Innovations for Poverty Alleviation (IPAL), a part of the Information Technology University in Lahore, has received $100,000 funding from UNICEF. The organization works on influencing social impact through the use of technology.
The investment is part of the UNICEF Innovation Fund, which aims to fund startups in emerging markets that are fighting the most pressing issues facing the world. A total of 5 companies have been funded in the current round, of which IPAL is one.
The other four are:
- SayCel from Nicaragua
- mPower Social Enterprises Ltd from Bangladesh
- 9Needs Pvt Ltd from South Africa
- Chatterbox Dating Mobile from Cambodia
A total of 650 companies applied for the funding and 40 will be chosen. The second round of applications is open till 1st January, 2017.
Through the help of the funding, IPAL will be working on using mobile technology to inform and help semi-literate fathers about the health of expecting mothers and newborns. Unicef says: “By using keypad numerical inputs, the caller will be able to navigate through various menus, tips, and stories, categorised according to pregnancy trimester and/or topic.”
Some of IPAL’s previous projects include:
- Har Zindagi, which aims to revamp immunization campaigns through use of low cost technology
- WaterATM, which is a clean drinking water system for communities
- AgriTube, which enables farmers by educating them about best practices and latest farming trends to maximize production
Chris Fabian, UNICEF’s senior adviser on innovation, said:
”The best of Silicon Valley is agility, flexibility and ability to take risks and the best of the U.N. and UNICEF is an ability to work strategically and at scale. If you can find a sweet spot in between that — if you can find a vehicle that combines risk taking with the ability to make those solutions take hold at a government level you can really make enormous change in the world.’