A new call for applications for AI and machine learning solutions that are improving the access to and delivery of learning and heath services has been launched by the UNICEF Innovation Fund. UNICEF INNOVATION FUNDING FOR TECH STARTUPS 2021.
UNICEF works in over 190 territories and countries to save children’s lives, help them satisfy their potential and to safeguard their rights, from early childhood through adolescence. And we are determined.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is in search to make up to $100K equity-free investments to provide early stage (seed) finance to all for profit technology start ups that can really and possibly benefit humanity.
Incase you have got a startup using machine learning, artificial intelligence or data science, registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries, and have a working, open source prototype (or you are ready to make it open source) showing encouraging outcomes, the UNICEF Innovation Fund is searching for you.
Almost 4 billion people (29 percent of whom are of 18 to 24 years of age) remain disconnected from the internet, and by extension unconnected to digital products that could definitely lead to the betterment of their lives. COVID 19 has put a limelight on the digital divide within, between countries and regions, making access to digital platforms and services a key priority.
The world is facing a learning crisis. More children and youths than always are enrolled in school but 250 million remain out of school and are not getting the skills they need to eradicate poverty. Quality and access to education and skills development opportunities are limited mainly for the most marginalized children and youths, girls and children with disabilities inclusive.
The pandemic has also further aggravated inequalities in acess to public wealth and healthcare services for children and adolescents. While children appear to be mostly spared the direct mortality effects of COVID 19, the indirect effects arising from strained health systems intimidate to undo the decades of progress. Now like never before we need to advance impact in health, including childhood immunisations, to ensure that children and adolescents survive and succeed and reach the Continuos Development Goals.
The crisis is also affecting youth’s future, mental health and well being excessively.
The development of technology and online tools indicates that we can deliver learning, health and psycho-social support opportunities anywhere at any time.
What we are looking for
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is presently looking to invest in companies that are using machine learning, data science or artificial intelligence technologies to build software solutions that provide answers to the questions below:
- Are you creating platforms for personalized services? Or are you providing tools to automate processes and making decisions?
Online solutions using AI for personalizing content and information in many languages.
Software that can evaluate trends, recognize mistakes and assess perfomance, including but not restricted to health diagnosis, automated assessments etc.
Adjustible learning solutions that can support self learning or enable teachers to provide considerable personalization of learning.
AI powered voice assistants and chatbots to give personalized help and guidance, for teachers, children, healthcare workers including health workers and mental health and psycho-social well being inclusive.
Tools for changing content into universally designed or available formats, such as text to speech; image to speech including sign language avatars and predictive structure.
Area 2: Are you building tools to advance system perfomance for greater access to delivery of services? Or are you trying to use artificial intelligence, machine learning or data science techiniques to generate new intuitions from data?
Anticipating analysis to understand changes in the world for example new patterns, risk factors or contributors to pathologies and unfavourable results, or diagnostic protocols and models.
Using ML or AI to realize the relationships between different variables that affect development indicators e.g health, learning infrastructure or socio economic.
Applying expansion methods to better service delivery(health) resource allocation (connectivity) or delivering content (education)
Using Natural Language Processing or similar methods to inspect large amounts of text i.e market trends or foretell efficiency in supply tracking and allocation of resources
Area 3: Are you in generation and curation of data for any of the aboove?
Giving rise to new data through crowdsourcing, social network platforms or field data collection.
Building solutions to measure and observe delivery of services i.e in education or health.
Assembling and combining existing data from different sources
Using novel approaches to generate as well as to confirm, large amounts of training data
Background of the UNICEF Innovation Fund
UNICEF’s Innovation Fund is specifically designed to fund early phase, Open Source technologies that can benefit children. The key motivation of the Innovation Fund is to recognize clusters or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology such that UNICEF can share markets as well as learning about and direct these technologies to benefit children. They invest in solutions clusters like $100 billion industries in the frontier technology spaces, such as: artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality plus blockchain.
The UNICEF is specifically looking for solutions that are:
Focus on reducing, other than broadening inequalities.
Developed for low resource environments (e.g low mobile access , connectivity)
Able to deliver in many languages smaller languages inclusive.
Addressing challenges to further outcomes for children.
How one can APPLY for the UNICEF Innovation Fund
To apply, click here.
Female founded startups are encouraged to apply.
Also check> The Stellenbosch University LaunchLab Science Idea and Startup Showcase
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