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General News of Monday, 11 May 2015

Source: Standard Tribune

UNICEF adopts Innovation Fund for poor children

UNICEF has launched a Global Innovation Centre and Innovation Fund to bring to scale creative and cost-reducing approaches to better the lives of the poorest children mainly refugees.

So far, over USD $9 million has been raised to support the Global Innovation Centre and the new Innovation Fund - allowing UNICEF’s seven-year old Innovation team to adapt successful approaches to improve the lives of children in the poorest places.

“Innovations – using mobile technology to register births, sharing real-time data to improve education and health, and giving young people a way to connect with their governments – are already changing the way we work,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “These are not just ideas anymore. They’re working, right now – helping us drive change for the children in greatest need.”

“But we need more innovations – urgently – and the new Global Innovation Centre and Innovation Fund will help make that possible,” he added.

Approximately 300 innovative projects focusing on priority issues to promote the survival, growth, and development of children and reduce inequity are currently in development.

UNICEF country offices that are piloting innovation programmes will now be able to apply to access the Innovation Fund – a pooled funding mechanism – which will allow them to generate sufficient evidence and results to facilitate the expansion of the programme across countries or regions.

The fund model is based on successful venture investment structures including a focus on early-stage investments, a portfolio approach, and meeting selection criteria for investment.

Founding members of the Innovation Fund – which currently holds USD $4 million – include The Walt Disney Company and the Government of Denmark. The pioneering funding from both entities will kickstart the work of several innovation labs and programmes.

UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre, based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be guided by a Steering Committee, which includes: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the Philips Foundation, and the UNICEF National Committees of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Partners in the Steering Committee bring their networks and technical “know-how” to help UNICEF expand their innovations to several countries and regions, as well as to foster collaboration, including overcoming challenges and accelerating progress, between countries where the programmes are being implemented.

“With the Global Innovation Centre and Innovation Fund, UNICEF is building new forms of engagement between businesses and development organizations that bring resources and expertise, to bear on children’s issues,” said Dr. Sharad Sapra, Director of the UNICEF Global Innovation Centre.

“UNICEF welcomes the valuable contribution of the founding members of the Global Innovation Centre and Innovation Fund for their willingness to approach collaborations in an innovative way, and for their commitment to improving children’s lives and futures,” he added.