Spotlight: Inspiring Solutions That Save Lives & Support Development – 2016 Edition

Launched: October 2016

This story first appeared on

As digital technology is constantly evolving, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play significant role in improving the quality and efficiency of humanitarian aid and development work. Humanitarian actors rely on tools that foster effective communication in order to support effective programming and satisfy the need for information, which exists amongst those affected by humanitarian disasters.

UNICEF Innovation in partnership with Nyaruka, developed RapidPro, which allows to connect directly with a user on their mobile phone over SMS, voice, or social media without the help of a software developer. From youth engagement programmes like U-Report to education monitoring systems like EduTrac, RapidPro has become UNICEF’s common platform for developing and sharing mobile services that can be adapted for different contexts and sectors.

Similar to RapidPro, U-Report is designed to empower people in developing countries to speak out on issues in their communities. Users can reply to SMS polls and alerts every week, thereby giving administrators an immediate snapshot of the situation. As a large-scale SMS tool available in 21 countries, operationalisation of U-Report in an emergency is now central to UNICEF disaster Risk Reduction and Response measures.