Innovation

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We build and scale innovations that improve children’s lives around the world.

UNICEF Innovation is an interdisciplinary team with offices all over the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work.

We tackle serious, seemingly intractable problems and come up with inventive and usable solutions that make children’s lives better.

History shows that a seemingly small innovation can make a huge difference in children’s lives. These solutions don’t have to cost much or involve complicated technology.

Here are four examples of how innovation has improved children’s lives for the better:

  • Take Oral Rehydratoin Salts (ORS). A little packet of salts and minerals became one of the most powerful weapons in the child survival revolution. Dehydration and acute diarrhea can take a child’s life within hours, but when mixed with clean water, ORS can quickly reverse the deadly loss of essential fluids
  • After devastating water crises in India, UNICEF led the development of a locally manufactured hand pump in 1976. This durable, easy-to-maintain machine has since provided fresh, clean water to millions of families and children, setting the standard for water pumps all over the world.
  • Life-saving peanut paste has been called a “miracle food” for its power to bring a child back from the brink of starvation. This protein and vitamin-packed peanut paste comes ready to eat, does not need to be refrigerated or mixed with water, survives heat and cold and can be administered anywhere by anyone to help a malnourished child gain up to two pounds a week.
  • As the world’s largest buyer of vaccines—2.8 billion doses in 2013—UNICEF has the ability to buy at scale, move markets and drive down the price of children’s vaccines. Small efficiencies quickly add up to lives saved. Here’s one example: a projected $500 million in cost reductions on the new rota virus vaccine will allow an additional 50 million children to be immunized against the second-biggest killer of children under five.