The ILO-UNICEF 2020 Global Estimates of Child Labour  show that more than 90 million children have been successfully withdrawn from child labour and referred to education, vocational training and other protection and prevention services. However, the fight is not over, 160 million children are still trapped in child labour and 40 million people are victims of modern slavery . COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation and there is a real risk of reversing years of progresses in this field. Innovation, skills and digital technologies can galvanize efforts to confront the challenges faced globally in order to meet the SDG Target 8.7.
ILO, as the Secretariat of Alliance 8.7  – a global inclusive partnership to achieve SDG Target 8.7 – launched a competition  calling for all innovators who are passionate about bringing new ideas to develop innovative solutions with social impact to support Pathfinder Countries  to accelerate action towards SDG Target 8.7. Pathfinder Countries are an integral part of the Alliance 8.7. This community of 25 countries have committed to accelerate efforts and to try new approaches from which others can learn to achieve SDG Target 8.7’s urgent deadlines.

As part of this initiative, the ILO is inviting the innovators community to participate in the SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge to bring new ideas to create Digital Information Systems for collaborative work to end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.

The challenge focuses on Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries as beneficiaries; however, proposals with innovative solutions can come from all over the world.

Description of the Challenge

The fight against child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking includes a wide array of stakeholders including different government institutions, such as Ministries of Labour, Education, Social Development, Statistics Offices, protection and prevention programmes, workers’ and employers’ organizations, civil society organizations, among others. Effective responses to end these human rights violations require a great deal of coordination between all these stakeholders.

What are Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries looking for that could be addressed through digital solutions?

  • Have access to real time data on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking cases even in areas with limited connectivity.
  • Reduce the amount of time between the identification of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking cases and the referral to protection systems or programmes.
  • Promote coordination and information sharing between national and subnational stakeholders.
  • Information systems/frameworks that allow the involvement of multiple actors and provide means to make different information systems complementary and compatible.
  • Cross-border information sharing to tackle human trafficking.
  • In countries that are close to eradicating child labour, digitalised case management with cross reference to relevant stakeholders to allow identification and early prevention of children at risk of exploitation.
  • Some countries have set themselves the challenge to integrate all topics under SDG Target 8.7, including child labour, forced labour and human trafficking under one single framework: this involves an even wider array of stakeholders and systems to coordinate.
  • Relevant and real time data that allows for improving the design and therefore effectiveness of public policy.
  • Information management systems/frameworks that reinforce identification and prevention by triggering alerts for areas at higher risk, thus facilitating decision making and the prioritization of resources.
  • Present evidence on ‘what works or what does not’, in terms of monitoring the impact of national and local government policy intervention on fighting against child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking.
  • Monitor and assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on child labour, forced labour, or human trafficking.
  • Leverage the role of technology and AI in combatting child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking (e.g. monitoring and measurement).

Pathfinder countries

An integral part of Alliance 8.7 are Pathfinder Countries . These are countries that commit to going further and faster to achieve the objectives of SDG Target 8.7. They are committed to accelerating efforts and willing to new approaches from which others can learn to support Target 8.7’s urgent deadlines.

Eligibility criteria

Alliance 8.7 welcomes applications from its partners and from any individual or any formally constituted and registered organization/company. By organizations, we mean government agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations, public and private enterprises, regional and sectoral bodies and research organizations, cooperatives, education and training institutions including universities.

Application process

  • Step 1: Before submitting a solution, carefully read the previous sections with the eligibility criteria or go through the guidelines  that includes all the relevant information.
  • Step 2: Access the application platform  before 15 August 2021 (11:59 Geneva time). After this time, applications will be closed.
  • Step 3: The applicant will have to sign in using an existing Microsoft, Facebook or Google account or creating a new account on Teams Ideas by clicking on “sign up now”.
  • Step 4: Once logged in successfully, you can edit your profile settings by clicking on your name (top right of the page). Here you can add your name, contact details and a picture.
  • Step 5: Use the arrows in the slider to find the Challenge page in your preferred language (the call is available in English, French, and Spanish) and click on “Add idea”.
  • Step 6: On the Challenge page, download the Application Form that is under the Attachments section on the right.
  • Step 7: To submit your idea add a title and a short description of your proposal and click on save. Once saved, your idea will appear on the top of the list. Attach the duly filled application form, and other relevant documents, by clicking on the attachment icon.
  • Step 8: You can edit your application by clicking on the three dots on the right and/or in the attachment icon under the description of your idea.

Proposals can be submitted in English, French and Spanish. No fee is required to participate in the SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge. Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their application has been received. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us to . Please write “SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge” on the subject of the email.

Evaluation criteria

  • Demand driven: serves specific needs of pathfinder countries described in these guidelines.


  • Sustainable: adapted to the country’s context and develops the right sets of skills for the countries to own and sustain the initiative. There is a strong likelihood for the benefits (and/ or activities) of the solution to continue beyond Alliance 8.7 support.

    NGOs and civil society organizations, private enterprises, research organizations, cooperatives, education and training institutions including universities participating to the global challenge are eligible and are encouraged to include a proposal for innovative financing mechanisms. Solutions from these set of actors that include innovative financing mechanisms to sustain the operationalization, implementation and scalability in the long-term of the proposed idea are highly encouraged.

  • Scalable and replicable: Can be adapted to different contexts/challenges. Solutions that can benefit more than one country; take into account pathfinder countries’ different stages in the path towards SDG Target 8.7 and different levels of digital readiness.
  • Flexible design: Considers a modular/progressive implementation or similar approach that gives the flexibility to implement depending on availability of funding or depending on countries’ specific contexts; it can be adapted in the future, for example including new actors or topics.
  • Measurable: Defined, with specific milestones and objectives.
  • Innovative: The proposal focuses on issues of an urgent nature or that have not been explored before. It is substantially different and creative (i.e. through new approaches, tools, or methodologies), leverages the use of new technologies, and/or adds value to existing solutions through digital technologies.
  • Inclusive: Involvement of all stakeholders.


There will be up to 3 winners.more…

  • Financial Support: USD 30,000 to develop and implement the proposed solution. One winning digital innovation proposal will be chosen to receive additional support from the from Research to Action Project to implement their project of up to USD 20,000 if it includes a compelling plan for innovative financing or shows the greatest potential for scaling up to other national contexts, through innovation financing mechanisms.
  • Access to Technical Support: winning proposals will receive technical support to turn their ideas into ready-to-implement prototypes.
  • Pilot: Once the prototype is developed, innovators and partners will test the solution through a pilot test in selected countries.
  • Visibility: winning proposals will benefit from global communication efforts including an invitation to a global event at the end of the year where the innovative idea will be presented to a wide range of stakeholders and to the next Global Conference on Child Labour in May 2022.
  • Access to a wide network of experts in the area: winning ideas and shortlisted proposals will be invited to join an Innovation Network including a series of Regional Innovation Sandbox events. Through the network, members will have the opportunity to exchange with other innovators, to share their solutions with Alliance 8.7 partners, and hold regular discussions about different SDG Target 8.7-related challenges that could act as a basis for future innovation challenge calls for proposals, hackathons, and other innovation initiatives. The regional innovation sandbox workshops will respond to problems faced by countries in the effort to fill in gaps and tackle resourcing challenges to enhance policy action.

Key dates and deadlines

  • Call launch: 10 June 2021
  • Deadline for submission: 15 August 2021 (11:59pm Geneva time)
  • Announcement of the winner: 15 October 2021
  • Implementation and results of the pilot: 2022


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