UNDP RBAP End-of-Year Innovation Review

Jan 25, 2018

There is so much promise in the Asia-Pacific region, a robust appetite for change, and a horizon full of opportunities. New country offices embraced innovation, the ones that are already on the road are aiming to scale existing innovations, and our goal is to ensure that all our country offices leverage innovation, to deliver on country priorities.

The good news – we are doing well. We are breaking new ground – raising resources, supporting governments to embed innovation at the core of their services, and joining a global network of top-notch innovators and labs. This puts us in a strong position to fulfil the vision of the new strategic plan, and the ambitions of the Global Goals.  

Here is the evidence:

Sophie: New Innovation Champion for UNDP!

UNDP BRH appointed its first-ever Innovation Champion and the first-ever non-human – Sophia the robot designed by Hanson Robotics. Sophia’s role was announced at the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore co-organized by UNDP and Global Initiatives. more 

UNDP supports Big Ideas Competition for Data Innovation

UNDP RBAP supported a competition for data-driven ideas to combat effects of climate change with the Government of Republic of Korea, UN Global Pulse and UNV. Read about the winners here and let us know if any of you can support! more 

UNDP Sri Lanka’s Social Innovation Lab

The Youth Leads Programme has also created a partnership with the Ministry of Information, Science & Technology to establish a Social Innovation Lab together – the first of its kind in the country. Congratulations UNDP Sri Lanka! more 

UNDP Indonesia explores potential for Islamic finance

UNDP Indonesia has been working on innovative financing by exploring the potential of Islamic finance to support the SDGs. Learn more about it in their piece ’Islamic finance offers enormous opportunity to support the SDGs and address inequality.’ more 

UNDP Nepal’s update on their iData project

After the iData studio workshop, country offices that won funding are off developing prototypes. UNDP Nepal recently published their blog Science and Sense to Seismic Risk Reduction discussing how they are blending data and behavioural science to encourage communities to invest in safer homes from earthquakes. more 

A health worker using the eVIN app to enter vaccine stock data. Photo: UNDP India
UNDP India’s eVIN programme wins the GSMA award!

A smart mobile application for digitizing vaccine logistics won the prestigious GSMA Asia Mobile Award 2017 (AMO) for Outstanding Mobile Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals in Asia. The ceremony, recognized the contributions of several transformative mobile innovations making a mark in the Asian region. more 

GovInsider Innovation Awards

We are pleased to announce that two UNDP initiatives were shortlisted for the GovInsider Innovation Awards this year. First, UNDP Sri Lanka’s Youth Leads Programme that brought young people into the office to provide innovative solutions to programming and outreach was shortlisted for the ‘Best Team Under 35’ award. Second, UNDP Maldives with the government produces a 3D risk map of an island to contribute to disaster preparedness and response by using drones – cutting the time to create maps from originally one year to one day. This project was shortlisted for the ‘Best Drones and Robotics Project’ award. Congratulations to UNDP Sri Lanka and UNDP Maldives! more 

New UNDP Report on forming Government Innovation Labs

Read the latest report, Growing Government Innovation Labs that includes feedback from practitioners themselves. The report examines conditions under which these creative hubs can trigger cultural change, create new ways of doing business and drive extensive digital transformation in developing countries. more 

Thailand launches Social Innovation Platform

Thailand Social Innovation Platform (TSIP) became a key partner with the Government Innovation Lab. TSIP partnered with the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission in setting up its Government Innovation Lab (GovLab). TSIP has also organized design-thinking workshops for government officials to improve services. Among other activities, the TSIP team are developing an online platform to map innovative initiatives towards the SDGs and hosted the Regional youth-co-lab session this year. Expect their website to be out very soon! more 

Youth Innovation in Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands, young people below the age of 24 make up 55% of the rural population. In the wake of violence that ended in 2003 they face political exclusion and a youth unemployment of 46%, resulting in increased crime and violence. As a way to bring youth together in the country’s peacebuilding process, and provide them with an economic perspective, the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) project, implemented by UNDP and UN WOMEN, established a series of youth entrepreneurship trainings, which last week culminated in the country’s first Youth Peacebuilding Innovation Forum in Honiara, attracting more than 250 young people. Read more about this first ever national forum, here. more 

Photo: UNDP Pakistan
UNDP Pakistan begins its innovation journey

In 2017 UNDP Pakistan launched its innovation portfolio. It won funding from the Innovation Facility to use positive deviance in the tribal regions of North West Pakistan to unlock how women outliers have managed to go into education and work. Women outliers were identified and interviewed. The teams are analysing the results and will work with communities to develop an approach to empower women. UNDP Pakistan also experimented with its first prize challenge to source ideas on youth engagement; held its first design thinking session in order to help the teams understand how to add value in the entrepreneurship ecosystem; they also partnered with the government, civil society, World Bank and private sector for the SDG Hackathon & Challenge Cup weekend. New partnerships have been signed, MoUs with Microsoft and Accountability Lab. more 

Amani Rakula and Savaira Marama Rakula say their vows on the REACH mobile service delivery bus at Naraiyawa Village in Namosi (Photo: UNDP/Akuila Sovanivalu)
Public Sector Innovation in Fiji

In Fiji, many remote communities can’t access most government services. UNDP Fiji partnered with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Fiji Legal Aid Commission to test the deployment of buses with mobile service teams visiting urban, rural and maritime communities to provide legal government services. The initiative has been so successful that the Government of Fiji is taking ownership of the mobile service delivery approach as of 2018 and is planning to expand the portfolio of services across other ministries. Check out how, among other things, the mobile service buses allow couples in remote villages to finally get married and reap the social protection benefits that come with it! more 

Photo: PFIP
Alternative Finance in the Pacific

Across the Pacific Islands, banks and other traditional service providers can’t reach many remote island communities. The joint UNDP-UNCDF Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is supporting the development of digital financial channels and services for underbanked mass-market customers in 14 Pacific Island countries. This includes a range of new platforms and financial product innovations, including micro-insurance, micro-pensions, pay-as-you-go schemes for solar energy, low-cost domestic and international remittances, or low-cost transaction accounts. The programme is building partnerships for financial education in the region and is working with local communities to explore solutions to existing bottlenecks, as is being done in this two-day ideation workshop in the Solomon Islands to explore opportunities for linking traditional savings groups in rural communities with digital financial services channels. PFIP is also recognizing local financial service providers with an annual innovation award (Westpac Bank Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands National Provident Fund jointly received the award recently) to accelerate innovative financial solutions in the Pacific. more 

FijiCare presented a cheque $108,000 to the Sugar Cane Growers Fund in Lautoka for insurance reimbursements on November 25, 2017. Photo: PFIP
The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme

‘Bundled’ Insurance offers consumers added convenience and potential cost savings by combining multiple coverage in one insurance policy. It includes a term life, funeral expenses, buildings and personal accident coverage at a standardized and affordable price. However, until now, no such product was available anywhere in the Pacific. UNDP and UNCDF through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) worked with FijiCare to upgrade the insurance provider’s policy administration and claims management systems. Since the launch in Nov 2017, 12,500 sugar cane farmers are now covered under the new microinsurance policy at a low cost. For the farmers, enrolment into the insurance scheme is a big step towards financial inclusion, giving them more protection, building household resilience and generating tangible value as they use the service. The next step is to roll-out the microinsurance product to various other sectors in Fiji, such as garment, hardware, tourism and retail, and to work on introducing a similar product in Vanuatu. more 

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