Today was awesome.  We started off our #uinnovate tour of UNICEF’s Innovation Lab in Uganda with a briefing by Sharad Sapra on the state of the Uganda country office, problems they faced, and some projects that are going to national scale.

Our group of Directors and Innovation Leads from USAID, the World Bank, UNDP, the UN Foundation, Singularity University, Sciences-Po and the US Fund for UNICEF will be traveling through Uganda and Burundi to look at two labs and find areas of collaboration, opportunity and ability to scale ideas.

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We went to the UNICEF Innovation Lab in Mbuya (here is Jean Marc hard at work on a MakerBot, right before the group arrived) to get a sense of what they were working on.

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Stefan explained to us that the focus on rugged, open hardware specifications makes the lab not a producer of mass-made goods, but rather a research and development tool which can then link its open specs to manufacturers and other partners to let its successes and failures help fuel new product development.

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Emma explained the thinking behind each part of the Digital Drum installations – how solar panels are bolted from the inside of structures, and what some of the constraints to learning innovation are.

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We were shown the soundstage where the Innovation Team in Uganda is recording a thousand hours+ of curriculum, from the best teachers in the country, for broadcast on TV and on the Digital Drums.

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We were then treated to a presentation by Aalto and Art Center students involved in various Design for UNICEF projects

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We then went to the TLC youth centre and saw young kids working on a Digital Drum installation which had been there for two years:

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We also had great conversations with young u-Reporters and others involved in youth innovations in this dynamic and creative youth centre.

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more full photo set here

christopher fabian

kampala, uganda

4 march, 2013

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