UNICEF innovation fund is looking for open source tech

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is looking to fund tech startups based on improving the lives of children.

“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,” says UNICEF Innovation co-lead, Christopher Fabian in a recent statement.

In order for startups to qualify for the funding, they will need to have a working open source prototype of their solution. This can involve expanding, improving, or developing of new technologies.

Applicants will be assessed according to a number of criteria, such as the strength of the team, the project’s relevance to children, as well as the potential future of the open source technology being used.

UNICEF focuses its funding on three different areas: access to information, power, and finance through infrastructure; real-time information and decision-making; products for under 25s to address the likes of education.

Read more: New UNICEF-backed platform looking to crowdsource innovation

“These three areas are ripe for investment due to rapidly changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence and renewable energy,” says Fabian.

So far, the UNICEF fund has raised over US$9-million and offers startups in developing countries funding via a pooled mechanism to help with their projects.

The UNICEF Innovation fund has previously funded the likes of open source mobile services framework RapidSMS and social monitoring tool U-Report.

Those interested can submit their submissions by 26 February to the UNICEF Innovation fund website.



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