UNICEF Convenes 38 Global Activate Talks on Innovation

Thirty eight Activate Talks took place in 2014 in countries around the world, focusing on innovation for children. The talks addressed a wide range of issues, from low-tech solutions to support abandoned children to the latest in wearable technology and its potential use in promoting child health. The talks culminated in a high-level event held at the United Nations to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UNICEF Malawi Celebrates 25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNICEF Malawi marked the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with two events involving experts and youth.

Some of Malawi’s most inspiring speakers gathered on Saturday 15 November for the second edition of TEDxLilongwe, with support from UNICEF Malawi, as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As this year marks the 50th anniversary of Malawi Independence, the speakers came up with innovative ideas to help shape the next 50 years. “50/50 Vision” was the theme around which discussions and talks were triggered. Watch highlights from the event here.

List of Speakers: Menes La Plume, Hastings Tchinga, Lily Banda, George Kalukusha, Dr. Perry Jansen, Jamie Stuart, Mark Bennett, Bram Fudzulani, Michael Phoya, Habiba Osman, Patrick Semphere, Bester Mulauzi, Dr. Chomora Mikeka, Dr. Govind Saha, Ulemu Msonthi, Blessings Mwale

On November 16th, a special TEDyouth event was held to recognize the youth bulge in Malawi (young people constitute the majority of Malawians.) In Lilongwe and other cities across the world, remarkable young people had their say under the worldwide theme ‘Worlds imagined’. UNICEF Malawi supported the event, as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which had “innovation” as its main theme. The young speakers at TEDYouth demonstrated new ways of achieving a future in which all children can exercise their rights. Watch highlights from the event here.

List of speakers: Menes La Plume, Hastings Tchinga, Rachel Edwards, Memory Champiti, Joanna Kachilika, George Kalukusha, Jamie Stuart, Kruger Nyasulu, Stephen Chiunjira, Alinafe Botha, Vitumbiko Kambilonje, Lily Banda, Jaco Jana, Happy Kavalo, Chisomo Daka, Kuyenda

Brazil Activate Talk: ‘Vamos Jogar’: Sports and Play Reimagined for Development

Play in all its forms is the right of every child and it needs to be guaranteed to all children and adolescents. Through ‘Vamos Jogar’ initiative, UNICEF Brasil and partners are reimagining the way communities and cities can leverage sports and play to facilitate the integral development of children and adolescents. Join UNICEF Brasil to hear more about what sports for development is and what it can be.

Moderated by Edith Asibey, National Chief of Communication and Partnerships of UNICEF Brasil, and include talks from:

  • Tim Pawlowski, Chair of Sport Economics, Sport Management and Media Research, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Rodrigo Mendes, social entrepreneur and president of Instituto Rodrigo Mendes
  • Orlando Dato, social educator and community leader in Rio de Janeiro

India Activate Talk: “Out-of-the-box thinking to end Open Defecation”

UNICEF India organized an Activate Talk in Delhi on 18 December 2014. The event focused on “Innovations to support ending open defecation”. Key note speakers approached the issue from different angles including public dialogue and advocacy, policy, equity and gender and youth engagement.

Just under half of the population of India does not use a toilet. Open defecation is prevalent among all socio-economic groups in rural India although the bottom two wealth quintiles practice it most. Children are born into an environment that contributes to stunting; to repeated episodes of diarrhea and worm infestations; and where girls face discrimination and lack of dignity as they enter puberty.

In the wider social context, too few have challenged the levels of complacency and passivity that exist in respect of prevailing social norms, that have resulted in India having the highest number of people globally who open defecate; some 595 million.  The Government of India is now prioritising sanitation under the Swachch Bharat Mission with calls for everyone to contribute to the Prime Minister’s goal of ending open defecation by the end of 2019. It is now that innovation is needed.



Nalin Mehta, Indian writer, social historian and columnist.



Anshul Tewari, Founder of Youth Ki Awaaz.

