UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund invests in emerging economies to boost ECEC

by Freya Lucas

June 22, 2020

Eight technology companies will benefit from investment from the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund (Cryptofund) to solve local and global challenges, with two of the projects directly benefiting children who are engaged in early childhood learning experiences. 

 

The chosen projects are from seven developing or emerging countries, and have been selected based on having previously received up to $100,000 from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, with the Cryptofund injection being given to continue the development of their open-source and digital public goods.

 

Within the scope of their technology, several investees are working to mitigate the hardships of COVID-19 on children and youth around the world by collaborating with national governments and local partners to send vital messages on COVID-19, track the effectiveness of rice delivery to vulnerable communities, improve children’s literacy through remote learning, treat pandemic and isolation-related anxieties, and other vital solutions.

 

Chris Fabian, Senior Adviser and Co-Lead of UNICEF Ventures, said the digital world is “coming at us” more quickly than could have been anticipated, and that UNICEF “must be able to use all of the tools of this new world to help children today and tomorrow”. 

 

Afinidata, based in Guatemala, will use the funding to  further develop its AI-based app to provide parents with personalised early childhood educational activities, while Cireha, who operate from Argentina is scaling the reach of its accessible app in three countries to help more children with speech impairments communicate using symbols.

 

Selected from almost 40 start ups that have graduated from the UNICEF Innovation Fund, the eight companies who received additional funds have undergone technical evaluations, quality assessments of their open-source tech solutions, evidence of impact and more. They join three other grantees that received the Fund’s first cryptocurrency investment last year.

 

Along with the funding, investees receive business growth mentorship, product, and technical assistance, open-source and UX and UI development, access to experts and partners, as well as opportunities to showcase their solutions.

 

Both the UNICEF Innovation Fund and CryptoFund currently have an open call for blockchain solutions to apply for funding (up to $100,000 and cryptocurrency combined) and mentorship. More details are available here.

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