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Category Archives: U.S. Fund People

Field Visit: Providing health care and education for children in Malawi

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— Warmly hosted by the UNICEF Malawi staff, recently a group of U.S. Fund for UNICEF staff and supporters visited the country to see the great breadth of UNICEF’s work and meet the children who are benefitting.
One of the most striking moments was when we visited the schools that UNICEF has helped to develop. By establishing child-friendly schools in the most rural areas of the country, UNICEF is able to demonstrate a commitment to have all kids attend school. The K.I.N.D. Project—Kids In Need of Desks—that was initiated by Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC has proven to be extremely successful.

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Using cartoons to empower children in South Asia

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— Anyone who thinks back to their favorite childhood programs understands the importance of positive childhood entertainment role models that inform and educate communities. As a child, two of my favorite programs were Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Now in my twenties, on early Saturday mornings I often find myself in front of the television watching Mr. Roger or humming the theme song as I put on my favorite sweater. The social and psychological impact of early childhood education programs last a lifetime.
One of UNICEF’s Communication for Development programs is the popular and extremely successful Meena Initiative, which aims to empower the most marginalized, and to prompt debate within homes, schools and community centers.

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Report from Syria: Helping those displaced by violence

Children, women and families receive humanitarian assistance at a school in Damascus which has been converted into an IDP center. © UNICEF/Syria/2012/RRashidi

— Razan Rashidi, communication officer with UNICEF in Damascus, describes how ordinary people have become essential partners to international organisations who are responding to the crisis. Thousands of people have had to leave their homes to seek refuge in safer places, often schools and mosques. By last weekend, at least 15 schools in Damascus and 18 more in outlying areas were housing displaced families. Some people have taken displaced families into their own homes, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for local residents to meet their own needs, let along those of their guests. Conditions in the local schools and mosques are not easy, either, and even young children are stepping up to help.

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Girls’ World Forum: Working together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals

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— Over the past six months that I served as a Global Citizenship Fellow for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in Chicago, I have met many students eager to take action on complex global issues. This month, I joined nearly 400 Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world at the 2012 Girls’ World Forum in Chicago who had gathered to mobilize around the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1, 3 and 7. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from more than 80 countries came together with a common goal—to take action on three of the most prominent global issues of our time: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and empower women, and ensure environmental sustainability.

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Realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation at AIDS 2012

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— This week, the 19th International AIDS Conference—AIDS 2012– is taking place in Washington D.C. This conference is the premiere biannual gathering for all those working or active in the field of HIV/AIDS. Here, participants take stock of the HIV response, share recent scientific developments and collectively chart a course forward. For UNICEF, the conference is an opportunity to renew the commitment to achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2015.

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Horn of Africa famine: one year later

Aden waits with his grandmother and father on the day of his release from the hospital after being treated for severe acute malnutrition. © UNICEF Kenya/2011/Tidey

— One year ago, a humanitarian crisis was taking place in the Horn of Africa. Two million children were at the risk of dying of starvation, and on July 20, 2011 the United Nations declared famine in parts of Somalia. Thanks to the generous support from donors and sponsors, 1 million children have been treated for malnutrition in the region.
On this anniversary we wanted to go beyond just the numbers and get a more personal perspective on the situation. So I sat down with Lisa Szarkowski, Vice President of Public Advocacy and Strategic Communications for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, who had been in the region during the crisis. Lisa told me some very moving stories of the
on-ground situation and the work that UNICEF does.

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