Gitcoin <> UNICEF: A powerful Quadratic Funding collaboration pilot

Gitcoin will launch its first-ever Quadratic Funding round on its new grants protocol (currently in testing) in collaboration with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation from December 9 to December 21.

To learn how to donate, visit Grants Explorer Guide. Please note: the option to donate for individual rounds activates once the round goes live, and only stays open for the duration of the round period. In other words, you can only donate in the window of the round, and not outside of it. Join Gitcoin Alpha Rounds Announcement (for donors) so you don't miss any updates relevant to your participation.

Between Dec. 9 - 21, 2022, Gitcoin will facilitate a Quadratic Funding grants round for a select group of 10 impact-focused, innovative projects from around the world—including Nepal, Kenya, Argentina, Brazil, and the Philippines.

This round will be the first of 5 test rounds run on our new grants protocol (currently in testing) as part of Gitcoin’s Alpha test season. This launch signals the beginning of Gitcoin’s transition to a decentralized protocol that will allow any community to coordinate its own grants funding round.

All 10 of the UNICEF Round grantees are builders using blockchain or AI technologies for social good. This December, donors will have a chance to support these global builders in their efforts to create digital public goods alongside Gitcoin & UNICEF.

Read more to learn all you need to know about the round.

Collaborating with UNICEF

Gitcoin has always believed in blockchain’s potential to address global coordination problems and catalyze the development of technology that tackles pressing social issues and creates real-world regenerative impact. Through its Venture Fund, UNICEF's mission to fund innovative social impact projects that work directly with affected communities to close critical resource gaps using emerging technology is naturally aligned with ours.

This collaborative pilot round is a monumental step in bringing transparent, community-driven grant allocation to the NGO world.

We’re aiming for this to be the first of many partnerships with civic organizations and social impact projects to facilitate transparent, community-driven funding allocation made possible by blockchain technology. Gitcoin uses Quadratic Funding to distribute resources in a way aligned with community needs as determined by communities themselves. Learn more about Quadratic Funding here

“We are excited to announce our collaboration with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation. It’s our first foray into grants allocation beyond Web3, and we feel it signals the real-life potential and interest in bottom-up, transparent funding allocation. We intend to scale this novel tech to support communities all over the world.” - Azeem Khan, Gitcoin Head of Partnerships.

The Projects

Projects nominated for the round address gaps in financial access, education and literacy, environment, and public health.

All the projects included in the round have strong track records of success. Many are certified digital public goods, hackathon winners, and recipients of investments from top firms, including the UNICEF Venture Fund. They have also run successful pilot programs with organizations such as UNICEF’s offices in Guatemala and Nepal, the World Food Programme, and Mercy Corps Ventures.

Financial Inclusion

Kenya’s Kotani Pay, Nepal’s Rahat, Treejer, and Argentina’s Xcapit are all using blockchain technology to increase access to financial tools in underserved communities. 

Xcapit has developed a smart crypto wallet for financial literacy and inclusion while Rahat leverages blockchain to enable faster, more transparent cash assistance for beneficiaries in hard-to-reach areas. Kotani Pay uses a simple interface to enable an off-ramp from crypto to fiat currency that doesn’t require an internet connection or a bank account, increasing access to financial solutions for the underbanked and unbanked. Treejer functions as a link between those who fund trees and those who plant them through a blockchain-based platform providing incentives to stop climate change with the help of local communities.

Public Health

The Philippines’ AEDES and India’s StaTwig address public health issues through digital public goods.

AEDES is being developed by Cirrolytix and uses AI to power a platform for dengue prediction that uses climate and health data for epidemic management. Meanwhile, StaTwig uses blockchain to trace and track the extended supply chains of products like vaccines and food, ensuring their quality and safety.

Environment

Chile's SimpleMap and Brazil's Bioverse Labs use imagery and machine learning to access data that enhances the communities' agricultural and energy practices.

SimpleMap uses thermal imagery and machine learning for clean energy and agriculture uses, where Bioverse Labs uses drone imagery and machine learning to identify tree species that support food security and economic growth for the indigenous communities in the region.

Education and Literacy

Pixframe Studios from Mexico and Somleng from Cambodia use natural language processing and other AI use cases to build apps that increase literacy and education outcomes.

Pixframe Studios is developing a game-based learning platform to assess and develop children’s cognitive skills, including attention, audiovisual perception, memory, and planning. Somleng has built a low-cost interactive voice response and SMS platform to make online communication more accessible in communities with low literacy levels.

UNICEF Round AMA (Twitter Space) - [TU 12/13 11a PST ]

Join us in welcoming the 10 grantees in the UNICEF Round into the Gitcoin ecosystem! Our hosts Azeem Khan & Ben West will share more on the participating projects and their intended impact, followed by Q&A.

Public goods on grants protocol

Grants protocol is a new way of distributing funds within a community. It is Gitcoin’s vision for the future of funding: not a platform nor an isolated fund, but a protocol that any community can use anywhere in the world that connects resources, contributors, and ecosystems in the most optimal way possible.

Grants protocol uses blockchain to make it easier for organizations to identify and incorporate community signals into funding decisions. It also makes it easier for communities to see where funds are distributed in the most transparent way possible.

Participate in the grants protocol POAP quest and help us build!

We are building our protocol! And it won’t surprise you to hear that we’re building in public.

We’re excited to have UNICEF’s Office of Innovation as one of our 5 Alpha design partners helping us test and refine how grants protocol can enable anyone to build and fund public goods.

But, to make the grants protocol a success, we also need your help! Donate ANY amount to the round when it opens from December 9 to 21, and you’ll receive one of 5 Alpha Round POAPs — if you bag the whole collection, you’ll win VIP access to Schelling Point at ETH Denver.

The results of the UNICEF round will be announced the week of January 16. Funds and POAP claims will be distributed the same week.

About Gitcoin

Gitcoin exists to empower communities to fund their shared needs. Gitcoin has partnered with dozens of leading organizations and communities to distribute over $72m across fifteen grants rounds to hundreds of grantees through the Gitcoin Grants Program. As Gitcoin evolves, the grants protocol (currently in testing) is Gitcoin’s vision for the future of community-driven funding. The grants protocol is not a platform, nor an isolated fund, but permissionless technology that anyone can use, from anywhere in the world, to empower their community members to coordinate funding for projects that address their shared needs. Stay up to date on Gitcoin’s protocol future by following @Gitcoin on Twitter.


About UNICEF

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation sits within and across UNICEF’s global network in 190 countries to discover, co-create, and scale innovation - both frontier technologies and novel applications of technologies - to improve the lives and futures of children and young people. 

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation explores three layers of blockchain technology: Can we focus more resources on problems that affect the world? Can we create greater efficiencies within public sector bureaucracies? Can we fundamentally disrupt some systems which are broken?

As we look into new ways of doing things, for our organization and for the children we serve, it is essential that we tap into new communities of innovators and problem-solvers. 

The UNICEF Venture Fund is the first venture capital vehicle in the UN, allowing UNICEF to learn from and to shape markets of emerging technologies that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion persons’ needs. It is specifically designed to finance early-stage, open source technology spaces such as blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and drones, that can benefit children. 

By investing in emerging markets and a diverse set of entrepreneurs, the goal of the UNICEF Venture Fund is to close gaps and contribute to a future where every child can survive and thrive. 

The UNICEF Venture Fund has made 124 investments in 74 countries, with a 43% female-founded portfolio, altogether changing the lives of over 31.7 million children,  young people, and communities.