The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the United Nations’ only entity specifically charged with guaranteeing the rights of children and enforcing the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Created in 1946, it received its mandate from the United Nations General Assembly in 1953. It is a nonpartisan group. In 1965, UNICEF won the Nobel Peace Prize “for the promotion of brotherhood among nations.”
UNICEF was created to care for and nurture the world’s children by helping overcome poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination. Specifically, UNICEF advocates for prenatal and postnatal care so that children can get the best start in life. It also supports education for all, but particularly for girls because research shows that educating girls has a significant impact on the community. This agency helps provide immunizations and nourishment so that children are healthy, and it works to eradicate HIV and AIDS and their devastating impact. Finally, UNICEF provides emergency relief in cases of natural and other disasters and helps ensure children are not exposed to violence or abuse in the home.
The organization’s website (www.unicef.org) features a wealth of information about child survival and development, child protection, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, water and sanitation, health, and much more. It is searchable by topic and by country.
Also on the website is information about Goodwill Ambassadors, many of whom are celebrities. Actor Danny Kaye was one of the first, and actress Mia Farrow is currently a Goodwill Ambassador. UNICEF partners with numerous other nongovernmental organizations as well as corporations, including American Airlines, Hewlett-Packard, and IKEA.
The 2011 State of the World’s Children report is also available on the UNICEF website. It contains statistics, pictures, and analysis of all the major indicators UNICEF measures. Researchers and others can even use the statistics to make custom tables that include specific measures and/or countries.
UNICEF also has a television and a radio station that are accessible via the organization’s website. From the site, people can purchase items that support the organization’s programs, including holiday cards and handcrafted goods.