UNICEF is Launching Open Source Tech Fund to Improve the Lives of Children Everywhere

Photo courtesy of UNICEF.

UNICEF's seven year-old innovation program has focused on projects that improve kid's lives in countries around the world.  Projects include the RapidPro texting service, MomConnect, which registers births in South Africa, and more. The new $9 million fund -- provided by the governments of Finland and Denmark, the Walt Disney Company and Page Family Foundations -- aims to take things to the next level by investing in open source, in-country technologies like drones that can deliver medical samples and blockchain-based identity services.

"By using emerging technology and developing it in ways a private sector startup would, we can make the work that UNICEF does in difficult parts of the world better," Christopher Fabian, who co-leads the agency's innovation division, told Co.Exist. "We can serve more children and get information [for our operations] more quickly."

Real-time information analysis that uses proprietary data along with public data from social media is another priority for the team. "If we can understand real-time information to gear our policy better, we can have quick impact on things like the Zika virus," Fabian says.