The United Nations launches hacking challenge to bring Nigerian voices to decision-makers

Hackathon to be held from 5-7 February 2018 will award 1 million naira to winner team

BONN, Germany, January 31st, 2018 – The United Nations SDG Action Campaign, in collaboration with Civic Innovation Lab, is calling on Nigeria’s best software skills to contribute to citizens’ engagement with the SDGs and bring the voices of Nigerians to the Government and the United Nations.

 “The SDGs are a new way of thinking and doing. They provide guidelines for how we can, and need, to do things more creatively, more effectively, and more inclusively. Nigerian developers and the innovation community have invested in helping their communities thrive and we want to provide the opportunity to transfer this innovative thinking into action for good, to solve the most important problems that we are facing right now. It is very exciting to bring this program to Nigeria for the first time, and we are convinced the results will have a tremendous impact locally and globally,” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

A hackathon to be held from 5-7 February 2018 in Abuja will bring together top innovative minds to design a tool, app or system to enable a more efficient roll out of the MY World survey across the country.

MY World is the UN survey that educates and mobilizes citizens on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and allows them to share their perception of progress made in their countries and regions on those goals of most immediate concern to them in the past 12 months. Through this data collection, the UN aims to create space for every citizen in the world to participate in the discussions and send strong messages to world leaders on what needs to be done to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

“Nigeria is fully committed to faithfully implementing the SDGs and ensuring that no Nigerian is left behind. In spite of the current economic realities, Nigeria has continued to commit funds to the SDGs to devise effective means of ensuring the SDGs are promoted and owned by peoples of the world”, affirmed Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Presidential Adviser on the SDGs, Government of Nigeria.

The winner of the hackathon will receive One Million Naira and a 3 months’ Community membership at the Civic Innovation Lab to develop the tool that will be used in the roll out of the survey across Nigeria and around the world. Participants can apply through the online application, open until February 1st, 2018.

“Engaging social innovators in tech to take action for the SDGs is key to achieving these Goals. Our collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign will enable the Nigerian community of designers, social innovators and entrepreneurs to collaborate effectively in addressing the country’s needs and join the global community of change-makers who are tackling the world’s biggest challenges”, said Adaeze Sokan, Director, Civic Innovation Lab.

ABOUT THE UN SDG ACTION CAMPAIGN

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030.

http://sdgactioncampaign.org/

ABOUT MY WORLD 2030

MY World is the UN survey that asks citizens if they are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, which six of the 17 Global Goals are of immediate concern to them and if the situation of these has got better, stayed the same or got worse over the past 12 months.

https://myworld2030.org/

ABOUT OSSAP-SDGS

The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) was established by the President of Nigeria with a mandate to coordinate national mobilisation, integration, implementation and reporting of the SDGs across levels of government. It also has the mandate to promote partnership and mobilise resources for the SDGs, working with multi-stakeholders including the private sector, civil society and international development partners. In 2017, the OSSAP-SDGs entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with the United Nations SDG Action Campaign.

http://sdgs.gov.ng/

ABOUT CIVIC INNOVATION LAB

Civic Innovation Lab is a social innovation hub focused on harnessing Creativity, Innovation, and Technology to solve our most pressing civic and government issues. We support technology solutions that enhance efficiency and effectiveness in public sector institutions as well as quality of life.

http://civicilab.com/

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Marta Rojas| UN SDG Action Campaign | marta.rojas@undp.org

Priscila Jordão| UN SDG Action Campaign  priscila@sdgactioncampaign.org

A new discovery tool for cutting-edge research on SDGs: the Sustainable Development Explorer

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are interconnected, and so is the work of United Nations University (UNU), which spans the full breadth of the SDGs.

About 400 UNU researchers are engaged in more than 180 projects to address complex global challenges, especially where different goals meet. To highlight which of those projects address each of the SDGs, UNU just launched a new tool that allows one to search its database of research, commentary, and multimedia: the Sustainable Development Explorer.

Available in English and in Japanese, the SD Explorer currently features 51 projects, 34 experts, 34 publications, and 50 expert articles, organised by SDG.

