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences tells.   

Free and online-based Zekki digital service is intended for 15 to 25 years olds and to tool for professionals who work with them. Zekki gives users a holistic image of their wellbeing, and if needed, guides them to low threshold services.  

‒ Something new in Zekki is its strong human-centered approach to finding and recommending services. The young people are not just a target group, but they actually have been involved in the development of Zekki, Specialist Sakari Kainulainen from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences says.   

Support for young people’s mental health is much needed globally

Social innovations are new kinds of services, solutions and ways of acting which make our societies better. For example, maternity pack and free school lunches are Finnish innovations that have aroused interest also elsewhere.  

‒ Today there is a global need for supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The language versions of Zekki are under planning for national use and in the future, it will be easy to adapt Zekki to suit other European countries as well, Paananen ponders.   

Zekki digital service is based on the 3X10D® life situation assessment tool, research and expert knowledge. Zekki has been co-developed by Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki Deaconess Institute Vamos Services, The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, HelsinkiMissio, MIELI Mental Health Finland, Nuorten Ystävät ry, Youth Mental Health Association – Yeesi, Takuusäätiö, Finnish Youth Housing Association, Save the Children Finland and The Family Federation of Finland with the support of Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA).  

 The theme of the year 2021 in the European Social Innovation competition is skills for future – shaping of a green and digital future. Amongst participants were chosen three winners of whom each one received the prize of 50 000 € for developing their innovations further.  

Contact for further information:  

  • Project Manager Reija Paananen, Diak, tel. 040 508 4294,  
  • SpecialistSakari Kainulainen, Diak, tel. 040 869 6018,