"Time machine" showcases gaps in childhood data

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the launch of the Time Machine Installation.UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

An interactive art installation at UN Headquarters is drawing attention to the need for better data on children.

The "time machine" created by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) demonstrates the value of data through art.

The goal is to encourage world leaders to take action to ensure that all children are counted.

Dianne Penn reports.

From the outside, the time machine looks like a large mirrored box.

Step inside and you'll be asked a series of questions to remind you of your childhood.

The machine will then generate a personalized song based on your answers, turning your childhood experiences and data into sound.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) believes that through this experience, users will help to shed light on children worldwide who remain unheard due to the dearth of data on their lives.

The agency says better information, for example on childhood poverty, is necessary if the world is to achieve global development goals.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was at the launch.

"Quality numbers alone will not change people's lives. But being counted makes everyone visible, and this act of recognition makes it possible to address their needs and advance their rights. In other words, good data is essential to good decisions."

The time machine will be on display in the UN Secretariat lobby until the end of September; a period when heads of state and government gather in New York for the UN General Assembly.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'18"

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