It offers visitors the opportunity to explore the “who” and “what” of UNU’s work, engage directly with UNU’s experts, and learn about how their ideas can play a significant role in promoting and supporting the SDGs.

To learn more about the SD Explorer, please visit: http://bit.ly/2FQrRwy.

UNLEASH searches 1,000 young talents to innovate for SDGs in Singapore

From May 30 to June 6, Singapore will be the host for UNLEASH 2018 and the second cohort of 1,000 young talents from all over the world, who will work on new, innovative and disruptive solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applications are open from January 15 – February 15, 2018.

The first UNLEASH took place in Denmark in August 2017. In November 2017, the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, handed over UNLEASH to the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during an official visit.

“Denmark kick-started this great initiative, and there is no better partner than Singapore to take over. The global SDGs carry the ambition to bring the world we live in closer to the world in which we wish to live. Singapore is known for its foresight, drive, and ability to take action. By passing on the host country torch to Singapore, I am sure that UNLEASH will take yet another important step forward,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

The talents will learn from Singaporean private and public sector, who will inspire the talents for their process through the four-day innovation challenge. The talents are put in teams and will work on solutions within their field of expertise.

“We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs,” said Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

At the end of the innovation challenge, the solutions will be perfected and pitched in front of a panel of experts before UNLEASH culminates on June 6, when the final awards show takes place and thought leaders from all over the world will give keynotes to inspire the talents’ way forward. Here the best ideas are also awarded and given prizes to further support the implementation of their solutions.

Applications will be open from January 15 – February 15, 2018. For more information, please visit www.unleash.org.

New podcast shares plan to make SDGs a reality – and we’re a partner!

Bold individuals are taking on the world’s most pressing challenges and changing the world, and their stories deserve to be told. That’s why we’re excited to join forces with the Global GoalsCast, a new podcast to inspire listeners to roll up their sleeves and make the world a better place!

As individuals, organizations and companies are contributing to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change and produce a more equitable world by 2030, we at the UN SDG Action Campaign are proud to be supporting a podcast that puts change-makers under the spotlight. By means of powerful storytelling supported by high-quality data, and offering different ways in which everyone can take action and personally contribute to progressive global efforts, we will assure that everyone can understand and engage with the SDGs.

From now on, you can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or any other platform you get your podcasts from!

Each of the 24 episodes of the first season, hosted by special advisor for Unicef Claudia González Romo and journalist Edie Lush, help make the SDGs more approachable.

In the first episode, titled “The World is on the Move”, listeners meet Brenda, a migrant from Mexico who as a fourth grader crossed the U.S. border at night with little but her parent’s dreams for her. Now, she works as a software engineer for Google. Her story shows that migration can be an economic powerhouse for the world and help drive global development.

Episode Zero” and a new episode on “Girls and Education” have just come out. The episode on education introduces Jeanette Monosoff-Haley, a Mumbai-based organizer working to support the education of some of the poorest children in India. Her efforts focus on small steps, like finding textbooks, uniforms and even a girls toilet. Development experts have identified keeping girls in school as a top priority.

On the 24th of January, an episode on climate change will be live casted directly from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos featuring Robert and Barney Swan, a father-and-son duo who trekked 600-miles across Antarctica using only renewable energy sources.

Two new episodes will be released every month until the end of the year.

Additional episodes include audio from Will.i.am, Malala, William Lacy, Louise Arbor, and President Obama. The podcast will also introduce listeners to new, authentic voices such as Dali (16) and Fin (14), from the clothing company Nalu, who are creating alternative ways to provide education access to all.

We’re delighted to help sharing such incredible efforts in achieving a more sustainable world as a partner!

Visit the Global GoalsCast website to listen to the first episode and subscribe to hear the next ones on iTunes. You can also follow the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Have a look at some of Robert and Barney’s trip to Antarctica:

SDGs, UNVR @ EDIT Toronto

From 28 September – 8 October, an abandoned ware house was transformed into a space for 35,000 visitors to learn about the latest the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the world-changing ideas that contribute to their achievement at the Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology  in Toronto.

