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UNICEF South Asia is Saving Children Lives through Innovations

New Delhi, 29 October 2013 – UNICEF South Asia is using innovation to save children lives across South Asia. Innovations involve the use of new technology, and often involve the application of new ideas, which the organization is piloting on a small version, and then scale them up exponentially with government and partners.

"If we want to reach every child, everywhere, then we need to do things differently, and using innovation as a means to do things differently indeed,' Karin Hulshof, the UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, said.  "I'm not only thinking about the electronic and the digital era, I'm also talking about simple things we can do differently."
UNICEF has realized that it needs to be at the forefront of trying new ideas, collaborating with new partners, and creating systems that can help most vulnerable children and women.

In South Asia alone there are eight UNICEF country offices where the organization sees dynamic staff members pushing the limits of how they can do their jobs better, more efficiently to help achieve results for children. South Asian recent success stories include:
Saving mothers and infants in India's Madhya Pradesh state.

UNICEF has piloted a series of interlinked interventions in two districts with high maternal and infant mortality rates. It is ensuring that women give birth under medical supervision and getting the care they need. Five years on, the impact has been so dramatic that these districts have recorded the lowest maternal mortality rates in the entire state. UNICEF is working with the authorities to replicate these interventions elsewhere, and other Indian states have already come to Madhya Pradesh to copy and adapt this approach in order to save children lives in their own states.

Storing safe drinking water in Bangladesh

For half the year - during the monsoon - the people of coastal Bangladesh have too much water. But for the rest of the year it is hard for them to find anything safe to drink. The rivers and ground water are heavily saline, and there is no rain water to collect. Working with scientists from the Netherlands and Bangladesh itself, UNICEF has now come up with an ingenious solution to this problem. By pumping rain water into the aquifers underground during the monsoon, a large supply can be safely stored until the dry season, when it can simply be pumped out again. Since 2010, 20 test sites have been established, and in September 2013 the Bangladesh government agreed to extend the project to 100 locations in total.

The school-led sanitation campaign in Nepal

The Nepal government has set 2017 as the target for making the country 'open-defecation free,' and UNICEF is supporting community efforts to persuade people to build and use toilets. This is not simply a question of resources, but about persuading people to change their behaviour, which is a hard thing to achieve. UNICEF is now encouraging, and helping, school children to play a leading role in tackling this issue. The idea is not only to make schools cleaner and healthier places, but also to support the children into becoming 'change agents,' who can spread the appropriate messages among their relatives and neighbours.
UNICEF's role as a leading innovator has been recognised by TIME magazine, which named members of its innovation team in New York as being among the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.

For further information, please contact:
Jean Jacques Simon, UNICEF South Asia, +91 9910532314, Email:

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