In partnership with the H&M Conscious Foundation, [Global relief organization UNICEF](http://www.unicef.ca/en/press-release/unicoin-the-first-currency-dedicated-to-good-launched-today) recently created a cryptocurrency to promote their ongoing campaign to bring educational materials to underserved children.
According to UNICEF, there are 200 million children around the world who don’t have proper access to educational tools and are unable to reach their full potential. Developments in neurology have given scientists new insights into how the brain develops, including our ability to learn. Stimulating the minds of children early on in life has been shown as crucial for healthy mental development, even before the age they are ready to go to school.
“No matter where you live, all children have one thing in common – the ability to dream. By sharing children’s drawings, we can help more children to reach their full learning potential and build a better future for themselves.”
— – Charlotte Brunnström, Program Manager for Education at the H&M Conscious Foundation
The digital currency, called Unicoin, is part of a larger campaign called the Global Program for Education. Launched in February 2014, the Program is a partnership between the nonprofit arm of the popular fashion retailer and brand of the same name, H&M Conscious Foundation, and UNICEF.
The H&M Conscious Foundation granted UNICEF $9.3 million US to help underserved children get educated, which would be distributed over a matter of three years. The goal is to reach 73,600 poor youth in the developing world with Early Childhood Development programs. They also want to leave a more lasting impact by making the education of children the priority of governments around the world, by dedicating portions of their budgets to the cause.
One Unicoin is equal to one notebook and a pencil that will be donated to a child in need. In order to “mine” one of the 20,000 issued, UNICEF encouraged people to draw a dreams and send it to them via their website or Twitter. For every drawing, one unicoin would be created and subsequently donated for educational materials. The campaign proved to be successful, with Unicoin selling out within days of the initiative launching.
"1 out of 3 children in the developing world don’t achieve their full potential before entering primary school due to causes linked to poverty, lack of access to learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition. But together we can change this by providing the most disadvantaged children with access to early childhood care and education. At UNICEF and H&M Conscious Foundation we believe that it is possible to give every child the best possible start in life. Help us spread the word by joining the Unicoin campaign today.”
— – Pia R. Britto, Senior Advisor, Chief Early Childhood Development Section, UNICEF Headquarters
BitGive Launches Bitcoin Charity 2.0
The Unicoin campaign was little more than a marketing campaign, but it does illustrate the new ways digital currencies can be used by charities and nonprofits to help them raise funds and attract more awareness.
Bitcoin’s technology is making headway in the nonprofit sector with BitGive, one of the earliest digital currency focused charities. The charity recently announced plans to leverage Bitcoin’s technology to help charities raise funds.
The BitGive Foundation has already helped raise thousands of dollars for charities around the globe. Some of its biggest achievements are with African and Asian charities, where payments systems can be problematic.
BitPesa was grateful that BitGive let them contribute to a project at Shisango Girls in Western Kenya. BitPesa which sponsored a video announcing the new project. The company CEO, Elizabeth Rossiello, stated “We are always looking for partners doing great things in East Africa. BitGive is doing important work connecting Bitcoin donors with worthy projects across the world.”
BitGive also helped the Water Project, which works to provide clean drinking water through wells to communities in Kenya. “The first step was building a strong relationship with an impactful nonprofit that is enthusiastic about partnering with us to leverage the Bitcoin community,” said founder of the BitGive Foundation, Connie Gallippi.
The Water Project’s President Peter Chasse added, “The Blockchain and Bitcoin present an incredible opportunity to dramatically lower our costs to transmit money to countries like Kenya. At the same time, it can also enable a shift to real-time, end-to-end transparency into how nonprofits like ours put donations to good use.”
Instead of simply leveraging Bitcoin’s global payment network, as a way to raise funds from donors from around the globe, BitGive has begun exploring blockchain technology as a way to provide new solutions for nonprofits. They have explain exactly how they plan to use the technology, but increased transparency appears to be a main focus.
“We found that partnership with The Water Project. Now, we are ready to take it to the next level and facilitate new ways for Bitcoin and blockchain technology to revolutionize charitable giving.” – Connie Gallippi, Founder of the BitGive Foundation