The conference included 75 design projects, 125 speakers, 530 volunteers,  5500 student visitors, and 4 United Nations VR films produced by the UN SDG Action Campaign with a variety of partners. These films – Clouds Over Sidra, Waves of Grace, My Mother’s Wing, Nepal Earthquake Recovery — were integrated into Bruce Mau’s exhibition, Prosperity for All.

SDGs clearly present at World Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar: 14-16 November, 2017

The SDGs were a key focus for global education actors when they gathered at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and one of seventeen United Nations Secretary-General SDG Advocates, hosted and attended the Summit where world leaders called for urgent action to help young refugees and internally displaced youths. With more than 260 million children and young people out of school today, and only one per cent of young refugees able to access higher education, there were warnings that the SDGs will not be achieved if young people are denied quality education.

The EAA Foundation signed several new partnerships at the event, part of its commitment to address the global education crisis and enroll 10 million out-of-school children.

© WISE/ NigelDownes –
HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana

During the high-level plenary (watch here), the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is Co-Chair of SDG Advocates, told the WISE audience: “The spectre of tens and tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one. What do we expect them to do? What opportunities are available to them? How competitive can they be in this global economy? These are questions that must elicit a concerted and calculated response from the world’s leaders.”

 

Mr. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “Tens of millions of children are deprived of education. We cannot afford lost generations. No single child should be left behind. It is our moral duty to do more.”

The SDGs were also visible at the UN SDG Action Campaign booth, located in the EAA Foundation exhibition space. Visitors could learn more about the Campaign’s work and could show their commitment to the SDGs by obtaining stickers and taking selfies with the goals. By taking the MY World 2030 survey, which polls top SDG priorities and citizen perceptions on implementation progress, they could consider the SDGs in relation to their own lives. Through the use of virtual reality, attendees of the Summit were also able to step into the shoes of children affected by emergencies, seeing first-hand the ways an interruption to education can stymie young people’s progress. The Campaign showed the 360’ films, Ground Beneath Her and Clouds Over Sidra, which showcase young girls affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and the Syrian Crisis respectively.

“MY World and UNVR are not only tools to use with young people in education settings to capture the realities of young people though data and storytelling, but also amazing tools for use in the classroom,” said Ms. Kristin Gutekunst, who represented the UN SDG Action Campaign at the forum. “MY World helps young people learn the language of the SDGs and understand how they manifest in their own lives. UNVR helps them understand the complex interaction of the SDGs in different settings, and also inspires a connection to people across the world, sponsoring a sense of global connection.”

“The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned”

Join the conversation at the UNGA Side Event on “The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned” on 21 September 2017, hosted by UNDG.  Speakers include Heads of State/Government and Ministers from the Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Colombia as well as the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the UNDG Chair. Find more information here

Colombia pioneers the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the early days of SDG implementation, the Goals have proven to be a powerful driver of Colombia’s National Development Plan, the Peace Agreement, and local development plans.

In the department of Nariño on the Pacific coast, young people are overcoming adversities and inequalities. Here is their story on how rural entrepreneurship contributes to peaceful communities.

Chocó and Guajira are among the poorest departments in Colombia, but also home to some of the most biodiverse regions. Here, the 2030 Agenda brings an opportunity to plan a future where the environment is the basis for sustainable and inclusive growth.

The City of Montería has become one of Latin America’s greenest cities, linking green urbanism, transportation and renewable energy to the SDGs. Read more about Montería’s journey.

SDG 6 is coming to life – Korean professor invents device for safer drinking water

For the SDGs to come to life, it is often said that we need new ways of working, new partnerships and everyone to participate – not only governments and UN agencies.

Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim has embraced this message. Together with his team at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, he has developed a water purification device with the potential to change the lives of millions of people.

So how does the device work? As a specialist in soil and underground water contamination, Professor Kim has developed a membrane allowing the purification device to selectively remove water pollutants including pathogenic bacteria. This means purifying contaminated water to 99.9% drinking water. What’s more, the device can be easily installed in disaster-affected areas since its design allows water to flow through the membrane by manual pedaling, without any need for electricity.

Today, 663 million people are still without access to safe drinking water. To achieve SDG 6 local communities, researchers and business need to come together.

