UNICEF has a 70-year history of investing in new solutions that benefit chil-
dren. Examples of such technologies over the past decade include feature
phone platforms like RapidPro, which, with more than 4.5 million users in 50
countries, has allowed governments and their partners to hear from young peo-
ple via SMS about where diseases are spreading, what services they need most,
or where relief might be needed after a disaster.1. Smartphone app MobileVRS
has helped raise the birth registration rate in Uganda from 28 percent to 70 per-
cent.2. The mHero platform has provided real-time information that assists in
the fight against Ebola by connecting health workers who needed actionable
information.3. Now we are preparing for a change that may rival the shift
brought on by the exponential increase in mobile phone ownership and access
during the 2000s—the possibility of immutable, accessible, decentralized global
networks of information and data. This potential change is often described as
the era of blockchain for development.
WHAT IS UNICEF?
The United Nations Children’s Fund, universally known as UNICEF, works to protect the rights of children around the world. It is a $5.5 billion agency with over 12,000 personnel working in more than 190 countries.4. In its efforts to provide opportunity and choice for the world’s most vulnerable children, UNICEF workswith governments to build programs thatensure that every child has access to education, health care, personal identity, and other essential rights. The organization works in both emergency situations (344 emergencies in 2017 alone) and more tra-
ditional development and non-emergency settings.5. The agency uses datafrom household surveys, tools like RapidPro, and science platforms like the Magic Box to identify where and how it can help children achieve their full potential.6.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Fabian (@hichrisfabian) is a technologist who co-founded UNICEF's Innovation
Unit in 2006. He currently leads UNICEF Ventures. Together with Sunita Grote, Chris led the
launch of the $17M UNICEF Venture Fund in 2015, creating the first fund of its kind in the
United Nations. The Fund uses a venture capital approach to invest in startups working on
frontier technology like virtual reality, machine learning, and blockchain technology that can
have a positive impact on humanity.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for Christopher's document which is copyrighted.