UNICEF announces collaboration with telecommunications giant in drive for 'Big Data' for social good

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New York, 01 March 2017 – UNICEF and Telefonica, one of the largest European telecommunication companies, will work together on UNICEF's "Magic Box" initiative – an innovative use of data to inform and plan humanitarian responses to emergency situations.

Magic Box collects real-time anonymized data such as mobile phone usage from private sector companies to better understand human activity. An analysis of the data is then used to improve the management of humanitarian disasters – providing alarms, and supporting critical response and recovery to monitor natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides or floods.

The partnership involves UNICEF Innovation working with Telefónica’s specialist big data unit, LUCA, to accelerate the use of data science and engineering in developing real-time and life-saving humanitarian data analytics.

"Magic Box is a way to bring together partners like Telefonica and others from the private sector, who want to use their data as a public social good. We collaborate with them to build a product that allows us to have real-time insights to improve our work for children around the world.

“To reach the hardest-to-reach children, we need to know where, when and how to act, and we can do this if we have forward-thinking partnerships in place, now," said Cynthia McCaffrey, Director, Office of Innovation, UNICEF.

Telefónica joins other companies including Google, Amadeus and IBM to enable the growth of Big Data for Social Good in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Connect with UNICEF Innovation @UNICEFinnovate and


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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

About Magic Box
UNICEF Innovation is developing an open-source platform, called Magic Box, which uses real-time information to inform life-saving humanitarian responses to emergency situations. This work is made possible through private sector partnerships and collaborations with Google, Amadeus, IBM, and Telefonica, as well as with other development agencies and government entities such as UN Global Pulse, CDC, PAHO and OCHA.

About Telefónica
Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world by market capitalization and number of customers with a comprehensive offering and quality of connectivity that is delivered over world class fixed, mobile and broadband networks. As a growing company it prides itself on providing a differential experience based both on its corporate values and a public position that defends customer interests.

The company has a significant presence in 21 countries and over 349 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 5,037,804,990 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.

For more information, please contact:
Yemi Lufadeju, UNICEF NYHQ, Tel : + 121 326 7029 E :