Online platforms as a tool to harness the power of youth to create social movements around sanitation.

Sonal Kapoor, Founder of Protsahan.

Innovative communication approaches to change mindsets about the practice of open defecation among children from deprived communities.

Jairam Ramesh, Indian economist and Member of Parliament representing Andhra Pradesh

The role of politicians as innovators and champions for sanitation.

Swami Chidanand Swaraswati, co-founder Global Inter-Faith WASH Alliance

From temples to toilets – the power of faith to influence sanitation behavior change.

Ms. L. S. Changsan, Indian Administrative Service, Mission Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan  – Education for All Campaign, Assam.)

Mass handwashing with soap in schools before the mid-day meal is part of the Government of India’s essential interventions for water and sanitation in schools with the potential to reach 110 million school children.

Skopje Activate Talk: Youth & Child Participation

A video of the event is available here. 

UNICEF and the Youth Education Forum brought together six local change makers at the UNICEF Activate Talks on Youth and Child Participation. Focusing on inclusion of children with disabilities, girls in ITC, youth in policy making, and more, the activists presented their unique ways on how young people are actively engaging to bring about change in their own lives and their communities.

 Moderated by Kristina Lelovac, the speakers included:

  • Marko Vidacek, Civil Journalist, Amateur Photographer and Artist
  • Alexander Matovski – Cako, Human Rights Activist
  • Marija Mircevska, Youth Education Forum
  • Arben Ristemi, National Youth Council
  • Jasmina Chashule, Trash Fashion
  • Valentina Taseva, Girls in ICT

Kino Frosina, Youth Cultural Centre, Skopje

27 November 2014 @ 11am GMT

London Activate Talk: Children’s Rights in Local Government

A video of the event will be available soon. 

On the 25th anniversary of the CRC, UNICEF UK’s Child Rights Partners programme convened an event on children’s rights in local government.

“Local authorities as child rights champions: transforming services, improving outcomes” explored the potential of a child rights-based approach as a tool for transforming policy and practice in public services. The Activate Talk marked the first anniversary of UNICEF UK’s innovative Child Rights Partners programme; speakers discussed innovative approaches for changing public services through a child rights lens to secure better outcomes for children and ensure children’s rights are promoted, respected and realised at the local level.

The event was chaired by Children’s Commissioner for England Dr Maggie Atkinson and featured the following speakers:

·        Bola Akinfolarin, Commissioning Manager at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, looked at improving outcomes for children and young people through child rights-based commissioning

·        Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People at Glasgow City Council, discussed the importance of securing a strategic, whole-local authority commitment to children’s rights

·        Heather Douglas, Early Years Manager at Glasgow City Council, talked about child rights and Early Years, with a focus on working with children and families in poverty

·        Deirdre Flanigan from the Scottish Human Rights Commission presented on human rights in practice with an example from adult health and social care

·        Tess Ridge, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath, talked about child poverty from a child’s perspective and the implications for local policy and practice

·        John Pinkerton, Professor in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast, discussed approaching children’s social care from a human rights perspective, with a focus on children leaving care

·        Catherine Makin, Project Manager – Health at The Design Council, presented on child-centered design in public services.


Kosovo Activate Talk: Youth and Adolescents in the Driver’s Seat

UNICEF Kosovo (UNSC1244) Programme is re-imagining the way youth and adolescents relate to the development agenda, equipping young people with methods, tools, and technologies to understand and solve challenges in their communities, and empowering them with the support, guidance, and resources to make their solutions real.

UNICEF Kosovo featured  young people who are driving change in their communities and the duty-bearers supporting their efforts:

Altin Ukshini – Free Libre Open Source Software Kosovo and Prishtina Hackerspace

Lander  Islami – Lokalizo

Albertina Monika – Say It

Peer Educators Network – Be a Man Project Representative

EU Activate Talk: “The Promise of Innovation: Saving and Improving children’s lives. Can innovation deliver?”

