Helsinki Innovators’ Summit Seeks to ‘Help Make Children a Part of the Solution’

Human Wrongs Watch

More than 500 leading thinkers from the technological, academic, corporate, development and humanitarian world convened on 9 November 2015 in Helsinki, Finland, for a two-day summit co-organized by the Finnish Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to explore new technologies to improve life for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Young people gather around to use UNICEF’s solar-powered Digital Drum, at Bosco Youth Centre in Gulu, northern Uganda. Photo: UNICEF Uganda/Yannick Tylle

“Technology and new ways of thinking can help us reach the most marginalized children faster and more efficiently than ever before,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt.

“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,” she added.

Start Up to Scale Up, the Global Innovations for Children and Youth Summit running today and tomorrow in the Finnish capital, aims to raise awareness of the potential impact innovations can have on improving children’s lives and rights; create new partnerships to advance and scale up innovative solutions for children; spur partner support to amplify high-impact innovations for children worldwide; and develop new localized innovations to help lift them 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, including social data; wearables for personal and planetary health; games and behaviour change; and the future of jobs and job training.

The two-day summit is held in collaboration with Slush – a start-up and technology conference held in Finland every year bringing together entrepreneurs and international investors. (Source: UN).

2015 Human Wrongs Watch

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