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Many voices, many stories

In countries and communities across the globe, people are doing remarkable things to make the world better for every child. Here are some of their experiences and insights.

© UNICEF/SLRA2013-0102/Asselin
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Innovators around the world are closing gaps and crafting solutions tailored to local needs.

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As much as innovation is about breaking boundaries and reimagining the possibilities around us, it is also about solving problems within the constraints of the local context. Innovators can only work with what they have – and in low-income countries and communities, there is never quite enough.

Constrained circumstances can inspire ingenious solutions. Where flooded roads can’t take children to school, a fleet of solar-powered boats can bring the school to them. Where bombs and rubble make the journey to school perilous, text messages can help keep children safe. Where frequent blackouts keep families dependent on generators that burn costly fuel and emit toxic fumes, urine – free, safe and sustainable – could provide an alternative.

The parameters differ from country to country, and from one community to the next. Local innovators can’t help but know what’s feasible and what’s not. A whole range of factors play into whether a solution is likely to work within a particular context – from social and cultural norms to features of the environment and infrastructure, to people’s education levels and skills. Something that works wonders in one place may well fail in another. How effective, acceptable and sustainable an innovation will be hinges on how well it fits into the lives and environments of the children and communities who use it.

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