The 2nd Cohort of Top Solutions (2022)
The 2nd UNICEF Innovation Challenge
Solutions that demonstrated originality and impact and were able to top the list of solutions in the rigorous review process were recognized in the closing pitch event of the 2nd UNICEF Innovation Challenge.
Amblyopia or Lazy Eye is a type of poor vision prevalent among children which have a protracted and an uninteresting treatment cycle often involving wearing an eye patch for 4-6 hours a day. This often results in discontinued treatment and secondary issues such as isolation and disruptions in education. According to WHO, three to five percent of children suffer from Amblyopia globally. In 2020, over 4 billion dollars was spent for the treatment of Amblyopia.
CYCLOPS uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) treatment algorithms via play therapy in a Virtual Reality (VR) setting to assist the treatment of Amblyopia in 4–12-year-old children in Iran and the Persian Gulf Region. The treatment includes the use of the VR application for only 1 hour per day. Using this approach, the treatment for Amblyopia is accelerated by four times in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
“CYCLOPS: Modern Treatment for Amblyopia using Virtual Reality Technology, a Solution by Tose’e Darman Sarv, recognized as one of the top innovative solutions ranking FIRST in the 2nd Innovation Challenge for Children and Adolescents in Iran”.
Many children have limited access to play and learning especially when it is tech-enabled. This was accentuated during COVID-19.
“Robokidz: The Interactive Robotic Theme Park” Solution by “Ayandeh Robotics Sabz-e Arsam” recognized as one of the top innovative solutions ranking SECOND in “the 2nd Innovation Challenge for Children and Adolescents in Iran”.
Children at risk and in street situation do not receive the education, health, and other essential services they need and are often deprived of living life as a child.
Jobzi is a mobile school that provides services such as education, health, psychosocial support, etc. to children at risk and in street situation whether they are in workshops or at the intersections. Jobzi has been implemented for four years and 214 children in street situation from 4- to 18-year-old of age have received services through Jobzi in fourteen stations across Tehran.
In 2015, the Nasim-e Sobh-e Rooyesh Institute opened a school dedicated to providing education to children at risk and in street situation. Today, the school has 1,086 students, however, only one out of each 18 children at risk and in street situation can attend school, therefore, there is a need for further support in this space.
“If children cannot come to school, we take the school to the intersections”
Given the limitation of some children at risk and in street situation to attend school, the idea was formed by the Sobh-e Rooyesh team to take education to the intersections and the workshops where children at risk and in street situation can attend. Children in street situation who can benefit from learning and play opportunities of Jobzi are the target group of this intervention. A team of experts including one social worker, one creativity mentor, one psychologist, and one support staff would identify the needs of the target group in specific “stations” and adapt the programme based on personal development path of each individual. The value chain of services is extended to other supports offered by the institute from practical skill building and the transition to earning for children coming of legal working age.
In Persian, Jobzi is an acronym standing for “A Place for Play, A Place for Life”. This Solution developed by “Nasim-e Sobh-e Rooyesh Institute” was recognized as one of the top innovative solutions ranking THIRD in “the 2nd Innovation Challenge for Children and Adolescents in Iran”.
SOLUTIONS WORTHY OF MENTION
During the first years of life, a child’s brain creates more than one million new neural connections every second1. In these critical years optimal brain development has a lifelong impact. Children’s early experiences deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, social development and shape the future success. Supporting the early childhood development is a priority. However, there is a shortage of expert-created customized daily development programmes that can help parents do the right things, at the right time and in the right way.
Kidora is a platform for monitoring development of children under the age of five that provides personalized services for them. It uses ASQ-based screening tests to arrange customized daily play programmes. It also offers developmentally adequate, cognitive science-based, and age-appropriate activities for children. Kidora has used data of 4,000 cases (results of ASQ/CBC tests, medical information, diagnostic reports and evidence of treatment processes) to train its AI algorithm. It makes early diagnosis and recommend interventions to control disorders such as ADHD, Autism, Pervasive Developmental Problems, etc.