Through project “Ongdalsam”, or “Small water spring” in Korean, Professor Kim aims to engage with developing countries where climate change, rising sea levels and water-borne diseases caused by polluted drinking water is a threat to development. The project was first known across Korea when it was discovered in 2009 that the device could purify two liters of water per minute, providing drinking water to about 200 people a day. Since then the device has traveled to Sudan, Fiji, and Kiribati and soon to Tuvalu, where climate change is a threat to water security.

Global sustainable development requires more researchers and entrepreneurs to follow in Professor Kim’s footsteps.

SDG10: Reducing inequalities –
Early attention to the rights of girls and boys with disabilities in Mexico

In Mexico, an initiative on reduced inequalities focusing on children with disabilities has improved the lives of 12,000 boys and girls. So far, 350 caregivers in 9 states have been trained to improve the quality of care and to achieve the full development of children’s skills and abilities.

The Mexican Ministry of Social Development leads a Childcare Facilities Program for Working Mothers that includes 9,200 facilities and reaches 300,000 children in poverty-stricken homes; about 1.7% of whom have a disability. A while ago the UN carried out an analysis of the program, which showed that those in charge of caring for children with disabilities, mostly women, did not have the adequate training to detect developmental challenges, nor to provide caring that allowed the children to reach their maximum potential.

This is the background to a pilot initiative* that aims to increase the quality of care for children with disabilities. So far, 350 caregivers in 9 states have been trained, benefiting more than 12 000 girls and boys. Focus lies on early intervention. The idea is that attending to children with disabilities at an early age will foster the full development of their skills and abilities, give better opportunities to complete schooling and ultimately increase their prospects of leading a life as a fully empowered society member. Caregivers were also trained in human rights, diversity, inclusive planning of educational activities, accessibility and development of community support and networks.

All people may at some point in their life experience a disabling situation. It is a universal issue and is as such addressed throughout the SDGs. For these 12,000 boys and girls, the pilot initiative has meant real change and development. This is what the 2030 Agenda is about: implementing public policies that target the most vulnerable to ensure that no one is left behind.

*The pilot initiative “Model of care and inclusive care for children with disabilities in the framework of the Program of Childhood Stages to Support Working Mothers” is funded by the United Nations Fund to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and brings together UNDP, UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization/WHO. The project seeks to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed by the Mexican government in 2007.

Country-led progress on the SDGs – the journey of The Gambia

Only nine months ago, the Gambia stood on the verge of conflict. Yet since then, the leadership has launched a reform agenda towards a progressive democracy that addresses the needs of all its citizens. A new chapter has begun.

After 22 years of authoritarian rule, The Gambia is facing a unique opportunity for transition. The African Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals can be powerful levers for change as the government stands committed to achieving the SDGs.

25 November 2011, Nyangen – Girl explaining the meaning of the photo she has taken for the Participatory Photo Exhibition at the Reastitution. Boys and girls were asked to describe their village, its problems and its achievements using a digital photo camera.

For the Millennium Development Goals, the precursors to the SDGs, Gambia indeed made significant progress in several areas. Gender equality was one. In 2015, the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting was criminalized, placing The Gambia among 26 other African countries that have banned this nefarious practice. The targets on water and sanitation were met with over 85% of the population having access to clean water and sanitation. Child mortality was significantly reduced.

But unfinished business remains. Many mothers still die while giving birth and The Gambia aims at a maternal mortality ratio of less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 or sooner.

Almost one in three Gambians are vulnerable to food insecurity. To achieve SDG 2, the recently launched National Zero Hunger Strategic Review is identifying hunger gaps at all levels. This will be followed by regional consultative sessions throughout the country.

As a low-lying country, situated close to the sea, The Gambia is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to climate change. To adapt and mitigate the impacts, the government is implementing a series of actions. The Climate Change Early Warning Systems are being strengthened. Energy and environment concerns are being mainstreamed into national, regional, and local policies, strategies, programs, and plans. Disaster hotspots are being identified to enhance the resilience of coastal and vulnerable communities.

Key to all of these challenges is the younger generation. With a population of only 2 million, The Gambia accounts for a disproportionate number of people embarking upon the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in search for a better life. By August 2017, Gambians accounted for 5.6% (or 6 294 persons) of all arrivals in Europe from the Mediterranean, according to UNHCR.

