Application closed for UNICEF Country Office Solutions using Frontier Technology

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is currently looking to invest in UNICEF Country Office's that are using machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain or extended reality (virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR)) technologies to build software solutions that have the potential to impact children's lives positively.

Submission deadline was

30th March


The eligibility requirements for the UNICEF Innovation Fund are: 

- Country Office is developing and piloting a new open source solution
- The solution has completed initial prototyping and small scale piloting with promising results. It lacks sufficient evidence or resources to scale further
- You have matching co-funding to support the project
- CO senior management supports the application and project itself
- You are able to spend the investment within 12 months


Read the Request for Expression of Interest here.

The application will be assessed based on the Innovation Fund Criteria:
- Alignment with UNICEF’s Innovation Principles and UNICEF’s global priorities for children.
- Size of the market opportunity and relevance across geographic locations.
- Suitability of the team to implement the project.
- Feasibility and problem-solution fit.
- Creation of open source, public goods in frontier technology spaces.
- Results able to be measured and monitored in real time.

- CO developing and piloting a new open source solution at an early stage 

Provision of matching funding by the CO

Support from senior level (Rep, Dep Rep or Chief of Section as appropriate)

Once the application is complete, projects will be assessed by the Innovation Fund Board for a final decision.

The Fund management team, which is part of the UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, provides support in assessing, funding and growing open-source solutions that have been developed in new and emerging markets. In particular:

-Co-fund UNICEF country office projects upto $100k for a 12-month period. 

-Guidance or feedback on the prototype including initial stages of development.

-Access to global partners and advice on creating new private-sector in-kind partnerships (for instance, data providers like Amadeus, Telefonica, IBM, facebook; engineering partners like RedHat or Amazon; Platform for Unmanned Cargo Aircraft (PUCA), academic partners like UCSD)

-Review various technical areas and related progress/challenges at 6 months of implementation.

-Technical support at the time of implementation in specialized areas (for example, AI, satellite imagery processing, Software development, data science) 

What is the definition of early stage?

The Innovation Fund does not invest in ideas, nor does it invest in projects that have mature projects that are being scaled to a different country or region. Projects should have completed initial prototyping and small-scale piloting with promising results, but lack sufficient evidence or resources to scale further. COs can also leverage successful prototypes from other countries.  Specifically, projects should:


1. Develop new technology: Country office is developing technology that has not been used in this way anywhere; or


2. Conduct the first country pilot of a new solution for UNICEF: Country Office is building / testing technology that has not been used by UNICEF before. (First open source, scalable technology pilot for UNICEF, including change of licensing from proprietary to open source); or


3. Build new functionalities that work across platforms: Country office is building a new functionality, app or platform  that build upon existing platforms, when the new functionality/app/platform is highly experimental, self contained and built to work across several different platforms.

-Real time data: Providing real-time data that shows the progress of the project

-Implement: Possible technical support from a global team of experts in the Office of Innovation

-Spend: Funding awarded has to be spent within 12 months

-Report: Submitting the first report 6 months after receiving the funds and final at 12 months

-Share: Share your experiences with other country offices through 

More than 45 countries have received support from UNICEF Innovation to develop solutions and technology that impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. The investment has led to leveraging significant co-funding from other sources. Information on each of the country projects is outlined on the Fund Innovation Website.