How assistive technology restores dreams for children with disabilities amid adversity and conflict

From a school in Rwanda, to a playground in Afghanistan where girls are no longer allowed to play sports, to a temporary shelter in Ukraine, and war-torn streets in Syria; from regaining the ability to hear and move, to recovering from the ravages of conflict; these children are united. They are united in the newfound hope and the dreams recovered…, icon Mobility assistive products, Our selection of eight wheelchair types– from transport, active users to postural support chairs, available in child and adult sizes – ensures that each user can be fitted with the right model and/or size based on their need and context. For additional comfort and support, a range of cushions –from postural to different levels of pressure…, icon Hearing assistive products, Our selection of five hearing aid types – programmable, behind-the-ear hearing aids, available in child or adult sizes, configurable to suit mild, moderate or profound hearing loss – ensures that each user can be fitted with the right type based on their need and context., icon Stay tuned for 2024, UNICEF plans to expand its catalogue by introducing a new range of assistive products ready for procurement in 2024, broadening the disability portfolio to vision, incontinence, inclusive education and digital AT products. To learn more about the transformative impact of these devices in the lives of children with disabilities, see last year’s…

Three ways UNICEF is innovating for children and unlocking their creativity

Children and young people need support to nurture their potential as innovators. They are also aware of the challenges their communities face. Cultivating their creativity and critical thinking skills is key to helping them develop their capacity to address these issues.  Through three different play initiatives, About UNICEF Supply Division…, Imagining the future and building it, brick by brick, UNICEF teamed up with the LEGO Group to launch Build the Change workshops across different countries and regions. Thousands of young innovators from Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt and New games awaken the creative spirit of children Madagascar joined this special collaboration to build a more child-friendly world using LEGO bricks. Children were…, Teacher Kong Kunthea, 29, guides children to share ideas and build solutions during the LEGO Build the Change workshop in Prey Chhrok Primary School, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia in September 2022. The workshops explored what child friendly spaces should look like and what products children who have fled conflict or natural disasters might need to…, UNICEF/UN0727453/Sells A schoolboy showing his work made with LEGO bricks. Egypt-MyDreamJob-2023, Chris William Abkar, 12, a South Sudanese student in Egypt shares his dreams of being a pilot. “I built something between a plane and a bike, I called it the ‘flying bike’. This will take me anywhere, in any country where I can have a beautiful big home and my family and I can live all together.”, UNICEF/Egypt/2022/CRS School children playing with LEGO bricks. Costa Rica-BuildTheChange-2023, During the LEGO Build the Change workshops in Costa Rica, teachers spoke to children about migration and the challenges facing children and families who leave their homes behind. Children shared their ideas and solutions, building shelters and homes to welcome children on the move., UNICEF/Costa Rica/2022/Howell School children having fun while playing with LEGO bricks. Madagascar-UN0763120-2023, School children from Ampefiloha Primary Public School, Antananarivo, Madagascar have fun while sharing their ideas to make a better world for children using LEGO bricks. Over 16,000 students participated in the LEGO Build the Change workshops organized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education of Madagascar., UNICEF/UN0763120/Ramasomanana A teacher and her schoolchildren playing with LEGO bricks. A schoolboy showing his work made with LEGO bricks. School children playing with LEGO bricks. School children having fun while playing with LEGO bricks., Repurposing cardboard into play for children’s recovery, One of UNICEF’s latest product innovation initiatives, Project Play Project Play, aims to repurpose packaging into toys to stimulate play among malnourished children. The project is already bringing smiles to children in Uganda, Pakistan and Sierra Leone during proof-of-concept testing that started in 2022. By including pre-printed and pre-cut…, UNICEF Uganda unveiling the new printed toys integrated into Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) packaging, developed through a collaborative co-creation process with suppliers that ensured no compromise on strength and minimum disturbance to production lines., UNICEF/Uganda/2022/Etia A child playing with her new cardboard toy. Uganda-ProjectPlay2-2023, A child at the Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, found an innovative use for the cardboard car-toy by turning it into a phone – creativity at its finest!, UNICEF/Uganda/2022/Nabisere Two caretekers playing with a girl. SierraLeone-ProjectPlay-2023, At Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, caretakers participating in UNICEF’s early child development program are encouraged to create a caring environment that includes play stimulation crucial for healthy growth and development., UNICEF/Sierra Leone/2022/Mason A mother playing with her son. Pakistan-ProjectPlay-2023, “My son liked it so much that he was folding and unfolding the animals constantly, his mind was completely engaged", says Sundai, a mother from the flood-affected area in Umerkot, Pakistan, as she smiles watching her 3-year-old play with cardboard toys., UNICEF/Pakistan/2022/Shuja Two volunteers unveiling the new printed toys. A child playing with her new cardboard toy. Two caretekers playing with a girl. A mother playing with her son., Creating sustainable toys for malnourished children, designed by children, Drawing inspiration from Project Play, "Play to Heal" competition: toys made by and for children from carton packaging UNICEF Burundi organized Play to Heal , a three-day competition for 100 children aged 5-15. This time around it was kids who became the creators of toys for other kids. The young minds were invited to design toys for the…, Children showing the best designs of their choice during the last day of the three-day toy-making competition in Burundi., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Santamaría A schoolgirl with the toy she made her win the first prize. Burundi-PlayToHeal2-2023, "The box can be attractive to younger children in several ways, including the colors, sticks and numbers. At the same time, the mother or caretaker can also use it to teach the child colors and numbers.” Ninzinza Nycia Josepha, 12, who won the first prize., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Amizero A boy surrounded by UNICEF staff showing a cardboard house. Burundi-Play-to-Heal6-2023, Justin, a 14-year-old child from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) sites, wins the 4th prize with his creative cardboard house: "The child will try to discover my house (the floor, the stairs inside...) through the doors and windows. Children love to play with houses, cardboard boxes are common in our communities, the child can also search…, UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Amizero Healthcare staff playing with a child in hospital. Burundi-PlayToHeal4-2023, Healthcare staff engages in playful cognitive stimulation with a child at Buyenzi Health Centre in Burundi. Toys made by the young creators are currently used for the stimulation of children under 5 years of age suffering from severe acute malnutrition at three pilot health centers in the country., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Heraty Children showing the results of a toy-making competition. A schoolgirl with the toy she made her win the first prize. A boy surrounded by UNICEF staff showing a cardboard house. Healthcare staff playing with a child in hospital.

