Presentation: UNICEF Innovation Fund – support for startups developing open-source tech solutions that improve society

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Mr Vladimir Trkulja (Venture Fellow, UNICEF) spoke about challenges and solutions in the digital age from the perspective of children. Considering global displacements, growing youth population, lack of training which prepare the youth for the ’market of tomorrow’, and other emergencies, it is clear that we are living in the rapidly changing world. Technology has developed rapidly and enabled great developments. However, with more people using social networks, more data are created and left behind. ’Big opportunities mean widening inequality’. The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in companies which are developing open source technology solutions that can improve the lives of children. Trkulja noted that the crucial factor for applying is to have open source solutions. Principles of acceptable innovation solutions are to design with the user and build for sustainability. Reuse and improve by understanding the existing ecosystem, be data-driven, do no harm, design for scale, use open source, and be collaborative. He mentioned an example of blockchain technology for children, which provides accountability on Early Childhood Development (ECD) services. The specially developed open-open-source platform, the Magic Box, is a platform which enables collaboration and the use of new data sources, as it collects, aggregates, and analyses information in real-time. He concluded by inviting those present not only to apply with open-source solutions which benefit children, but also to spread the word about opportunities within UNICEF.

 

By Aida Mahmutović

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