UNICEF is pleased to announce the two global winners of the Global Design for UNICEF Challenge: HealthConnect from Nicaragua and We Are Siblings from Indonesia.

Selected from an initial pool of over 50 teams from 7 universities in 6 countries (Zambia, Kosovo, Chile, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Lebanon), these two teams produced concepts that are both original and feasible, and adhere to our Innovation Principles.

The Global Design for UNICEF Challenge is an online youth innovation challenge that engages students in applying human centered design to local problems with global implications. This year’s theme was Connectivity, asking students: How can we better connect the underconnected? Problem statements were developed with participating Country Offices. Specific connectivity case studies ranged from infrastructural barriers in Nicaragua to social inclusion in Kosovo.

Winner in Nicaragua — HealthConnect: Quality Health Across Barriers

HealthConnect: Quality Health Across Barriers. from left to right: Jose Carlos, Scarleth, Roberto and Luis (team member Pablo is not pictured).

HealthConnect: Quality Health Across Barriers aims to redesign health service delivery to indigenous rural communities in the North Caribbean Autonomous Region of Nicaragua (RACN). The students – who are also leaders in the Club de Negocios (business club) of the American College in Nicaragua and are supporting the Sociopreneur scholarship program which UNICEF started with the university in 2014.

“Because we had been collaborating with UNICEF in different projects before and through these experiences, we developed a strong bond with UNICEF Nicaragua colleagues. We felt that we were part of the UNICEF family. When we learned about the Global challenge for UNICEF Design, we wanted to show that together, we can do something big, thorough participating in this initiative.”

The team has developed an integrated approach to overcome barriers to healthcare access such as lack of information and prolonged and expensive transit to health clinics. Their plan includes a mobile-based infographic data system for remote diagnostics and care by health professionals that is supplemented by strengthened community networks and local resources in RAAN. This system will enable everyday citizens, especially those in remote areas, to have an easier time identifying and reporting on symptoms of illnesses and diseases they are experiencing. The system will also provide valuable evidences on frequent diseases that are affecting children in rural communities to the decision makers for evidence-based planning and programming to reduce child mortality. “We chose the topic because we thought that this problem is most pressing and affecting the vulnerable children in Nicaragua. we felt that this challenge needs a solution as soon as possible.” Learn more about their project here.

Winner in Indonesia — We Are Siblings

The team members of We Are Siblings pose with Jeff Hall (center), Innovation Lab Lead at UNICEF Indonesia

We are Siblings, a team of students from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) has proposed a Sisterhood and Brotherhood program for connecting children on five big islands in Indonesia (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java, Papua), with the goal of raising awareness around child violence in Indonesia and to connect at-risk children to critical support networks. Their model builds on the proven impact of programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters through a network of regional ambassadors that can leverage the popularity of social media platforms to amplify impact. “I chose this topic because I have been a victim of bullying, but fortunately I have families that supported me,” said team member Aldila Setiawati. “But do all children have that? I’m not sure, that’s why together with my team I wanted to create something that supports the children the same way my family supported me.” Learn more about their project here and please visit their website.

Through the Challenge, young people were able to collaborate across continents around common problem sets that cut across regions and programme areas.

“These young innovators are doing their best to put what seems impossible to the possible,” said Philippe Barragne-Bigot, the UNICEF Representative in Nicaragua. “it’s all about finding small solutions to local problems that have the potential to trigger positive changes and help improve the access to the services and opportunities that children deserve for, as their fundamental rights.”

Over the course of three months, teams developed their project ideas using a user-centered design curriculum and through discussion and feedback with mentors and the general public. In the coming months, the winning teams will work closely with the local Country Offices and UNICEF’s network of implementing partners to further develop and test their ideas in the field.

Questions or comments can be directed to Norah Maki, Academic Partnership Lead for the Innovation Unit – nmaki@unicef.org.

More information about the Design for UNICEF Challenge can be found at these links:
Design for UNICEF Challenge: Top 5 Teams Announced
Indonesian university students take the lead in Global UNICEF Challenge
Design for UNICEF Challenge launches at American College in Nicaragua
Global Design for UNICEF Challenge launches in Zambia

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