Driving innovation in construction at UNICEF

Innovation is an important part of UNICEF’s mission to realize the rights of every child, especially the most excluded. UNICEF is a powerful force for social transformation and can help address a range of humanitarian challenges, including water and sanitation, health, education and child protection.   Construction at UNICEF UNICEF construction…, Reimagining education systems in Cameroon using digital learning tools, Many construction innovations developed by UNICEF are focused on modernizing or scaling infrastructure for education.   ‘Connect My School’, for example, was launched to provide access to digital learning opportunities and reinforce quality education for children in Cameroon. The initiative supports Cameroon’s national mandate to provide…, Residential solutions to create safe living environments in Mongolia, UNICEF’s construction innovations take many forms and support its programmes for children, including direct support for family housing.   In Mongolia’s extremely harsh winters, coal-fired stoves are used for heating in traditional Mongolian dwellings known locally as gers . Consequently, air pollution in Mongolia is caused mainly by coal burning…, Innovative construction materials address multiple community needs, UNICEF’s innovation initiatives often take system-based approaches to devise solutions to development or humanitarian challenges. For construction, this frequently means the use of innovative materials.   Côte d’Ivoire faces a severe and mounting waste management issue. The province of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste daily, 90 per cent…, UNICEF construction: essential role in the success of our product innovations, For health systems in many low- and middle-income countries, the COVID-19 pandemic turned an existing oxygen gap into a crisis. The innovative Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box saves the lives of children suffering from pneumonia UNICEF’s Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box is an innovative emergency solution that produces enough medical-grade oxygen to treat up to 50…

A SPRINT during the pandemic to stop pneumonia

When we think of hospitals, what may first come to mind is bright florescent lit hallways, the beeping sounds of heart monitors, cabinets filled with antibiotics and medicines, and plastic tubing of free-flowing oxygen hooked up to patients. In most regional or city hospitals across the world, this essential equipment and medicines are readily…, 1 - The tools of oxygen, Ensuring access to oxygen therapy is not the simplest of feats. Medical oxygen first needs to be concentrated, either chemically extracted from the ambient air (i.e. via an oxygen plant or concentrator) or vaporized from a liquid form and then either stored for transportation (i.e. via oxygen cylinders) or directly provided to patients (i.e. via a…, 2 - The right way to provide oxygen  , Purchasing equipment is only one part of the puzzle. There’s immense planning required to ensure the equipment is of the correct type, size and amount, and that there are maintenance plans in place, sufficient power available, and that people are trained to use the equipment properly. The photos below display three key programming pieces that…, 3 - Amoxicillin dispersible tablets - the treatment, When a patient becomes severely ill or suffers respiratory distress, oxygen is crucial to keeping the person stable and well enough to receive a medical treatment. However, this usually does not resolve the underlying condition. For pneumonia, antibiotics are needed to stop the infection of the lungs and fend off the disease. For children, the…, So, what is “SPRINT?”, SPRINT doesn’t focus on creating any new products or devices, but instead works to ensure access to already proven treatment to pneumonia. It’s a structured approach to implementing oxygen therapy and amoxicillin DT, consisting of first identifying the key bottlenecks and secondly utilizing existing knowledge to overcome these bottlenecks.   The ‘…

Oxygen and COVID-19: UNICEF’s global, rapid and multi-faceted approach

This year’s World Pneumonia Day is a critical time to reflect on how to stop children dying from pneumonia. The notorious virus of 2020, COVID-19, when severe, can lead to pneumonia where lungs become inflamed and filled with liquid, making it difficult, if not impossible to breathe. But pneumonia isn’t a new emergency; it takes the lives of 800,…, The many ways to supply medical oxygen, Graphic displaying four different oxygen sources: Cylinders, oxygen concentrator, oxygen plant and liquid oxygen A key part of UNICEF COVID-19 response has been delivering oxygen concentrators, devices that take in air from the environment, remove nitrogen, and produce a continuous source of oxygen. As of 11 November 2020, UNICEF delivered 15,188…, How UNICEF is supplying oxygen globally, The response has truly been global, rapid, and multi-faceted. UNICEF is supplying medical oxygen to over 90 countries to help fight COVID-19 and keep children and newborns with pneumonia alive.   In Peru , UNICEF is providing oxygen concentrators to help indigenous communities Two men inside a warehouse with oxygen concentrators in the background…, An oxygen response established before the pandemic, Through pneumonia-focused initiatives, UNICEF had the groundwork in place before the pandemic, which has enabled the organization to expand its oxygen response during the pandemic. For example: Under the Oxygen Therapy Project , the WHO-UNICEF technical specifications and guidance for oxygen therapy devices inter-agency guidance manual for…, Continued investments for oxygen, On this World Pneumonia day, UNICEF is asking governments, donors and partners to amplify efforts to bring life to those fighting for breath.   Oxygen is an answer. The commodity is complex, but solutions are out there - whether it be installing or refurbishing PSA plants, providing liquid oxygen or distributing oxygen concentrators. And the world…