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Innovations, lessons learned and good practices

Background and definitions

Identifying, validating and properly documenting “innovations, lessons learned and good practices” are a necessary part of organisational learning and the pursuit of programme excellence. They allow UNICEF and partners to learn from experience and pursue the better approaches in each context to help children and women realize their rights.

Every year, selected innovations, lessons learned and good practices in UNICEF policy advocacy, programming and operations are published. The cases are primarily grouped according to the five focus areas in the UNICEF Medium Term Strategic Plan for 2006-2013, approved by the Executive Board: (1) Young child survival and development, (2) Basic education and gender equality, (3) HIV/AIDS and children, (4) Child protection from violence and abuse, and (5) Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights.


Innovations are summaries of programmatic or operational innovations that have or are being implemented under UNICEF’s mandate. These innovations may be pilot projects or new approaches to a standard programming model that can demonstrate initial results.

Lessons learned are more detailed reflections on a particular programme or operation and extraction of lessons learned through its implementation. These lessons may be positive (successes) or negative (failures). Lessons learned have undergone a wider review than innovations and have often been implemented over a longer time frame.

Good Practices are well documented and assessed programming practices that provide evidence of success/impact and which are valuable for replication, scaling up and further study. They are generally based on similar experiences from different countries and contexts.

Above categories are not exhaustive of all potential knowledge and experiences but are meant to be inclusive of some other forms of analytical documentation. For example, case studies are often developed to document a particular practice; with the above categories, case studies should contribute to any of them depending on content. If you are more interested in a particular topic or featured innovation, or would like to make comments, please contact the Information and Knowledge Management Unit, Policy and Practice at UNICEF Headquarters or the UNICEF country office involved.



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