Uganda hosts Unicef’s ACTIVATE Talks, Calls for Innovations to Reach Marginalized Children

More innovative ways of thinking and working are required to meet the needs of the world’s most marginalized children, UNICEF said today at its inaugural 2014 ACTIVATE Talk in Kampala, Uganda.

“The world needs new ways of thinking and working to improve children’s lives”, said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda. “We need innovative solutions to save more children’s lives and to help more children reach their full potential. And we need innovative solutions to reach the most excluded and vulnerable children.”

Over fifteen Ugandan innovations were recognized for their impact on the lives of children in Uganda while five key innovations – one for each stage of a young person’s life including pregnancy, birth, under five years of age, between 6 – 14 years of age, and between 15 – 14 years of age were featured.  The five feature innovations included:


Matibabu – a mobile phone application used to test for malaria in pregnant mothers and unborn children;

MobileVRS – a mobile phone birth registration service that functions via sms messages

The Medical Concierge – a tele-medicine service providing free information to parents on the health of their children;

EMO – a solution which creates odourless latrines in schools to contribute to uninterrupted quality education;

U-Report – a mobile-phone based citizen participation service that enables young people to express their views on national and community development issues to contribute to public affairs management.

“Constraints give rise to creativity, so one of the efforts we are making is to identify the wealth of creativity that exists around the world, capture it and see how it can be promoted and supported to reduce children’s inequities both across and within countries” said Dr. Sharad Sapra, UNICEF’s Principal Advisor and Director of UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre.

“All of the innovations we saw today show the power of creative thinking to affect positive change in children’s lives and the communities and countries they live in.”

The Kampala ACTIVATE talk is the first in a series of ten Talks to be held worldwide this year in commemoration of 25 years since the signing of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was signed on November 20, 1989.

The best knowledge and input from the year’s ACTIVATE Talks and activities will culminate in a digital State of the World’s Children report, which will be launched at the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 2014, in New York, USA.