How can the FinTech Sector help Unicef’s work for children?

Katherine Crisp, Head of Strategy and Innovation, Unicef UK

You might not necessarily associate Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation, with the FinTech community, but we are increasingly looking to the private sector to partner with us on developing innovative solutions for children.

At Unicef, we believe that doing good is good business and that the technology sector’s focus on emerging markets can deliver expanded profit alongside social impact for women and children.

The ability to send, save and receive money easily is at the core of the global economy. Mobile technology and digital currencies can make these transactions faster and more efficient. Yet 2.5 billion, or half of the world’s adult population, remain unbanked and this obviously has an impact on children.

In the current European refugee crisis, there is a real need for technological solutions to the challenges children face. Technology is a means of enabling youth participation, providing real time information for decision making and achieving financial inclusion.

Many of the refugees arriving in Europe have smartphones. Among the first questions they ask upon arrival is where they can get WiFi and they are increasingly using it to access information about where they are, where they can go and what services are available.

Unicef has a role to play to ensure that young people can get access to the information they need to excel wherever they might be and financial services are certainly a part of this. Information poverty has a real and substantial impact on children both in the refugee crisis and around the world, and we are constantly looking to identify, prototype and scale technologies that can provide a solution to this.

In addition, a really important part of Unicef UK’s work is to raise money for children around the world. Yet in the UK the world of charitable giving is changing fast and as we move closer and closer to a cashless society we need to adapt our donation channels to ensure we continue to raise vital funds for the children who need us most.

This is why we have set the challenge at the Jam for Good session of asking participants to think about how Unicef UK can replicate the frictionless mobile donation experience of SMS in a digital age. Posing questions such as how can we build on new and existing behaviours and activities, such as the use of messaging technology like WhatsApp, and also continue to communicate with supporters to build their commitment to our cause through new and developing technologies.

I am excited to see the solutions that the developers, designers and innovators develop over this weekend.

Please join us on Monday for a panel on Technology and the Refugee Crisis, and as we announce the winners of the Jam for Good Session.

We look forward to seeing how the FinTech sector can help our work for children around the world.

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