Digital Public Good

DPGxYouth: A generation in charge of their digital future

Dec 05 , 2023
Fatoumata Ouattara, a 18 year old girl, is taking a electronics course at the professional high school of Korhogo, in the North of Cote d’Ivoire
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Digital Public Goods - Where digital sovereignty and digital upskilling and hope for a better digital future intersect.


What are DPGs?

Open-source software, open data, open AI systems, and open content collections that adhere to privacy and other applicable best practices, do no harm by design, and are of high relevance for attainment of SDGs. The concept of Digital Public Goods is mandated and supported by the SG's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

​Any Digital Public Good  must be Open Source.​

Why does it matter?


At the end of the XIX century, Western world-dominating countries claimed ownership over dozens of nations under the premise that they had no sovereignty, skills and resources to properly manage their own affairs. At the beginning of the XXI century, we are facing a digital version of this process.​

Global South Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI: a country's technology infrastructure for the public) is often outsourced to foreign companies. Therefore:​

  • The Global South is declined ownership and power to have their own technology manage regional DPI​

  • Profit – not regional public good – is often point of departure for countries' DPI.

  • Outside technology extracts, analyzes, and owns the Global South user data for profit and market

  • Instead of South-South digital cooperation, foreign actors erect digital borders

  • Solutions are built by engineers who have no first-hand knowledge of local contexts and challenges

  • Youth, the future generation who will use and maintain these infrastructures, aren't part of the equation

We’re doing away with the past. DPGs fast forward digital development towards equity. ​We're building a generation in charge of their own digital future. 

Students participate in an intensive bootcamp as part of the Digital Innovation Challenge 2022: Generasi Terampil programme held in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on 24 September 2022. @UNICEF?UN0716533/Fauzan Ijazah

Why does it matter to young people?

By outsourcing digital architecture to foreign actors, we're excluding today's youth from taking control of their own digital destiny. We’re also depriving them from:​

  • Employment opportunities​

  • Rationale for skill development​

  • Sense of hope and purpose that they can bring meaningful change to their region​

About 67% of young people feel they have limited to no control over how technology will impact their lives in the next 10 years.


UNICEF is a co-founder and Board Member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), a multi-stakeholder, UNSG-endorsed initiative that facilitates the discovery and deployment of open-source technologies, bringing together countries and organizations to create a thriving global ecosystem for Digital Public Goods and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.​

Through its DPGA Board membership, UNICEF has a strong voice in discussions that inform the future of global DPI architecture. UNICEF ardently advocates that there can be no equitable Digital Public Infrastructure:​

  • Without Digital Public Goods​

  • Without providing skills and resources for today's young generation as DPI's future builders, maintainers and owners

UNICEF Office of Innovation partners with UNICEF Country Offices and stakeholders who recognize the need for today’s youth to become a generation of digital architects and innovators equipped to build, maintain and own DPGs and DPIs.​


DPG x Youth work stream focuses on three outcomes for the young generation:​

  • Youth understand the link between digital sovereignty and how and where technology is built

  • Youth feel empowered by learning digital skills and having access to resources to intentionally shape equitable digital future

  • Youth have sense of hope and purpose they can bring meaningful change to their region through technology


  • Championing DPG through advocacy initiatives, including events, webinars, hackathons
  • Training and offering mentorship on open source & DPGs
  • Integrating DPG curriculum into incubators, accelerators, and digital upskilling programs
  • Contributing to the DPG Accelerator Guide
  • Supporting entrepreneurs and young tech-innovators to develop open source solutions that align with the DPG standards
  • Helping build a pipeline of digital solutions for the UNICEF Venture Fund
  • Developing DPG-related functions and expertise within governments


What We Have Done Already

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