UNICEF Awards $100,000 to Six Emerging Market Blockchain Projects
The United Nations body has backed initiatives that target global challenges such as healthcare inefficiency and seek to help migrants in need.
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has announced the first cohort of investments in emerging market blockchain projects, providing $100,000 to six initiatives aiming to help vulnerable populations tackle daily problems.
The UN body selected the projects among 100 applications from 50 countries. The winners should develop open-source prototypes of distributed ledger technology (DLT)-driven apps in the next 12 months. UNICEF manages blockchain cohorts through its Innovation Fund, which invests in new technology fields such as data science, machine learning, and virtual reality.
“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage - and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world. That's exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.” UNICEF Innovation chief adviser Chris Fabian said in the press release.
Among the winning projects is one from an Argentine company whose idea is an online crowdfunding platform that would facilitate access for small and medium enterprises while guaranteeing fund traceability by using DLT solutions. Another winner is a Mexican project for tackling the misappropriation of state money when providing social services to children and teenagers in need. Mexico has another idea approved, with UNICEF selecting a proposal for developing a healthcare blockchain app that would show the entire history of patients.
Asia is represented by an Indian initiative to create a DLT-powered supply chain for vaccine delivery and a Bangladeshi project for providing offline mobile access to refugees and migrants. UNICEF has also backed a Middle East proposal in the shape of a Tunisian idea for improving the decision-making process across organizations and communities in emerging countries.
Along with the financial help, UNICEF will provide product and technology assistance plus access to experts and partners. The organization will also seek a second round of investments for the projects and will implement the successful initiatives in its programs across 190 countries and territories.
UNICEF has already participated in several blockchain and cryptocurrency projects, including a crypto-based charity campaign for Syrian refugees.