Urgent action is needed to prevent millions of children from missing out on the benefits of innovation, UNICEF said in a new report launched on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Connectivity and collaboration can fuel new global networks to leverage innovation to reach every child, according to the children’s agency.
The State of the World’s Children Report – Reimagine the future: Innovation for every child calls on governments, development professionals, businesses, activists and communities to work together to drive new ideas for tackling some of the most pressing problems facing children — and to find new ways of scaling up the best and most promising local innovations.
The report is a crowd-sourced compilation of cutting-edge innovations and an interactive platform that maps innovations in countries all over the world and invites innovators to put their own ideas ‘on the map’.
“Inequity is as old as humanity, but so is innovation – and it has always driven humanity’s progress,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “In our ever-more connected world, local solutions can have global impact — benefiting children in every country who still face inequity and injustice every day.
“For innovation to benefit every child, we have to be more innovative – rethinking the way we foster and fuel new ideas to solve our oldest problems,” said Lake. “The best solutions to our toughest challenges won’t come exclusively either from the top down or the grassroots up, or from one group of nations to another. They will come from new problem solving networks and communities of innovation that cross borders and cross sectors to reach the hardest to reach – and they will come from young people, adolescents and children themselves.”
In Malawi to mark the anniversary, a new innovative partnership is further strengthened in Nkhata Bay, when representatives from different faith groups, children’s NGOs and government come together to pledge action on violence against children.
Robert Ngaiyaye, Executive Director of the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association said at this occasion: “violence against children is too common a sight and experience in this country. That is why we need this new partnership, bringing together different players to make a change for children. We are calling on people of all faiths, to recognize that according to our culture and religious beliefs, there is no place for violence against our most precious citizens. Faith Leaders Say No to Violence against Children”
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Since then, there has been tremendous progress in advancing child rights – with a huge reduction in the numbers of children dying before the age of five and increased access to education and clean water.
However, the rights of millions of children are violated every day, with the poorest 20 percent of the world’s children twice as likely as the richest 20 percent to die before their fifth birthday, almost one in four children in the least developed countries engaged in child labour, and millions of children regularly experiencing discrimination, physical and sexual violence, and abuse and neglect.
The latest edition of UNICEF’s flagship report argues that more innovative products, processes, and partnerships are critical to realizing the rights of the hardest to reach children. The fully digital report highlights outstanding innovations that are already improving lives around the world from a wide range of countries, including:
—Solar Ear, the world’s first rechargeable hearing aid battery charger, developed to meet the needs of communities lacking regular access to electricity; it can be charged via the sun, household light, or a cell phone plug. (Tendekayi Katsiga, Deaftronics, Botswana / Zimbabwe)
—New ways to engage Liberian youth in the midst of the Ebola crisis through U-report, a mobile phone-based system developed with young people, that helps examine what issues are most important to them. (UNICEF, Liberia)
—Floating schools that provide year-round access to education for children living in flood-prone regions of Bangladesh. (Mohammed Rezwan, Founding Executive Director of the NGO Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha)
— To find a new solution to help those without regular access to electricity in Nigeria, four teenage girls invented a urine-powered generator. (Nigeria)
UNICEF has prioritized innovation across its network of more than 190 countries, setting up hubs around the world.
With support from UNICEF, Malawi is due to open an innovation hub in 2015, to foster new ways of thinking, working and collaborating with partners and to nurture local talent.
—Share your ideas and inventions at www.unicef.org/innovation