Emerging technologies and social innovations have changed our lives like never before. How can we leverage them for children in the developing world and in humanitarian crises? Can we find new, more effective ways to deliver assistance, to create opportunities, and to bring about equitable development? Preceding the 25th Anniversary of Convention of the Rights of the Child on 20 November 2014 and the launch of  UNICEF’s flag ship State of the World’s Children report on innovation, the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and UNICEF Brussels EU Office held an Activate Talk at the European Parliament.


Chair: Linda McAvan, Member of the European Parliament (Chair, European Development Committee)

Moderator: Philippe Cori (Director, UNICEF Brussels EU Office)


Speakers :

– Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director-General, European Commission, Directorate-General for Development & Cooperation (DG DEVCO)

– Henrike Trautmann, Head of Unit, Specific Thematic Policies, European Commission, Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (DG ECHO)

– Sharad Sapra, Principle Innovation Advisor, Head of UNICEF Innovation Centre, Nairobi, UNICEF

– Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation Hub, Department for International Development, United Kingdom (DFID)

– Louise Bloom, Research Officer, Humanitarian Innovation Project, Oxford University


Per video message:

– Dr. Hauwa Ibrahim, Human Rights Lawyer, Sakharov Prize Laureate 2005

– Mr. Christopher Fabien, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director: Innovation and co-Lead of the Innovation Unit, UNICEF

Mongolia Activate Talk: Child Helpline

On November 12, Mongolia held an  Activate Talk on the first-ever nationwide child helpline.

The nationwide toll free, 24/7 child helpline is a big step towards creating a comprehensive child protection system in Mongolia. The three-digit number established by the government in cooperation with World Vision, Mobicom (a telecom company) and UNICEF aims to reduce child abuse cases and strengthen the child protection system. Since the launch in June, 2014, 20 000 calls have been received and over 200 cases opened. The talk explored challenges and opportunities facing the helpline and discuss how adequate referral mechanisms and casework linked to this helpline are still needed.




Lawyer and Human rights officer, Human Rights Commission of Mongolia



Head of Social Work department, School of Educational Studies, Mongolian National University of Education

Ms Tsendsuren has done extensive research work on child protection, participation and development, and social work. She is a published author and contributor to dozens of books and research work on social work in practice, social work services in education, social work in juvenile detention centers, child helpline, case management and child protection.


Head of Child protection and services department, National Authority for Children

Mrs Javzankhuu has worked over 30 years in child protection organizations. She has served as an advisor to Deputy Prime Minister and contributed on drafting of several national laws on child protection, child rights and participation. She has worked on National report-2, 3, 4, and 5 on the UN Convention on the rights of the child.


Mrs Ulziikhand has a background  of  8 years of Child Protection  programming, advocacy and community engagement gained while working for two of the world’s best known NOGs /UNICEF & Save the Children/.  She is a dedicated member of the Global CP extended Team and Community of Practice of Child Right at World Vision International.



Director of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, Mobicom Corporation

Mr Dorjderem has worked at Mobicom, the first mobile phone operator in the country, since 2002. He is one of the key players in initiating and implementing the Helpline project.

Sudan Activate Talk: Innovation for Education and Child Protection

On October 20th, UNICEF Sudan convened a wide range of stakeholders in Sudan to discuss how innovative synergies across  different areas of work can be created to provide out-of-school and other vulnerable children access to quality education.

Moderated by Gaizka Mentxaka, the speakers included:

“Abandoning FGM/C in Sudan through positive messages” by Fatma Abdalla, A young Saleema Ambassador from Butri Community

“Harnessing the use of technology to educate the most vulnerable children”, by Kate Radford, War Child Holland

“Blind children have the right to education too”, by Yusra Osman, winner of the socialgoodsummit competition

“Positive Thinking”, by Torki Farhat, Co-Founder of SAY Foundation

“Giving vulnerable children a chance for Education”, by Mohamed, a member of the first generation of children enrolled in the ALP graduating from University.

A video recording of the event will be available soon!