[wpvideo s5zpj7k4] The last week in April saw the culmination of what has proven to be an amazing pilot collaboration between UNICEF’s Next Gen members and the UNICEF Burundi Innovation Lab.

Following two months of remote engagement with the Lab (via weekly Skype calls and remote deliverables), 8 Next Geners – experts in solar energy, finance, social media and communications, data visualization and child psychology – hit the ground running. The trip began with a 2-day field visit to a rural community in Bururi province, giving the team an immediate feel for the challenges and opportunities on the ground. Wednesday and Thursday saw the team break into smaller working groups around solar energy, data visualization and external communications, yielding fantastic results for all (including data visualization infrastructure that can shave hours from the Burundi team’s work week and a scalable business model estimated to provide affordable household lighting to half a million Burundians over a 1 year period).

The mixture of remote collaboration and in-country work succeeded beyond expectations and we look forward to further developing the collaboration of UNICEF Innovation Labs globally and UNICEF’s Next Generation to ensure that Next Geners & their network have an outlet to focus their skills, expertise, dedication and enthusiasm for UNICEF’s life-changing work worldwide. NextGen is revolutionizing volunteer work by developing a unique structure that helps advance UNICEF’s innovation programs and reach to better the lives of children worldwide.

Check out this video for an introduction to the UNICEF Burundi Innovation Lab and NextGen’s first volunteer project in Burundi!

Casey Rotter
Founder, UNICEF’s Next Generation

Right now, you can support UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and programs – like the ones featured in this video – through Star Wars: Force for Change, a brand new initiative from Disney and Lucasfilm in collaboration with Bad Robot, that allows fans to contribute at Omaze.com/StarWars for a chance to appear in Star Wars: Episode VII, while benefiting UNICEF.



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Collaborative force for change: UNICEF’s Next Generation & Burundi Innovation Lab