REPOST: Our friends at the UNICEF Innovation Fund have released a call for proposals. Deadline is 17 September. Brief summary below, and full posting here: http://unicefstories.org/vr/.
The Innovation Fund allows UNICEF to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives. Financial and technological support is available for companies that can show a strong founding team and a clear path to improving the lives of children.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for start-ups that are developing and piloting new open source VR/AR solutions. We are looking to make investments in 1) software for authoring or consuming these new realities, 2) platforms and ways providing wider access to that software, 3) platforms and ways providing better tools for content creation (such as a template, workflow, or format), and 4) particular applications of content.
For our next VR/AR cohort of investees we are particularly interested in the following applications of content:
Learning Teaching people to perform simple tasks, in many languages, with higher retention rates and better motivational levels (examples: how to install a water pump; how to recognize malnutrition in under 5-year-olds; how to teach seamstresses to perform simple procedures). VR/AR also presents new ways of increasing access to experiential learning, including for people with disabilities.
Understanding complex environments Accessing large amounts of data and deciphering them in a better way. Getting a simple picture from a complex collection of data points (examples: converting history of GIS data points from refugee camps into a VR environment for better planning; improving situational awareness for emergency responders).
New ways of storytelling Undiscovered ways of using VR/AR to tell a story, especially by bridging cross-cultural gaps and creating a dialogue.
Be daring: Applications to the Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. However, to be considered for the VR/AR-focused cohort, we ask you to submit your application by September 17, 11:59pm EDT.
Professionals developing world class innovation discuss the real potential of virtual reality and new media and the challenges that lay ahead: How do we make sure it brings a positive impact to global issues.? How can we bring it to everyone and really use it to help the people who need it the most?
Friedrich Kurz, General Manager Social Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, Marisol Grandon, CEO of Untold Stories, Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of UNVR, UN SDG Action Campaign, Wilfried Runde, Head of Innovation Projects at Deutsche Welle join the discussion at the SDG Live Stage of the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development.
To convey the stories of the most vulnerable people in the world and bring them home to the decision makers and global citizens around the world, pushing the bounds of empathy, the UN SDG Action Campaign has coordinated the United Nations Virtual Reality Series since 2015.
The 71st regular session of the United Nations General Assembly met this past September, which also coincided with the High Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. In an effort to raise the voices are those most in danger of being left behind, the UN SDG Action Campaign brought two immersive technology experiences to the UN Secretariat Building, highlighting some of the most complex global challenges the UN faces. The particular focus on refugees, displaced people, and migrants allowed diplomats direct access and a deeper understanding of their everyday realities.
Above: Haider al Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq speaking to Waleed, a young boy displaced from Mosul by violence now living in the Harsham IDP Camp. Below: Ewan MacGregor, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF poses with Mirna, young girl he met on his last visit to the Camp in Erbil.
The United Nations Virtual Reality film series and Portals immersive experiences enables people to access locations and situations they would otherwise never experience, providing context for some of the most complex issues the UN is striving to mitigate. By doing so, the Campaign hopes it will help transform understanding of critical global issues that must be addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals into a medium that is instantly empathetic and universally relatable.
Throughout the course of the week, Delegates were able to watch several films on the newly launched UNVR app (available at www.UNVR.org) about the everyday realities of refugees. Filmed in the Zaatari Camp in Jordan, Clouds Over Sidra recounts the new normal for a young girl from Syria, and Born Into Exile by UNFPA highlights the importance of providing safe births for mothers, revealing the amazing statistic that zero mothers have been lost at the camp. Beyond the Lake recounts the harrowing experience of a woman escaping violence in Burundi who is able to start a new life in the DRC through the support of UN Women safe spaces. UNOCHA also previewed Home, a new film documenting the UN Secretary-General’s humanitarian tour, highlighting the plight of refugees living in Lebanon, Syria and the DRC.
Delegates further had the opportunity to have full-body conversations with individuals living these realities, in real time, through the UN Portal, curated by the Campaign, Shared_Studios, and Bridges of Understanding. It is part of an international project with countless locations around the world by Shared_Studios. The UN Portal connected to the Harsham IDP Camp in Erbil, curated by UNICEF Iraq, allowing delegates to speak to young Iraqis displaced by fighting in Mosul. It also connected to a refugee resettlement home outside of Berlin, where delegates could speak to people from Chad, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria in varying stages of asylum seeking, and to young people at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan with Turquoise Mountain Institute. In the afternoons, the UN Portal connected to Mexico City with an NGO called Proyecto Habesha that is supporting Syrian refugees in coordinates higher education degrees in Mexico.
This exhibition was made possible through the political support of the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of Germany, the Government of Iraq, and the UN Department of Information.
The Campaign also shared the space with UNICEF’s Time Machine, an installation that translating childhood memories from data into unique sound – giving visitors and delegates attending the UNGA an opportunity to understand the data on children currently available and areas that fall short.
During the Second World Human Rights Forum, the National Observatory of Child Rights in Morocco (ONDE) and the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) organized a high level panel discussion on strengthening participation of people, particularly children and youth, in defining the UN sustainable development agenda. The forum took place in Marrakesh from 27-30 November 2014, building on the first World Human Rights Forum held in Brasilia in December 2013.
