Guatemala UNICEF and UNDP Innovating Together

UNICEF and UNDP jointly hosted Innovation Week with the purpose of designing innovative solutions to development challenges

UNICEF Guatemala
UNICEF and UNDP jointly hosted Innovation Week with the purpose of designing innovative solutions to development challenges
UNICEF Guatemala
19 November 2020

UNICEF and UNDP joined forces to launch the Innovation Week in its second edition. The objective of this virtual open innovation activity was to promote the co-creation of innovating ideas that contribute to solve critical problems the Country is facing today.

The scale and ambition of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs require new responses and solutions to address development problems. But, above all, its achievement depends on the possibilities and opportunities that exist to expand and strengthen collaboration between multiple people and groups, mainly citizens.

For this reason, from November 3 to 11, the second edition of the Innovation Week was held in Guatemala, promoted jointly by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund, (UNICEF), with the purpose of designing innovative solutions to development challenges using new methodologies and tools, and promoting new forms of collaboration and interaction to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, two relevant and critical challenges were identified for the country: 1) eating habits and a healthy diet in adolescents and 2) tourism and productivity for the conservation of the landscape and its biodiversity. Based on these two challenges, this process was supported by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MANR).

During the activity, 20 multidisciplinary teams (10 per challenge) actively participated in a solution design process, using human-centered design (HCD) methodologies to ingeniously and creatively address the two challenges.

Lone Hvass, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Guatemala during the launching ceremony
UNICEF Guatemala
Lone Hvass, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Guatemala, during the launching ceremony

“Through innovation, rethinking people's diet and eating habits, new paths can be traced. I ask you the question of how we can influence adolescents to identify the consequences of unhealthy eating in their lives and make the decision to improve their eating habits and healthy habits in life?"

Lone Hvass, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Guatemala

The eating habits and healthy diets in adolescents challenge was addressed by UNICEF, where the participants learned in greater depth the context of the importance of promoting and support healthy diets in adolescents so they can develop their full potential and have a better quality of life in the medium and long term. There were approximately 55 participants from more than 10 departments of the country. In addition, the multidisciplinary groups were made up of professionals in various branches, with creative, technological and knowledgeable profiles on the subject. In which people from systems engineering, architecture, industrial design, communication, nutritionists, doctors, health workers, among others participated.

Throughout these four days, conferences were held by renowned professionals on the subject of innovation and design thinking. The participants of the eating habits and healthy diets in adolescents delved into the problem to be addressed through a panel of experts and adolescents from Scouts.  Maria Claudia Santizo (Country Office Nutrition Officer) moderated the panel discussion. 10 ideas were designed and conceptualized for the challenge posed and the initial or low-fidelity prototypes of these solutions were validated by adolescents from Scouts who gave their feedback to each of the solutions. Subsequently, based on the adolescent’s feedback, the prototypes were evaluated by a committee of national experts and adolescents considering their impact, alignment with needs of the challenge, implementation timing, use of technologies, ability to partner and sustainability.

Carlos Carrera, UNICEF Representative, Guatemala during the award ceremony
UNICEF Guatemala
Carlos Carrera, UNICEF Representative, Guatemala, during the award ceremony

“I thank each of the participants for their commitment, creativity, innovation, interest in helping adolescents to have a healthy diet. Innovation is a collective effort that when applied, has the potential to have a positive impact on society and in this case on children and adolescents in Guatemala.”

Carlos Carrera, UNICEF Representative in Guatemala

The winning solutions of the eating habits and healthy diets in adolescents challenge are the following:

The winning solutions of the eating habits and healthy diets in adolescents challenge.
UNICEF Guatemala
The winning solutions of the eating habits and healthy diets in adolescents challenge.

NutriKabil: It is a self-learning app for eating habits with short and interactive lessons. Kabil is a Mayan word that means “the one who has good hand to sow”.

GuateCare: This is a food, nutritional and sports prevention center for adolescents in rural areas.

The event culminated in the awarding of the two best solutions developed for each challenge, which were evaluated by an independent jury. The winning teams were awarded an incubation process supported by The New Business Alliance. Of these solutions, one per challenge will be chosen to receive support in the implementation of the solution, from UNDP, UNICEF and in partnership with the GEF Small Grants Programme.

The Innovation Week demonstrated how through the power of collective intelligence it is possible to identify solutions with high potential to tackle the country's most pressing problems. UNICEF and UNDP Innovation, T4D and Programmatic teams will continue to support the development of the selected solutions and their implementations.


About UNDP

UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. For more information about UNDP and its work, visit   and on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit and follow us on @unicefguatemala on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram and Medium

For further information, please contact:

Pilar Escudero, Communication Associate, UNICEF Guatemala 

Tel: +502 52000794