|9 November 2015| 

Over 500 leading thinkers are gathering in Helsinki today to look at how technologies can drive change for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Key figures from the technological, academic, corporate, development and humanitarian world will work together to progress ideas and projects which can help those in need.

“Technology and new ways of thinking can help us reach the most marginalised children faster and more efficiently than ever before,” said Yoka Brandt, UNICEF deputy executive director. “Sharing innovations with children and making them part of the solution can help us turn cycles of poverty into cycles of prosperity and progress, not just for them but for their communities and nations.”

Organised by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and UNICEF, ‘Start Up To Scale Up’ is the first global summit on innovations for children and youth. It aims to raise awareness of the potential impact innovations can have on improving children’s lives and realising their rights by create new partnerships to advance and scale up innovative solutions for children. It will also work to activate support from partners to help amplify proven, high-impact innovations for children worldwide; and develop new localised innovations that will help lift children out of poverty.

“We are happy to host this event in Helsinki,” said Lenita Toivakka, Finnish minister for Foreign Trade and Development. “Finland is repeatedly listed as one of the world’s most innovative economies. We strongly believe that in order to find solutions to the pressing problems children are facing and to implement the global sustainable development agenda we need new ways of thinking and doing development cooperation, increased investments in innovation, and maybe most importantly, improved commitment to partnerships in doing so.”

Participants will examine which opportunities from the technological and private sector can have the biggest impact on children over the next five years, how a more connected world can deal with more frequent emergencies, how wider connectivity affects learning, and how to prepare a more resilient planet.

They will also explore emerging areas such as: social data; access to information through satellite infrastructure; wearables for personal and planetary health; games and behaviour change; the role of entertainment and media in scaling up innovations for children; learning in 2020 and beyond; and the future of jobs and job training.

The summit is held in collaboration with Slush, a start-up and technology conference held in Finland every year bringing together entrepreneurs and international investors.


*In Burundi, UNICEF installs digital drums in schools, children’s centers, and youth centers. These small computers function like virtual classrooms. They contain lessons according to the Burundian curriculum and all appear in a child-friendly way, through video, text and audio recordings. Here, a girl uses a digital drum in Cibitoke, Bujumbura.