When most people think about UNICEF, children are generally the first thing that comes to mind â€“ children in emergencies, with illness, or needing safety.Â
Thatâ€™s appropriate because UNICEF exists to meet the needs of children.Â Often though, we forget or donâ€™t know about the lesser-known side of UNICEF that, in fact, is what lets us reach countless children year after year.Â This is the side of our work that supports and builds the strength of governments in developing countries throughout the world and it is the foundation of UNICEFâ€™s programming around the globe.
I was recently in Morocco,Â visiting a computer lab supported by Dell YouthConnect, the Dell signature giving program, which works to increase access to technology for youth in at-risk communities of Casablanca and Rabat.Â Through Dellâ€™s generosity, we are able to build computer labs, bringing in computers, printers, LCD projectors, and teachers to train youth on information communications, and technology skills and to provide computer access to young people, as well as the adults who use the community centers while kids are at school.Â
Itâ€™s a great program that has taught girls and boys not just to use Word and Excel, but also to make posters in Photoshop, build basic websites, and get started in the world of social networking, but itâ€™s behind the scenes where the true magic happens.Â
This program reached about 20,000 people in the past year through the efforts of UNICEF staff members, like my colleague Bouchra Boutaleb, who navigate the terrain of working with the national government to bring programs like this to life.Â She plays the role of connector â€“ building relationships with officials in the Ministry of Youth and Sport to understand their needs and strengths and seeing how we can bring UNICEFâ€™s resources to enhance and expand their services to reach even more children and families.Â Her days can bring her from the most challenged neighborhoods of Morocco to the loftiest halls of government and she moves through each with ease and grace.Â
This is the work that we canâ€™t really show in videos and commercials, but has massive impact, and Iâ€™m proud to work alongside the experts who bring these worlds together every day.
You can contribute to the Dell’s support of UNICEF through globalgiving.org.