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UNICEF Innovation

Product Innovation

Supplies are essential in fulfilling children’s rights. In 2017, UNICEF, together with its partners, worked tirelessly to ensure that vital supplies reached children caught up in conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics, poverty and lack of access to healthcare, clean water, basic rights and education. Approximately $3.46 billion worth of supplies and services for children were procured by UNICEF in 2017.

The UNICEF Supply Division Innovation Unit (SDIU) based in Copenhagen, Denmark does not perform internal product development projects but focuses on external product innovation to drive development of fit-for-purpose and value-for-money supplies, which have a positive impact on UNICEF’s programmes and emergency response. SDIU therefore relies on and supports close interaction with developers in relevant industries.

Product Innovation Projects (PIPs) are initiated when a product to address an unmet product need within programmes or emergencies is required, or where the product does not exist in a procurable form on the market either because they are not developed or because the product has not been field trialed for our application. 


ARIDA (Acute Respiratory Infection Diagnostic Aid) against Pneumonia

Emergency Structures 

UNICEF's innovation work in this area aims to identify ways to make the diagnosis of pneumonia more reliable, especially in resource-poor settings.

Over the years, UNICEF has received feedback from Country Offices calling for emergency structures that can serve a variety of purposes. This project is therefore looking for a suitable emergency structure which meets UNICEF needs. 

 Zika Virus (ZIKV) Diagnostics 


Zika Virus (ZIKV) Vaccine


UNICEF is working together with WHO and PAHO, to convene industry and partners, to develop and make commercially available point of care diagnostics for Zika virus syndrome (ZIKV).


We are working with WHO and PAHO to mobilize industry and partners, to support the development of vaccines to protect against Zika virus infection. A Target Product Profile was developed with WHO and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which was issued July, 2016.  

Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) in Emergency Settings

Amoxicillin Adherence Aids 

Ensuring safe drinking water is an essential first response in any emergency situation. One project currently being investigated is a GDM filter as an appropriate household water treatment product that is suitable for emergency response situations.

Development of a Job Aid and Product Presentation to support correct utilization and adherence to the Amoxicillin dosing regimen for treatment of pneumonia. 


Community Approaches to Total Sanitation 

Accessible Latrine Slab for Emergencies

UNICEF is exploring methods for engaging with a diverse set of private sector partners in order to promote the development of low-cost, fit for purpose sanitation products which can be made easily available at the community level. 


The typical latrine slab is not accessible for the disabled. The Latrine Slab project is exploring an add-on, modular component that will fit on latrines and thereby provide access to children with disabilities as well as for elderly people, in order to reduce their vulnerability and marginalization. 

Height Length Measurement Device

School Furniture Design Procurement Guidelines


UNICEF is seeking solutions for portable and accurate height/length measurement devices as feedback from the field and recent reviews of household survey data quality have shown that the current device used to measure height and length of infants, children and adults do not yield accurate results

Functional furniture essentially contributes to the comfort of students and facilitates learning. This project focuses on developing new, innovative furniture designs suitable for local environments and a procurement guideline facilitating a management approach. 

 Rapid E. coli Detection 

Smart Pumps

UNICEF is challenging product developers to identify an easy-to-use detection method that can accurately determine faecal contamination in drinking water in 30 minutes or less.


UNICEF is exploring the development of software/algorithms for smart pump sensors, in order to predict pump failure before it happens.


ViVa (Visibility for Vaccines online) 

Oxygen Therapy


By linking data, UNICEF can identify risks of stock out and overstocking of vaccines well into the future. Through sharing this information with key stakeholders and decision makers timely. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a grant to support a collaboration between UNICEF and WHO, to support access to and utilization of life-saving oxygen system products in low-resource settings.





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