The government is now developing a migration policy, through a participatory and inclusive approach, including youth organizations. But the Gambian youth must also see a peaceful, sustainable society with opportunities for decent work, access to education and healthcare to feel like they play are a role, are excited about and confident in the country’s future.

This is the moment for Gambia to scale up and gain momentum on what has been set in motion. If wholly-owned by the people, and led by the government, the SDGs can be a vital travel companion on their journey.

Join the conversation at the UNGA Side Event on “The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned” on 21 September 2017, hosted by UNDG.  Speakers include Heads of State/Government and Ministers from the Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Colombia as well as the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the UNDG Chair. Find more information here

SDG Action Campaign @ Media for Social Impact Summit

The UN SDG Action Campaign is excited to participate in the Media for Social Impact Summit, 14 September 2017 at the UNHQ in NY. Our Global Director, Mitchell Toomey will give a keynote address regarding Action for the SDGs, and Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of the UNVR project, will moderate an exciting panel: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Virtually Reporting the Realities of the SDGs.

The Media For Social Impact Summit is an annual event that unites representatives of leading media companies, advertising firms and creative agencies with high-level United Nations representatives and communication experts to highlight the power of media to drive social change and strategize campaigns around pressing global issues. Organized by the United Nations Office for Partnerships & PVBLIC Foundation, the summit showcases innovative social campaigns and movements through keynotes, interviews, case studies and roundtables and provides a unique opportunity for delegates to network and learn from the brightest minds in media and build lasting partnerships that further social progress.

We’ll be presenting with the following:

 

(3:30-3:40) How can the media support action on SDGs?

Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of UN SDG Action Campaign (Keynote Address)

(5.40-6.10) Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Virtually Reporting the Realities of the SDGs

VR, AR & MR are set to be mediums that effectively transform our world in the coming years. This panel will introduce VR as an impactful new tool for media. It will deep dive into the results of a successful UN integrative VR campaign and discuss how VR can democratize citizen journalism and access to training to spur activism for the SDGs through advocacy, education and training programs.

  • Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer, UN VR, New Media & Immersive Content, UN SDG Action Campaign (Moderator)
  • Frank Smyth, Executive Director, Global Journalist Security
  • Dimitri Moore, Video Producer & Digital Storytelling Coach, Digital Promise Global
  • Rachel Henderson, Communications Manager, Under the Net, UN Foundation
  • Jessica Lauretti, Head of RYOT Studio
  • Phoenix Eyre, Chief Executive Officer The Genesis Development Collaborative, Inc.

Support UNICEF Innovations new call for support for VR/AR

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.

Are you up to the challenge? Call for proposals: UNVR App

SUMMARY

We believe that virtual reality has the ability to unlock real potential for change. We have already witnessed the positive effects that early UNVR content has had on small groups via targeted screenings, and are now seeking to move our project to scale. That’s why we’re calling for the support of the international creative & tech community!

The UNVR project is seeking the services of an experienced team for the creation of an application that will host 360 video, and eventually room scale virtual reality content from across the UN system. This app will also be an environment to suggest ways to make impact, such as educational curricula, fundraising links, advocacy initiatives, etc.

To apply, please send a proposal to support@sdgactioncampaign.org by 31 August 2017. Extra consideration will be paid to those applications with reduced or pro bono suggestions. Please see the full terms of reference for more details below!

 

BACKGROUND

About Sustainable Development Goals https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs

In September 2015, countries ratified the new Global Sustainable Development Agenda, with the target of creating a better world for people and planet and leaving no one behind. Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent an unprecedented leap forward in the fight against poverty and inequalities, as well as in the struggle for environmental sustainability. The SDGs embody a universal, inclusive and transformative vision of development, which calls upon all Member States to ensure a life of dignity for all, leaving no-one behind. The realization of this agenda will require the existence of sufficient political will and the generation of an enabling environment for citizens to actively engage in the implementation, monitoring and review efforts.

This presents the opportunity for renewed energy for global action to build a more equal and peaceful world. In effort to build global awareness and people’s’ participation in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals between now and 2030, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign is working with innovative partners to capture the attention and imagination of people who might not otherwise be aware of major development issues in their countries or locally.