MomoBob Platform: Let’s Play, Learn, and Grow
MomoBob is a parenting platform designed for parents of children under 7 years old covering a wide range of personalized high-quality visual content from purposeful games to guidance on nutrition and appropriate reading materials. The platform has 2,500 minutes video at time of launch and 4,000 minutes for its growth phase. The platform is now developing a Milestone Tracker for monitoring speech, physical, emotional, and cognitive growth.
Ninipa: Specialized Children Growth Monitoring Platform
Ninipa is a platform helping parents with children under the age of six to track their growth from birth and to prevent delays in referral of disorders. If an intervention is considered critical based on CDC diagnostics, the user will be referred to the certified clinics closest to their location. Furthermore, Ninipa promotes simple games that parents can engage with children using the props that can be found at home. Ninipa is run by a female-led team and currently has 20,000 downloads and 3,000 active users.
Nature Studio: Do it Yourself!
Most girls start using cosmetics when they are 12-15 years old or even earlier which depending on the context may pose challenges of physical, social, emotional, and mental nature. Nature Studio has developed a Do-it-Yourself Kit of solid materials using nanotechnology that children can make themselves into lipstick. The materials are not only edible but also made of non-chemical natural materials and contains necessary nutrients such as Omega 3, Zink, Vitamins A and E.
LEARNING AND PLAY
Learning computational thinking and digital literacy for children is critical for developing their cognitive abilities and practical skills in today’s digital space yet there are limited resources in Persian for children in Iran. Furthermore, game-based learning yield more effective learning results for children.
Drop-based Education and Learning Ecosystem
Drop-based Education is a new approach to learning with microlearning modules of under 10 minutes for 15 to 18 -year- old high school students. This is a critical period since most students prepare for the university entrance examination or “Konkour” and the cost of education is extremely high for middle and low-income families. Currently, the platform has 17,000 users, some of which are out-of-school and vulnerable children who did not have access to quality education before. The platform offers a financing mechanism where philanthropist can make a one-time purchase of a “virtual chair” in the platform. The virtual chair will be offered to a student from less developed areas for the first year, and to another student the year after and so on so forth. Each module is called a “drop”.
Jaizi is a platform that offers visual educational and skill building content in order to develop skills among children and adolescents in four age groups from 7 to 18. The platform uses gamification, microlearning and the deployment of financial literacy to incentivize learning. The platform taps into the Network Effect and the content is collected through affiliation with different learning academies, mentors, and teachers. Jaizi was developed as a web application with mobile and desktop views.
Innovation Challenge is a competitive process to curate new and innovative solutions for the chronic challenges in society. The first Innovation Challenge was implemented in partnership with the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology in 2021 to address challenges facing children and adolescents in the country and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its secondary impacts. The 2nd UNICEF Innovation Challenge assessment process was administrated on UNICORN which is the UNICEF’s Global Innovation Management Platform.
The solutions applied to the 2nd UNICEF Innovation Challenge went through a rigorous review process by panels of experts to be shortlisted for the Pitch Day Event. The assessment criteria for solutions in the Main Track included: Design with the User, Design for Scale, Build for Sustainability, be Data-driven, Re-use and Improve, Collaboration and Partnership, and Addressing Data Privacy and Security as well as gender balance. Based on the type of solutions, social innovations were placed in a parallel track for the technical assessment with modified assessment criteria which included Impact and Effectiveness, Inclusiveness and Equity, Accessibility and Affordability. Pardis Technology Park and UNICEF would like to thank the valuable efforts of all participating teams in the 2nd UNICEF Innovation Challenge in particular the shortlisted solutions. Furthermore, we appreciate the valuable contributions of the external panel of experts including Dr Zahra Arasti from Tehran University, Mr. Mohsen Aliakbarian from the Elite Technology Incubator (PTP), Dr Aliakbar Farjadian from Sarir Accelerator, Mr. Mohammad Kolahi from High Tech Fund, Dr Saber Khosravi from VCAST as well as the valuable contributions of Dr Shuan SadrGhazi from Tokyo University.
UNICEF Innovation Challenge 2022 main story can be accessed here.
Note: The Recognition does not imply endorsement of product(s), service(s), brand(s), and organization(s) by UNICEF.