It was a memorable occasion as more than 7,000 human right activists from all over the world gathered in Marrakech. The ONDE and UNMC panel discussion during the Forum featured a statement by Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of UNDESA. “This event has come as a very timely occasion as we are in the midst of a process to define a new sustainable development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. It is both a great opportunity and a huge responsibility for the United Nations and the rest of the international community.”
Ravi Karkara, co-chair of the Policy Strategy Group for the World We Want 2015 (WWW2015), commended the government of Morocco for bringing together human rights activists and sustainable development practitioners to discuss the post-2015 development agenda. He called for establishing partnerships with children and young people, and for accountability panels in the implementation and monitoring of this agenda.
The Forum also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC). The legendary Olympic gold medal runner Saïd Aouita participated in a five kilometer road race to draw attention to the need to fulfil the human rights of the most marginalized boys and girls.
Juan Chebly, Coordinator of the World We Want 2015, highlighted the importance of social inclusion and participation in building a sustainable development agenda with human rights at its core. Jasmine Jaruphand, Programme Coordinator of UNMC called upon children and young people to strengthen their participation in the MY World 2015 Survey and invited them to participate on the online discussions on the WWW2015.
Susan Alzner, Officer in Charge of the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) New York, called for strengthening of civil society organizations worldwide and drew attention to their pivotal role in ensuring a well-defined, people-centered sustainable development agenda and holding governments and the private sector accountable.
On the occasion of the 25 year anniversary of the UN-CRC, Dr. Mustapha Denial emphasized that the rights of the most marginalised boys and girls, including children with disabilities, indigenous and minority children, must be respected, protected and fulfilled. Najib Somoue of ONDE expressed the National Observatory’s commitment to realizing the human rights and an inclusive sustainable development agenda in Morocco.
Echoing the sentiments from this panel discussion, Ms. Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared at the closing ceremony of the Forum, “We want to see people at the center of all decision-making for policy that affects them. Listening to civil society is more urgent and indispensable than ever.”
Najib Somoue, ONDE
Juan Elias Chebly, WWW-2015 Coordinador: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kansas City, MO (August 6, 2014) For the first time, the United Nations is allowing people to have a direct say in shaping a better world, and Children International is helping the nearly 340,000 impoverished children and youth it serves take advantage of this opportunity.
The UN has created two platforms – “MY World” and “The World We Want 2015” – with a specific version of the latter for children under 18 called “The World Children Want.” These platforms allow people to voice their opinions about what should be a priority for the global development process starting in 2015, at which point the UN’s Millennium Development Goals will expire. The UN has been working with governments everywhere to define the next global agenda to address extreme poverty and preserve the planet. The quantitative data from “MY World” and the qualitative data from “The World We Want 2015” will continue to inform these processes and be used by decision-makers around the world.
Children International is making sure that the hundreds of thousands of young people living in the impoverished communities it serves are able to have their voices heard by the UN through the “MY World” and “The World Children Want” surveys. Children International computer labs are available in 10 countries for children to fill out the surveys online, and Children International staff and volunteers are also assisting children and youth with paper ballots. Several of Children International’s locations will have the children and youth fill out the surveys as part of their International Youth Day activities on August 12.
Somnath, a Children International sponsored youth from India who recently completed the “MY World” survey, said, “It means a lot to fill in this survey. I am so overjoyed and excited …It’s an opportunity for me to make myself heard and my opinion matter.”
Rukshar, a Children International sponsored youth also from India, said, “It is important to listen to the voices of children and youth because the policies being made for the future concern us, and it is sensible to take into consideration our opinions and concerns to get a holistic view.”
Children International prepares children and youth to escape the traps of poverty by supporting their critical needs, building resilience and engaging them in transformative activities. Children International accomplishes this by providing crucial benefits and compassionate care through easily accessible, modern community centers. Children International’s presence, programs and supporters have a positive impact on children, youth, families and communities; provide protection; encourage self-sufficiency; and serve as catalysts for change.
During the MY World Global Week of Action (May 5-11, 2014) the adolescent and youth organization Yuwalaya coordinated with the UN Resident Coordinator Office of Nepal and various other youth organizations and schools to raise awareness and votes in Nepal. Through their joint efforts, they were able to collect more than 15,000 votes – doubling the amount from the previous year.
Yuwalaya coordinated with more than 50 youths from various colleges and youth clubs of Kathmandu to do the survey. The volunteers were honored by the United Nations Nepal Resident Coordinator’s Office at the UN House in Lalitpur on Tuesday, 17 June for their contribution to the survey.
As the world gears up to decide on the next set of global development goals, girls from across Rwanda are making their voices heard.
Last week, Girl Hub Rwanda’s Ni Nyampinga girl ambassadors helped 80,000 copies of the MyWorld Survey – the UN’s public consultation on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – reach youths in every corner of the country.
“Girls across Rwanda are leading the charge to amplify youth voices in the post-2015 agenda,” said Amina Mohammed, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on post-2015 development planning.