We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Press centre

Joint press release

UNICEF Tasks New York City Students with Solving Pressing Challenges to Child Survival

NEW YORK, 12 March 2013 – The City University of New York (CUNY) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are pleased to announce the launch of the 2013 “Design for UNICEF” Challenge.

The largest innovation for development contest to-date, the Challenge is open to CUNY’s 270,000 students, who will use their diverse skills to design innovative solutions to improve child survival globally. To be chosen by a panel of expert judges in September 2013, the top three teams will have the opportunity to travel to a developing country to test their project with UNICEF.

Globally, 6.9 million children die every year from causes that could be largely prevented with basic health care, adequate nutrition, clean water, sanitation, and education. Participating CUNY students are tasked with devising creative solutions to specific problems associated with the top killers of children worldwide—pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Their projects will contribute to A Promise Renewed, a global movement of individuals, civil society organizations, governments, private corporations, and UN agencies taking action to accelerate the decline of preventable child deaths.

UNICEF has consistently placed innovation at the centre of its work. From pioneering the use of radio for social mobilization in the 1980s, to the use of the RapidSMS system to instantly deliver healthcare information and results to community health workers, new and innovative technology has played a critical role in UNICEF’s child survival and development programs. Designed recently by a team of graduate students from New York University, Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification (RapidFTR)—a mobile application that helps aid workers collect, sort, and share information about children in crisis situations—has been deployed in South Sudan, among other emergency contexts.

CUNY is the nation’s leading urban public university. The university is located in New York and has more than a quarter of a million students from over 200 countries enrolled in degree granting programmes. With top faculty in 24 colleges and schools, more than 1,400 academic programmes, and 230 majors, CUNY supports cutting-edge research in a wide variety of fields, including environmental and health sciences, energy, computer science, and pure and applied sciences.

The Challenge will be open to teams of CUNY students across disciplines and will afford the opportunity for students to connect to global experts in development, academia, and the private sector, while gaining experience in proposal writing, open-source project design, and testing.


UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 1 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org

Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 1 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org




New enhanced search