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UNICEF's work

UNICEF Office of Innovation​

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation uses technology to address the biggest challenges facing children today. We use technology and new approaches to do three things:

  1. Provide Life-saving Info and Services - We use new approaches and technologies to increase access to essential services, use scarce resources more efficiently, and communicate life-saving information.
  2. Engage Young People in Change - We use technology and new approaches to engage young people around the world, connect them to their governments as well as opportunities to ensure that they are future ready.
  3. Help UNICEF meet children's needs today and tomorrow - We identify emerging technologies, conduct research, experiment with new approaches, and invest in early stage solutions. We work to ensure that children can take advantage of technological opportunities and be protected from technological risks.

Partnerships UNICEF works to create new partnership structures that can narrow the gap between technologies (and practices) and the people we need to reach. Our partners apply their expertise, networks, internal platforms and data – not only to delivering viable business strategies, but also to creating long-term value for entire populations, systems and countries. UNICEF Innovation focuses on four types of partnerships:

  1. Startup companies: identifying and investing in promising startups working on open source frontier technology solutions that show potential to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. This is our primary work done through the UNICEF Venture Fund. We are also in collaboration with Startup Accelerators who wish to accelerate digital public goods.
  2. Private sector: convening corporations (such as Arm, Amadeus, Google, Facebook, Telefonica, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer), designers, entrepreneurs, and other development partners around the intersection of high-growth tech industries and social good.
  3. Academic: bringing shared value through the exchange of ideas, joint capacity building and opportunities for applied research. These relationships are about building up a community of practice and practitioners and connecting with a new generation of problem solvers.
  4. International agencies and other United Nations entities: serving as a convening force across the United Nations system and among international organizations, co-creating and implementing solutions and leveraging local and global networks.

For more information visit:

UNICEF's Venture Fund​

One of the key vehicles for UNICEF’s Office of Innovation to meet the complex and interconnected demands and explore the space of emerging solutions is the UNICEF Venture Fund. The Venture Fund’s investment-style funding targets early-stage, Open Source technology solutions developed by startup companies registered in UNICEF’s programme countries, that address the most pressing challenges faced by children and young people, building a pipeline of DPGs. It also supports UNICEF’s Country Offices to develop and pilot Open Source frontier technology solutions.

The Venture Fund specifically looks to learn about and grow frontier technology solutions (such as drones and UAVs, blockchain, data science and artificial intelligence, and extended reality) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1+ billion persons’ needs.

For more information visit:

UNICEF'S CryptoFund​

A prototype fund that accepts donations and make disbursements in cryptocurrencies (exclusively) to finance early stage, open source technology benefiting society.​​ More about the UNICEF's CryptoFund found here.

UNICEF and the DPGA​

UNICEF is a proud co-lead of the UN Secretary General’s The Age of Digital Interdependence recommendations around universal connectivity (1A) and digital public goods (1B). UNICEF co-founded the Digital Public Goods Alliance as a result of recommendation 1B’s call for a “broad multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, to create a platform for sharing digital public goods”. This work aims to make open source solutions more accessible to governments and to help them scale. UNICEF and other DPGA partners are working directly with national governments, UN agencies, and others who are looking for open source solutions to deploy in their countries. UNICEF is also part of the governance board which functions as a strategic decision-making and oversight body for the DPGA Secretariat, and consists of member-organizations who demonstrate a strong commitment to digital public goods and are committed to supporting the DPGA’s mission and mandate. Read more here.

UNICEF’s Pathfinder Pilots​

As a member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), UNICEF’s Office of Innovation is committed to creating a strong ecosystem for digital public goods. Since 2021, UNICEF's Office of Innovation has led a series of DPG pathfinding pilots across 10 UNICEF Country Offices (The Eastern Caribbean, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Niger, Philippines, Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, and Vietnam). Pathfinding pilots are time-bound initiatives, led by DPGA members in direct cooperation with, or with the endorsement of, a relevant government entity to build local capacity for the creation of new DPGs and/or to support the local adaptation or implementation for existing DPGs. Pathfinding pilots are tailored to the needs of a country and/or region and help define use cases, identify needs, inform adaptations, and enable policy frameworks. UNICEF’s pathfinding pilots show leadership in developing, scaling, and investing in DPGs with a commitment to highlight and share these experiences with other countries and the broader DPGA. Pathfinder pilots receive significant and valuable support from UNICEF's Digital Centre of Excellence ICT4D Advisors.

KazakhstanStrengthening a public-private partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, and Astana Hub to support locally-developed DPGs, as well as assisting Qlang and Accessible Kazakhstan to be DPGs.
KyrgyzstanLeveraging Reimagine Education as the flagship initiative by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF to digitize education to implement the Global Digital Library and supporting locally-developed content for teacher training. In addition, UNICEF is supporting the government to explore and localize DPGs for health and employment.
The PhilippinesStrengthening Project AEDES (Data Science for Dengue Virus prediction), as well as the Fintech for Impact DPG Accelerator.
JordanSupporting national scale rollout of impact sourcing platforms connecting vulnerable youth with micro employment opportunities, as well as a DPG Accelerator led by the Ministry of Digital Economy.
Sierra LeoneSupporting the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI): including on the DPG OpenG2P, and theGovernment Services Platform, IGIS, and CDR (Flowminder). In addition, UNICEF is supporting the Civil Aviation Authority to strengthen their open Unmanned Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM) system as a foundational DPG to enable the regulation, insurance, and growth of the use of drones in the public sector.
GhanaEngaging local organizations and communities to contribute to DPGs, including Primero and supporting the Startup Innovation Lab as a DPG Accelerator.
The Eastern CaribbeanConducted a needs assessment for DPG challenges and opportunities in the education sector and supporting a learning content-focused, regional DPG Accelerator.
UzbekistanSupporting the design of a nationwide needs assessment of opportunities and challenges in digital transformation and supporting the government to explore and localize DPGs in education and WASH.
NigerWorked with Agence Nationale pour la Société de l'Information (ANSI) on strengthening government-led support to locally-developed DPGs in education and health.
VietnamSupporting implementation of H5P and the Global Digital Library as part of the national initiative to digitize education and facilitating collaborations with local partners, including the University of Hanoi and international partners, and the University of South Australia.

Digital Public Goods Alliance​

The Digital Public Goods Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods. For more information on the Digital Public Goods Alliance visit:

Governing Body​

The DPGA is governed by a board which functions as a strategic decision-making and oversight body for the DPGA Secretariat. The board consists of member-organizations who demonstrate a strong commitment to DPGs and are committed to supporting the DPGA’s mission and mandate. The current member organizations of the board are: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), iSPIRT, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Sierra Leone Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), UNDP, and UNICEF. Day to day functions are steered by the DPGA Secretariat, which is co-hosted by Norad, UNDP, and UNICEF.