Before Sandy devastated New York, New Jersey, and other parts of the U.S., it hit Haiti, heaping new misery onto a country that has already seen far more than its share. Still recovering from 2010’s monster earthquake, the western hemisphere’s poorest country has suffered cholera outbreaks, drought, and the damage of Tropical Storm Isaac in August. Now, add Sandy’s wrath.
Adam Fifield, UNICEF USA
Few people may get excited to read weighty, official reports. But UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2012 is no ordinary report. Instead, it is a gripping portrait of the devastating toll of disasters all over the world and the unrelenting efforts of UNICEF and others to save those in their path.
Inspiring stories of survival and UNICEF triumphs, compelling supporter highlights, examples of lifesaving contributions, accounts of U.S. Fund National and Regional Board leadership — the 2011 U.S. Fund for UNICEF Annual Report has it all.
‘Every Child’ gives you a front row seat to UNICEF’s work in the field and highlights some of the contributions, partnerships, and volunteer efforts that make that work possible. As my colleague, Jen Banbury, and I compile the story list for each issue of ‘Every Child’, we always learn something new about UNICEF and are continually surprised by the ingenuity and resolve of UNICEF staff.
Every parent worries. Along with the joy of raising children comes a long, ever-growing list of concerns: the flu, choking, cars, swimming pools, strangers, sharp corners, sharp tools, electrical outlets, carbon monoxide leaks…
I could go on for thousands and thousands of words. After I became a father almost five years ago, I remember thinking that the number of potential hazards is overwhelming, endless — and that you can never let your guard down.
We all know that being a teenager isn’t easy. But in the world’s most marginalized and impoverished communities, adolescence can be an extremely arduous and dangerous time. With enough resources and support, it can also be a time of great opportunity and transformation.
Around the globe, there are 1.2 billion adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. Nearly nine out of ten live in the developing world. The unique needs of these children do not get as much attention as those of younger kids, according to UNICEF’s annual flagship report The State of the World’s Children, which was released today.
More children than ever before are living past their fifth birthday, thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and its partners. The new report asks: what happens when those children turn 10, 12, 15?
While not as susceptible to disease and malnutrition as younger children, adolescents may in some ways be even more vulnerable — particularly when it comes to violence and exploitation.
UNICEF has been battling polio for decades. In 1988, UNICEF teamed up with a coalition of organizations and governments to launch a hugely ambitious partnership called the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Since then, incidence of polio has dropped by more than 99 percent. Still, polio hangs on. While endemic in only four countries — Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria — polio does not respect borders or sovereignty. And all it takes for the disease to spread is for only a few people to remain unvaccinated. Even in places where it has been eliminated, just a handful of new polio cases can reverse decades of work.
If you haven’t already, read this in-depth story in the New York Times about Plumpy’nut, the revolutionary therapeutic food that pulls children back from the brink of severe malnutrition.
Haiti’s earthquake was a children’s emergency — and the needs of children must be central to the country’s reconstruction and recovery.
|© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0425/Susan Markisz|
|Left-right: UNICEF Haiti Acting Representative Francoise Gruloos; World Vision Haiti National Director Frank Williams (speaking); Plan International Haiti Director Jo-Ann Garnier-Lafontant; Oxfam Great Britain Mainstreaming Coordinator Marie Soudnie Rivette; SOS Children’s Villages Haiti National Director, Celigny Daruis; Save the Children Haiti Child Protection Monitoring & Evaluation Senior Specialist Cynthia Koons and Moderator and BBC Reporter Matthew Price.|
This was one consensus of a panel that met yesterday at UNICEF House to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the country’s rebuilding process, on the eve of today’s international donors’ conference for Haiti. Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, Plan International, World Vision International, and Oxfam joined UNICEF for the special event.
All aid agencies, donors, and others involved “need to project the face of the Haitian child on the discussions,” said UNICEF’s Director of Programs Nicholas Alipui. Panelists also agreed that the agenda for recovery must be driven by the Haitian people.
Panel moderator Matthew Price, who is the BBC’s World Affairs Correspondent, noted that some of those in the audience had braved the rain to attend. Reminding everyone of the current reality for many in Haiti, he then added: “Just imagine what it would be like living under a sheet strung between two branches… in the rain.”
UNICEF child protection expert Nadine Perrault was immediately deployed to Haiti after the earthquake struck last month. Perrault, who is normally based at UNICEF’s Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office in Panama, was sent to support UNICEF’s work on the ground, including efforts to identify and protect unaccompanied children. During her time there, she witnessed both horrible and heartwarming scenes in Port-au-Prince. Upon her return from Haiti, Perrault visited the U.S. Fund for UNICEF offices in New York and shared some of her thoughts and experiences in a video interview.