By Angelica Gustilo Ong
Today, UNICEF was honored at the 29th CIO 100 Symposium & Awards Ceremony as one of 100 organizations whose work has delivered measurable impact and value through the innovative use of technology.
“Delivering innovation and business value are top priorities for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) everywhere, and our CIO 100 awards program celebrates leading IT organizations that excel at both,” said Maryfran Johnson, Editor in Chief of CIO Events.
“Our 2016 winners are raising the bar even higher this year with their outstanding work in digital transformation, customer focus, and IT-business collaboration,” she added.
UNICEF was recognized for its work on utilizing new technologies to strengthen its ability to advocate for the protection of children’s rights around the world.
UNICEF CIO, Daniel Couture, shares, “The award recognizes UNICEF’S efforts to partner with stakeholders globally to implement UNICEF programmes through the use of innovative, technology-enabled solutions. UNICEF’s tools such as RapidPro and U-Report are field-tested innovations that strengthen our programme work with an aim to benefit all children, particularly the most disadvantaged.”
As the issues and challenges affecting children continue to evolve, UNICEF has utilized systems that collect and visualize real-time information. These technologies and the information obtained through them is critical to help UNICEF and partners make better-informed decisions and to bring essential services to the world’s most vulnerable children.
That is why UNICEF invests in globally scalable and adaptable systems to support real-time information. One that has scaled globally is RapidPro, which is an open-source software that allows anyone to easily build and scale mobile-based applications that connect directly with mobile phone users. RapidPro is designed to send personalized messages over SMS, voice, social media, and Internet-based channels, and it provides UNICEF agents with real-time situation analysis. Using RapidPro, UNICEF decision makers can now access real-time information about issues directly related to their communities, which enables them to make better-informed decisions. RapidPro powers numerous applications from education and health monitoring systems to youth engagement programs like U-Report.
U-Report is a social messaging tool that empowers young people to respond and report on issues that matter. The results received through U-Report support UNICEF and its partners to advocate and bring about social and political change. U-Report is rapidly growing – it is already available in 24 countries with a subscriber base of over two million young people.
These open-source applications show how prevalent the integration of innovation and technology is within UNICEF and its programmes.