Unicef is an acronym for United Nations Children’s Fund, the conventional official short form since 1953 for what was originally United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
Formed in the postwar year of 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries devastated by World War II, Unicef’s mandate was in 1950 expanded to handle the long-term needs of children and women in all developing countries. Consequently, it handles humanitarian and developmental assistance. It is now a permanent member of the UN family of development agencies.
Unicef has a working presence in 190 countries and territories, dedicated to saving children and young people’s lives, defending their rights, and to helping them achieve their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.
To be able to sustain ongoing work and emergency initiatives to reach even the hardest-to-reach areas in the world, Unicef, headquartered in New York, USA, and headed by Henrietta H Fore as executive director, runs more than 150 country offices coordinated by seven regional offices that also provide technical assistance.
Unicef also has 36 ‘National Committees for Unicef’, mainly in developed countries, which carry out their mission through programs developed with host governments.
Each national committee is established as an independent local non-governmental organization, and it raises funds from the public sector through various campaigns and projects.
Unicef depends entirely on the voluntary contributions of governments and private donors like businesses, civil society, foundations and over six million individuals. Governments contribute two-thirds of the organization’s annual budget.
The organization, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, commands immense global clout to influence decision-makers and its many grassroots partners to turn around innovative ideas into reality.
In addressing children and young people’s problems brought about by poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination, Unicef pays key attention to eight areas of concern:
First is child survival, whose tagline is ‘Every child has the right to survive and thrive’. Child protection and inclusion goes by the tagline ‘Every child has the right to grow up in a safe and inclusive environment’.
So, Unicef works with partners around the world to promote policies that increase access to services which protect all childre. Third is education, with tagline ‘Every child has the right to learn’.
Emergencies mitigation goes by tagline ‘Reaching every child in emergencies’. Gender is another of Unicef’s key concerns, running under tagline ‘Every girl has the right to fulfill her potential’.
Innovation for children is taglined ‘Innovating to drive results for every child’. Seventh is Supply and logistics, under tagline ‘Delivering solutions to reach every child at risk’. Lastly, is Research and analysis, with tagline ‘Using data to drive results’.