UN Tanzania, WFP & UN Innovation Network Host Innovation Night
The United Nations Tanzania, the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Hub Tanzania and the UN Innovation Network (UNIN) on Thursday hosted the first UN Innovation Night in Tanzania, showcasing the world body’s innovative work in the country and its commitment to use innovative approaches to advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In times of growing development and humanitarian needs, innovative approaches and new technologies offer the United Nations an opportunity to unlock solutions with the potential to create extraordinary, life-changing impact for millions of people.
“Business as usual will not help us achieve the SDGs - we need to be innovative, forward thinking and not afraid to try new things,” said Michael Dunford, acting UN Resident Coordinator and WFP Representative.
New ways of thinking and a culture that enables innovation and experimentation are critical to bringing new approaches to the work of the United Nations. To facilitate this culture change, many UN agencies have established dedicated teams to promote innovation at the global as well as local level.
UN Innovation Night brought together UN and other key actors in the Tanzania innovation ecosystem to exchange ideas, learn from each other and establish new connections. The night also marked the end of aneight-week Tanzania Innovation Safari, which was designed to build innovation capacities through hands-on training and partnership development. The Safari was conducted by the UN in Tanzania under the leadership of the WFP Innovation Hub and UN Innovation Network.
Through the Innovation Safari, thirty staff from 11 UN agencies learnt and applied well-defined innovation methodologies to problems such as “How might we better communicate with our beneficiaries?” and “How might we establish sustainable energy solutions for people living in refugee camps?” During the UN innovation Night, the teams presented their ideas to an audience of government representatives, development partners and the private sector.
“Commitment to collaboration is critical to leverage new technologies and innovative thinking and to keep the UN at the forefront of some of the biggest challenges facing the world today,” said Dunford.
Building on the lessons learnt from the Tanzania Innovation Safari, the UN Innovation Network is looking to expand this new localised approach to hands-on capacity building in other countries where the UN has a presence.
 Participating Entities include FAO, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNCDF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP