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A Profile of United Nations Children’s Fund

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Published: Tue, 26 Sep 2017

United Nations Children’s Fund

“We believe in a world where ZERO children die of things we can prevent.” 

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) that was started by the United Nations in 1946. UNICEF is non-profit and works to prevent childhood death by improving the healthcare, education, and nutrition of children around the world. They also provide emergency relief to those in need. Their reach is international and their goal is to have zero children die from preventable causes (UNICEF).

On December 11, 1946 the “United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund” was started by the United Nations General Assembly. Its creation coincided with World War II in order to bring food and medical care to war-torn children in Europe, the Middle East, and China. The name was shortened to United Nations Children’s Fund in 1953 when it was made a permanent fixture of the United Nations System (UNICEF USA). Despite its name change, the fund kept the acronym UNICEF; which is still in use today. In 1965, the United Nations Children’s Fund won the Nobel Peace Prize for ‘the promotion of brotherhood among nations.” (UNICEF). In its 68 year history there have been many famous UNICEF Goodwill ambassadors including Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Jackie Chan, Shakira, David Beckham, Audrey Hepburn, Danny Kaye (first celebrity ambassador), and the entire Manchester United Football Club (Borgen Project).

UNICEF focuses its energy in more than 190 countries, including the United States (UNICEF). In order to conduct their humanitarian operations they have established offices worldwide. Major operations are carried out through these offices in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Additionally, there are programs and trainings there year-round. The United States Fund for UNICEF is located in New York City, and is the main U.S. office for UNICEF. The U.S. Fund works in cooperation with the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help UNICEF achieve the goal of zero preventable child fatalities (UNICEF USA). The United Nations Foundation in DC, Friends of UNFPA in New York, and the International Peace Institute in New York are other associations in the United States that help fund UNICEF projects (UNICEF).

UNICEF has a number of programs to help raise funds for their causes. One of the most popular UNICEF fundraisers is Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Since the 1950’s over $170 million dollars has been raised by children for children through the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program. The premise of the program is that when kids go door to door on Halloween that instead of asking for candy, they ask for spare change to donate to UNICEF. Not only does this raise money for UNICEF to use towards helping children, but it also teaches the children doing the fundraising the value of helping others (Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF). A newer campaign that they have implemented recently is the UNICEF Tap Project. This project raises funds to give those in need clean drinking water. It works by having people stay off of their phone for as long as possible, and the longer they are off of their phone, the more money that gets donated by a 3rd party company, Giorgio Armani (UNICEF).

None of the funding for UNICEF comes from the assessed dues from the United Nations; instead their donations come from individuals, NGOs, foundations, governments, and corporations (UNICEF). For the 2011-2012 Fiscal year UNICEF had a total income of $3,866 million. When broken down fifty-seven percent of donations came from the government, and 32 percent was raised by NGOs and members of the private sector. UNICEF is known for being a reputable charity that uses a majority of its income for its cause. Of the total income $3,416 million dollars went to development, $322 million went to management, $127 was for special purposes, and $2 million was for United Nations development coordination (Charity Navigator).

There are a number of ways that individuals of all ages can get involved with UNICEF’s mission. Young children can help through programs like Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF (Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF). High school and college students can join clubs that are dedicated to raising money for UNICEF. Adults, with at least a bachelor’s degree and experience in certain fields, can even personally volunteer with UNICEFs missions. Another way that anyone can be involved is by monetary donations made to UNICEF or one of its funds (UNICEF USA).

One of the most prevalent causes of preventative childhood death is starvation. UNICEF battles childhood hunger in many ways including giving children peanut paste and micronutrient powder. Peanut paste is a high-energy therapeutic food. It works well because it is high in calories and does not require any preparation or refrigeration. Like its name suggests the micronutrient powder contains many vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy growth and development in children. It also improves immune function and helps prevent disease (UNICEF USA). For only $10 UNICEF can distribute 321 packets of micronutrient powder. UNICEF helps infants who suffer from malnutrition by teaching mothers the benefits of breast feeding. Breast fed children are six times more likely to survive the first few months than children who are not breast fed. Also, UNICEF still helps provide food in emergencies such as natural disasters (UNICEF).

Along with helping fight childhood malnutrition, UNICEF also improves children’s lives by providing healthcare, clean water, and educational supplies. More than one third of the world’s children have received a vaccination or immunization thanks to UNICEF. They have also helped 1.8 billion people have access to clean drinking water. If there are not drivable roads UNICEF will deliver supplies by bicycle, boat, and even donkey when necessary. They are well trusted and have even made cease fire agreements to get to children in war zones (UNICEF USA).

In the 68 years since it was founded, UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. They are extremely dedicated to helping lower child mortality rates, and have been successful so far. A number of their programs work with children from birth to help end childhood malnutrition. Their work has reached billions of people in the last seven decades and will continue to in the future.

Works Cited

“Charity Navigator – Advanced Search.”Charity Navigator. UNICEF, n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.

“Help Children | Humanitarian Aid & Emergency Relief | UNICEF USA.” UNICEF USA. United States Fund for UNICEF, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.

“Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.” UNICEF. United Nations Children’s Fund, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.

“UNICEF | United Nations Children’s Fund.” UNICEF. United Nations Children’s Fund, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.

“UNICEF’s First Celebrity Ambassador, Danny Kaye – The Borgen Project.” The Borgen Project RSS2. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.


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