The original article was published on Feb 1, 2016 on UNICEF China’s blog. To read the complete article, click here. 

The Design for UNICEF class at Tsinghua University for the 2015/16 academic year successfully ended in January. The class is an interdisciplinary design programme in which graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds, such as visual communications, industrial design and business, work together to examine challenges that UNICEF faces. Under the guidance of the lead professor and UNICEF mentors, students conduct research and propose prototype solutions.

This was not the first time that Tsinghua University and UNICEF collaborated in a design and youth engagement approach. A Design for UNICEF workshop was first led by Professor Yingqing Xu, Chair of Information Art and Design at Tsinghua’s Academy, together with Christopher Fabian, co-lead of UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, in May 2015.  The Design for UNICEF class in the 2015/16 fall semester was an advanced version of the workshop.

To expose students to actual challenges UNICEF is tackling in its field operations, UNICEF China staff members presented the class with three use cases from its current portfolio of health, education and social policy activities. The students were asked to conduct focus group discussions, surveys and other research and present mid-term reports based on the findings and their analysis. These reports were reviewed by UNICEF mentors, who provided feedback to the preliminary research, and helped guide the subsequent research.  At the end of the semester, three teams of students presented their findings and solutions to the  Office.

The first Design for UNICEF students with UNICEF staff. Photo: UNICEF China
The first Design for UNICEF students with UNICEF staff. Photo: UNICEF China

The Tsinghua University students presented the following three project solutions to UNICEF China. Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to China, listened to the presentations, thanked the students for their hard work and encouraged them to continue to closely follow issues around children’s rights and sustainable development as they advance their studies.

The Design for UNICEF Class plans to continue to engage China’s new generation of young innovators and challenge them to think about how the can contribute to solving some of the problems faced by children here in China and around the world.

To read the complete article, click here.