Erica Kochi co-founded and co-leads UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, a group tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that improve UNICEF’s work on the ground. Erica also serves as senior innovation advisor to UNICEF’s executive director. Working with partners in the private sector, academia, and international development, the Innovation Unit supports UNICEF’s 135+ country offices in the practical application of design and technology to strengthen international development outcomes.
Erica was named to the TIME 100 “World’s Most Influential People” List in 2013. UNICEF Innovation has recognized success in innovative design of international development solutions. Other projects include the Digital Drum, recognized by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 inventions of 2011, and the award-winning RapidSMS, a system that uses basic mobile phones and SMS messages to communicate with front-line workers and improve the speed and quality of data collection and health and education services.
Since 2007, UNICEF Innovation has worked with partners to develop technologies for such projects as providing antenatal care to thousands of pregnant women across Rwanda, tracking the distribution of more than 25 million insecticide treated mosquito nets, and providing a direct feedback loop for more than 250,000 young Ugandans to engage with their government and change policy in real time.