We build and scale innovations that improve children’s lives around the world.
WHO WE ARE:
UNICEF Innovation is an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work. UNICEF Innovation is comprised of:
- An Innovation Unit in New York that supports UNICEF programmes on the ground and the organization at large through integration of technology, design thinking and partnerships with the private sector and academia.
- An Innovation Center in Nairobi that identifies and field tests scalable innovations;
- A node in San Francisco that builds partnerships with the technology sector, and will help scale social innovation startups.
- An innovation group around Supply in Copenhagen, which works closely with private sector and other partners on supply and product innovation.
- A network of 14 Innovation Labs around the world (from Armenia to Zambia) that bring together the private sector, academia, and the public sector to develop solutions for key social issues, and ensure we are always watching for new ideas from unexpected places.
WHAT WE DO:
Since 2007 UNICEF’s Innovation Unit has worked with partners to develop open-source technologies that have:
- reported over 13 million births in Nigeria over a 20 month period,
- provided antenatal care to thousands of pregnant women across Rwanda,
- created nationwide systems for realtime information on children in countries throughout East Africa,
- realtime tracking of the distribution of more than 25 million insecticide treated mosquito nets in Nigeria,
- mentored and supported more than 1,000 youth entrepreneurship projects through the Kosovo Innovation Lab,
- supported innovations in learning in emergencies in Lebanon, and
- providing a direct, realtime feedback loop for more than 250,000 young Ugandans to engage with their government and change policy.
Our work is built on a set of principles, including open collaboration and learning from fast failures, that have informed our successes and been built from our failures.
UNICEF Innovation works across three main areas:
- Support to hundreds of Country Office innovation projects that may need new partners, new technologies, or connections to other parts of the organization;
- Development and experimentation with new operational models, such as the UNICEF Fellows programme;
- Looking at the 3-5 year future horizon for UNICEF – things that are coming but not yet ready: 3D printing, drones, digital currency, and other future possibilities.
UNICEF works to prevent child deaths and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at both the global and grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. Our proven track record on improving the lives of millions of children and families, particularly in resource-limited settings makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young. UNICEF combines local understanding with global knowledge to innovate new, scalable solutions.
ABOUT THIS SITE
This site captures stories, resources, and ideas about innovation in international development from UNICEF staff around the world. You will find first-person stories and the links you need to adapt these projects for your own use. We welcome submissions from interested staff members and partners.