Columbia University and UNICEF awarded top honour in USAID innovation competition
WASHINGTON, DC, 8 January 2009 – Columbia University and UNICEF received the first-place award in the ‘Development 2.0 Challenge’ of the US Agency for International Development. The award was for an innovative system designed to monitor children's health and nutritional status in Malawi.
“This is a perfect example of UNICEF’s vision of convening the world’s experts in acadaemia, private sector and civil society to leverage their knowledge and create solutions which help achieve lasting results for children,” said UNICEF’s Director of Communication Dr. Sharad Sapra.
Six graduate students from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs will work closely with teams from UNICEF to finalize an open-source, ‘RapidSMS’ system, which uses basic mobile phones and text messages to collect information from health workers and improve the speed and quality of data collection.
This data will empower the Government of Malawi, UNICEF and other partners to map and track child malnutrition trends accurately and in real time. The tool will provide a critical means of intervention into rapidly unfolding food and nutrition crises.