According to various media reports, UNICEF has launched an innovation fund with which it will be investing in open source tech startups in developing countries with the aim of improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Based on this, the fund is accepting applications from open source projects that have a working prototype that involves developing a new technology or expanding/improving on an already existing one.
Innovation Village reports that the UNICEF Innovation Fund has also already raised $9 million and offers innovators in developing countries a pooled funding mechanism to help them scale their tested projects.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund has previously invested in tech solutions, such as RapidSMS, RapidPro and U-Report.
The fund will focus its investments on three portfolio areas:
- Products for youth under 25 to address a range of needs including learning and youth
- Real-time information for decision-making
- Infrastructure to increase access to services and information, such as connectivity, power, sensors and transport.
Applications will be assessed based on the strength of the team, the project’s relevance to children, and the ability for potential future value in the open source IP being created. Submissions of expressions of Interest must be received no later than 26 February 2016, so if you are interested, you better hurry.
“We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children,” said Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Leads, according to the Innovation Village report.
UNICEF Innovation is an interdisciplinary team of individuals that builds and scales innovations that improve children’s lives around the world.