Red Hat and UNICEF Innovation are committed to open source technologies and have started a long term partnership where we collaborate on joint projects and activities to support children across the globe through the benefits of open source technologies. We started this partnership in early 2018 with an eight-week Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency. During the residency, UNICEF and Red Hat teams worked together to improve the usability of the School Mapping Project tool to support humanitarian research in real-time. The collaboration focused on advancing the School Mapping Project, including enhancements to Magicbox, a software platform that uses real-time data from both public sources and private sector partners to inform life-saving humanitarian responses to emergency situations. We’ll be continuing this partnership at The Americas Red Hat Tech Exchange through a UNICEF Hack-a-Thon session and also raising funds for the UNICEF Venture Fund through donations.
With your contribution today, you will be investing in UNICEF’s Venture Fund. This $16 million fund within the Office of Innovation invests in portfolios of emerging technology being developed by 1) companies in UNICEF programme countries and 2) UNICEF Country Offices. The Fund allows UNICEF to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source technology solutions that show potential to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children, with the goal to identify the frontier technologies that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs. This Fund allows UNICEF to take small risks within particular technology portfolios, and ensure that even if many of the investments fail, the portfolio is a success.
The Fund also invests in early-stage research into new technologies to benefit children, as well as in specific assets and infrastructure that may be needed to add value to the individual seed fund investments - for example the first humanitarian drone corridor recently opened in Malawi. All of this work supports our investment strategies and decisions, and research and learnings are published in the public domain.
UNICEF is on the ground in 190 countries, and we see the evolving challenges that are facing children and young people – from disease outbreaks and populations on the move, to urbanisation and climate change. We pair these changing realities on the ground with efficient, effective and creative ways to address them. Being able to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – adopted by the countries of the United Nations to change the way we develop our world through 2030 – requires innovation to shape these global efforts and implement their solutions.