About the UN SDG Action Campaign http://un.org/sdgaction

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of UN Secretary-General, administered by the UN Development Programme and mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. With a proven track record since 2002, it empowers and inspires people across the world to take action in supporting their governments, building multi-stakeholder partnerships and leveraging cutting-edge communication technologies to bridge the gap and ensure a transparent dialogue between world leaders and their constituencies, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. Through virtual reality (UNVR), new and traditional media, and other immersive experiences, the UN SDG Action Campaign leverages new technology and creative storytelling to empower individuals to share personal anecdotes of the SDGs. These initiatives create a bridge of understanding, empathy and collective accountability for building a better world and achieving the SDGs by 2030.

About UNVR http://unvr.org

Since 2015, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign has coordinated the United Nations Virtual Reality Project, using the power of immersive storytelling to inspire viewers towards increased empathy, action and positive social change. The project unites the UN system’s immersive content under one brand and distribution system, allowing the system to mutually leverage each other’s expertise and to collaborate.  The films provide a deeper understanding for those living in the most complex development challenges, catalyzing urgency for those most in danger of being left behind if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not met. It highlights those already creating solutions to inspire a sense of shared responsibility and collective action, however small. It will seek to capture the common human experiences that individuals face and showcase UN solutions and results that are both uplifting and enduring. It will illustrate partnerships with government especially at the local level, and show how the UN helps meet national priorities through sustainable development. By sharing these VR experiences the SDG Action Campaign is hoping to inspire change that improves peoples’ lives and creates the world we all want.

Building upon its mandate to amplify the voices of those who are often unheard, particularly the world’s most vulnerable, the project will also work to build partnerships that empower storytellers with sharing their talents by connecting people from the diplomatic, tech and creative world to innovate upon how VR stories are created, shared, and used for impact. Through such partnerships, UNVR aims to ensure a diversity of voices are heard and empowered with the right technology and mentoring. It will also allow people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world, and hopefully to act to make a difference.

The Campaign created its first 360’ film in January, 2015. The project targeted decision makers primarily in the first phase of the Virtual Reality Project to spread awareness and create empathy; coordinating a series of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, and media moments to further elevate the critical issues it addressed. The films were screened at the most important diplomatic forums to use in high level advocacy and policy impact, shown to decision makers as encouragement for them step into the shoes of their constituencies & take bold actions, creating media attention and momentum.

The films have helped position the UN brand positively, showcasing the organization’s ability to lead in both innovative technologies and storytelling. It has spearheaded a shift in storytelling, amplifying the voices of the most vulnerable people who are in danger of being left behind, while allowing these individuals to tell their own story with dignity. Finally it has allowed the UN system to unite under one platform to share resources and address cross-cutting issues.

Initial findings from testing VR for fundraising have shown the ability to inspire large increases in face-to-face fundraising across a variety of different variables, including: increased propensity to stop and engage; increased inclination to donate after engagement; increased average donation value. Apart from this, it was also found that the VR experience enables access to better locations and venues so that more individuals can witness the content.

The Campaign has ambitious plans to package each of the films in different ways so that they may be used by a variety of stakeholders to continue to raise awareness and for the complex global issues highlighted, especially for young people around the world. In addition to showcasing the VR experience at high-level UN meetings, the SDG Action Campaign is working with partners to create advocacy platforms, awareness and fundraising campaigns. Films will be distributed widely to raise the profile of individual issues with the purpose of helping raise resources and to promote awareness, as we have seen with previous VR documentaries from the UN SDG Action Campaign.  

By partnering with leaders in the field of new technologies for education and communication, the Campaign wishes to develop kits and curricula so that the films may be used in classrooms across the world to promote understanding, empathy and critical thinking for young people – connecting them across the globe. Initial testing has shown that VR is an effective tool to build context, awareness and interest for understanding and discussing real world situations. Through an open sourced app and accompanying curriculum, teachers can use it as a guided learning tool, inspiring brainstorming on ways to create real change.

