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UNICEF Kid Power

UNICEF Kid Power empowers kids to get active and send lifesaving therapeutic food packets to malnourished kids around the world.

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UNICEF Kid Power bridges peace and prosperity by inspiring a new generation of active and healthy global citizens, while saving the lives of children around the world. It embeds physical activity and global citizenship into the daily lives of kids from high-need schools across the country. With the UNICEF Kid Power Band, and physical activity as their currency, kids unlock lifesaving packets of therapeutic foods for their peers around the world. The more kids move, the more points they earn and the more lives they save. Currently, UNICEF Kid Power is reaching 170,000 third, fourth, and fifth graders across the country. UNICEF USA is looking to continue scaling this program, particularly in rural communities.

Explain your idea

CHALLENGE 1 in 4 American children is sedentary, and physical inactivity is now a major health concern in the U.S. While numerous programs and initiatives have attempted to increase kids’ physical activity levels, they typically have not been successful at motivating changes in children’s behavior, and often have proven difficult to sustain or scale up. Meanwhile, 1 in 4 children globally is malnourished, including 16 million children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition that requires urgent treatment. While ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) packets are a proven, cost-effective intervention for severe malnutrition, a lack of funding has prevented the scale-up of this life-saving treatment. SOLUTION UNICEF Kid Power (UKP) aims to address both of these crises with a single solution. Based on the learnings from over 60 years of experience building youth engagement platforms and seeing firsthand the power of kids helping kids – UNICEF USA launched UNICEF Kid Power. By tapping into kids’ intrinsic desire to do good and inspiring them to get active, Kid Power uniquely utilizes purpose as a motivator to sustain children’s healthy habits. HOW IT WORKS UNICEF Kid Power will engage children through their classroom (or after-school group), facilitate an online dashboard where teams can compete with other teams to earn the most Kid Power Points and unlock the most therapeutic food packets. Points are then converted to packets and impact achieved is communicated back to kids when syncing their Bands with the companion mobile App. Every student receives a Band. Teachers receive a tablet kiosk, standards-aligned curriculum consisting of exciting lessons, videos, quizzes and games to engage students to become global citizens, an online dashboard and hands-on support to implement the program. Implementation is ~3 months, (March to end of the school year). In May, during UKP Month (a campaign celebrating kids’ impact and engaging local communities), top performing classrooms are recognized and awarded prizes. In June (the end of the program), students can stay active at home - using the UKP App for families - and save lives until the School Program kicks off next year.

Who Benefits?

UNICEF Kid Power’s school program targets 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in high-need U.S. schools defined as schools with over 75% of students receiving free/reduced-price lunch. Current participants are mainly located in major U.S. cities, and we are looking to scale this program nationwide, including in more rural areas. Additional beneficiaries are severely malnourished children worldwide, who are the recipients of RUTF packets unlocked by Kid Power. Recent recipients have included children affected by natural disasters in Mozambique and by the famine in South Sudan.

How is your idea unique?

By tapping into kids’ intrinsic desire to do good and inspiring them to get active, Kid Power uniquely utilizes purpose as a motivator to sustain children’s healthy habits. Independent evaluations have shown that Kid Power kids are 55% more active and reach their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity requirements 30% more days, and 95% of Kid Power teachers want to participate in Kid Power again. In fact, Kid Power was recently named one of TIME magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2016! UNICEF USA is uniquely positioned to implement this initiative. For 66 years, we have been implementing “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF”, a simple but powerful model of kids helping kids. Today, 1 million children are saving lives through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF annually. UNICEF Kid Power builds on this success of engaging kids, schools and families through UNICEF Kid Power.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first, helping to save more children than any other humanitarian organization. UNICEF USA, who is implementing UNICEF Kid Power, supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States, so all children survive and thrive.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of eldy wullur

Hello Nelly, Children are the future leaders. To empower them, will be a great experience. Either helping or being helped will receive a huge benefit. Very inspiring.