UNICEF Ventures explores technologies, such as blockchain, with the potential to impact children and young people globally, providing them with information, opportunity, and choice. The UNICEF team sees blockchain technology as having benefits in three main ways: 1) leveraging innovative financing models to distribute resources; 2) increasing the efficiency and transparency of internal processes, and; 3) incentivizing and encouraging the creation of open-source digital public goods. The approach to achieving this is by researching and prototyping with both internal and external stakeholders.
To understand the technical, social, ethical, and legal challenges of utilizing blockchain technologies in our complex and interconnected world — the UNICEF team is exploring this space with open eyes on practical experimentations of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and various types of tokens, as well as by supporting learning and training initiatives to build capacity.
UNICEF Ventures is working on a variety of blockchain prototypes and products, working with their programmatic areas and their UNICEF country offices around the world, with the primary aim of increasing the efficiency & transparency of UNICEF processes. Below are a few samples of current work underway:
In Kazakhstan, the team is exploring how technology can be used to facilitate payments between UNICEF and its partners. Learn more about the Digicus project here.
With the UN Innovation Network, UNICEF is supporting the development of an interagency platform that allows any UN entity to learn and experiment with blockchain. Learn more about The Atrium here.
UNICEF Ventures is leveraging a public blockchain to make claims in a transparent and immutable way. In the first phase of the prototype, certificates were issued confirming the participation of organizations who tested in our drone corridors. Learn more here.
UNICEF is looking at how blockchain can bring connectivity to schools in a more fair and transparent way, both in terms of providing new financing mechanisms, as well as streamlining necessary operational processes. Project Connect is an initiative that aims to map every school in the world. The goal is to provide real-time data assessing the quality of each school’s internet connectivity, eventually creating an observable metric of society’s progress towards enabling access to information and opportunity for every community. See the live map here.
With blockchain, Project Connect can provide users visibility into how donations are being used to connect schools around the world, what speed of internet each of the connected schools has, and managing the contracts between a region of schools and an internet service provider. See how blockchain could play a role here.