 

UNVR APP

The UNVR app will allow the UNVR project to move to scale, creating an tool for advocacy, fundraising, and education. The UNVR app will serve as a home for some of this select content and encourage people to take actions related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN produced films have traditionally lived on third party VR apps. The UNVR app will centralize the content being made into one platform, solving the critical need for a distribution method for the UN System. The app will include action-oriented messaging and links to complimentary campaigns so viewers can directly have an outlet for responding to the content.

In the future we foresee the project working as a distribution platform, and also a catalyzing agent to host educational information and curriculum, and to provide ways to take action on the issues contained within. It will serve as another critical open source tool for citizens around the world to easily contribute and campaign for the SDGs.

Criteria for first phase release

  • Display 360 VR video
  • Integrate audio formats for current content and Integrate dynamic audio formats such as .Mp3 and .tbe
  • Intro screen with multiple tour option, where user can select content/Scene by sliding the screen.
  • White labeled custom branding
  • Content to be categorised using a given taxonomy by UN Agency, region, SDG, topic and custom tags.
  • Keyword search for contents using the taxonomy and tags above.
  • In-app push notification functions.
  • ‘Sticky’ functionality for preferred placement in list for certain contents.
  • Click on title, thumbnail or short description brings audience to title page with more info with credits.
  • Hotspot option to display more info on the scene.
  • Click, GYRO and accelometer sensors based on app capabilities. When user gazes/clicks a link icon it should directly navigate to the content.
  • Users can navigate initially from device without HMD or while in HMD.
  • Universal access through WebVR or similar service.
  • Available on App stores for Google and Apple.
  • Action buttons after each video.
  • App will be dynamic for input from the UN which can be updated with new content from the UN side using specific style guides.
  • VR Analytics: Integrate with a 3rd party app provided by the UN that has normal analytics plus 360′ heat maps; advanced tech for emotional tracking to use head movements to decipher head movements and behavioral insights of users.
  • Supports branching narratives in 360 video.
  • Supports room-scale experiences.
  • Linked to SteamVR, Oculus and other non app or HMD specific storefronts.
  • Live streaming capabilities.
  • Multilingual capability for content and the app.

Criteria for next phase development (wishlist)

  • Supports branching narratives in 360 video
  • Supports room-scale experiences
  • Linked to SteamVR, Oculus and other non app or HMD specific storefronts

Format, branding

Appealing apps to model off of:

  • NY Times App
    • Positive: playlist capabilities, clean layout,
    • Negative: lacks an overarching search matrix of playlists, not easy to find new content in this layout
  • Within
    • Positive: new release notification on thumbnail. Download/stream buttons easy. Not easy to find content in this layout.
    • Negative: no further contextualized information listed
  • UNICEF 360
    • Positive: Donate button. Introductory video about the project, links to About Us Canada to drive towards further info.
    • Negative: lack of overarching info about the project and how it integrates into unicef – fragments UN messaging.

 

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  1. At least 3 years of demonstrated experience (sample work available on app stores) in developing apps for hosting content (preferably VR).
  2. Ability to design interactive user experiences that span across multiple app stores.
  3. Previous experience in working with the UN is highly desirable but not required.

 

DELIVERABLES:

  1. A VR app that will be supported for 1 year for maintenance after sign off on delivery by the UN.
  2. The application to be available on Apple, Android, VIVE, Oculus, Daydream and webVR.
  3. All source code and completed documentation handed over to the UN at the sign off off the project.
  4. All 3rd party servers and SAAS apps used  to be purchased (should be included in the financial proposal) for 1 year and credentials handed over to the UN at sign off.
  5. A detailed cost projection for 2nd year based on 3rd party servers and subscriptions used.
  6. Knowledge transfer of how to add new content and make minor UI updates such as adding new logos.

 

TO APPLY

Please send a detailed proposal to support@sdgactioncampaign.org with the subject: UNVR App Proposal by 31 August 2017. Proposals should address the listed qualifications and include a methodology, timeline, and supporting documentation that will help our consideration in choosing the best content proposal. Extra consideration will be paid to those applications with reduced or pro bono suggestions. During launch, a PR strategy will acknowledge the firm that produces the content, and proper accreditation will be paid as agreed.