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First ever UNICEF Mobile Hackathon in Viet Nam Rewards Innovation for Children

We believe in the power of innovation to tackle major challenges and change millions of lives in Viet Nam for the better, says UNICEF

Viet Nam, 30 June 2013 – A 36-hour UNICEF Mobile Hackathon in collaboration with mLab East Asia, focusing on innovation for children, concluded today in Ho Chi Minh City.  Over 100 app developers participated in the event, making up 31 competitive teams including two traveling from Hanoi and DaNang.

“The quality of teams participating in this competition is higher than any previous Hackathons that mLab has organized, resulting in impressive ideas and applications. We are committed to bringing the winning ideas to the market and making real impacts to children lives,” said Tran Tuan Anh, founder and director of mLab East Asia.

The mobile hackathon focused on two main challenges: 1) increasing access to information, healthcare and nutrition for women during pregnancy and until her child is two years old, and 2) building a marketplace for socially responsible tourism that is beneficial to children. Both challenges had winner prizes of VND 10 million ($500) and runners-up prizes at VND 5 million ($250). CUCCUNG.VN took home the first prize for the first challenge and the runner-up prize went to ITEK NOT.  For challenge 2, OCEAN 4 took home the first prize and NEWWAY was the runner-up. mLab and Nokia, each have committed additional funding of up to VND 120 to 140 million to the winners or other teams as conditional prizes to assist them to further develop their solutions for UNICEF during the research and development phase. In addition the distribution channel for disseminating the app freely to the intended users of the health and nutrition application has been offered to be subsidized by Nokia Viet Nam. 

"UNICEF in Viet Nam is opening its doors to the mobile community to partner with us on finding innovative solutions to traditional problems. We believe in the power of innovation to tackle major challenges and change millions of lives in Viet Nam for the better", said Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Viet Nam Representative, ahead of the event.

“The mLab in Viet Nam,” says Valerie D’Costa, Program Manager of InfoDev (World Bank), “is one of the nodes of infoDev’s global mobile network.  We believe that the mLabs are a key ingredient to grow competitive mobile app industries, bridging barriers for early-stage entrepreneurs that address real-world problems, including those impacting children addressed by the UNICEF mobile Hackathon.”

Viet Nam alone has over 130 million subscribers or 139% mobile penetration and over 60% of them are rural inhabitants. The rapid telecommunications growth and coverage has facilitated the uptake of mobile devices in these communities, including the use of mobile and SMS applications in the daily routine. The UNICEF  Hackathon is an effort to develop a working demo mobile app that can then be freely distributed through open-source platforms that can used by both relief/aid workers and mobile device consumers (primarily at the base of the economic pyramid).  Should the mobile apps be successfully piloted in Viet Nam, they can be scaled in the Asian region which claims over 3 billion mobile subscribers (82% of the population), which could represent significant impact for UNICEF and its beneficiaries.

A new regional lab for mobile innovation entrepreneurs, mLab was launched in September 2012 by business and government leaders in Ho Chi Minh City. It is supported by infoDev, a global programme in the World Bank Group focusing on technology entrepreneurship and innovation, and financially backed by the government of Finland, in partnership with Nokia. mLab East Asia aims to establish the region as a mobile innovation hub that will boost added-value jobs and tackle economic and social needs.


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:

For more information, please contact:

  • Mr. Nguyen Thanh Viet, UNICEF Viet Nam, Tel: 08 3281 9413. E-mail:
  • Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, UNICEF Viet Nam; Tel: 04 3942 5706 ext 401. Email: 



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