Today is the International Day of Peace, established by the United Nations to help strengthen the ideals of peace around the world. But did you know that UNICEF actually considers children “zones of peace”? This idea of putting children above the political fray led to UNICEF’s groundbreaking work negotiating ceasefires for humanitarian work. The first of these took place in El Salvador in 1985, when then-UNICEF Executive Director James Grant negotiated three “days of tranquility.”
Category Archives for "UNICEF in the Field"
Recently, Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF Afghanistan’s Deputy Representative, visited UNICEF headquarters in New York. Jennifer Lee spoke with her about UNICEF’s work in Afghanistan, which emphasizes polio eradication, child survival, and giving girls equal access to education.
From the photos that accompany this blog post, you’ll see that I’ve been traveling with a group of really tall men. Last week, NBA greats Dikembe Mutombo, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Nick Collison were on the road with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF on a field visit to UNICEF projects in northern Kenya. They visited refugee camps at Kakuma, medical facilities in Makutano, and children’s shelters in Lodwar.
But what I’ve learned about these men is that it isn’t their extraordinary height that makes them remarkable, or the fact that each can palm an infant as easily as they can palm a basketball—it’s their super-sized hearts.
It’s back-to-school time, and many parents are busy buying school supplies, backpacks and new clothes. But sadly, not all parents can afford to buy pen and paper for their children, or even send them to school. In post-quake Haiti, rebuilding education is a major priority, and UNICEF is working closely with the government to get children back to school. Supplies like school-in-a-box kits, notebooks, pens and pencils are essential tools in supporting children’s learning. Three children and their school director at a UNICEF-supported school in Port-au-Prince share their story.
It’s amazing how well young people can communicate without relying on language. Children can overcome a language barrier with a warm smile, a cool handshake or a slick dance move. At least that was the case with the kids we meet on a recent field visit we took to Tanzania with NBA and Olympic basketball star Tyson Chandler.
The very tall (7’1”) center for the New York Knicks was fresh off his gold-medal winning performance with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team in London. But instead of heading back to the U.S. for the many celebrations and parties set to get underway for the triumphant team, Tyson opted to travel to Africa and personally experience the work UNICEF is doing to fight for the survival and development of every child in need.
Every four months the U.S. Fund for UNICEF puts out a terrific magazine, called Every Child. The magazine features stories on issues affecting children around the world, gives updates on UNICEF’s work, and highlights the efforts of UNICEF partners and supporters.
This issue’s cover story, “UNICEF in the Urban World,” takes place in Thailand—but it reflects the plight of many poor children in cities everywhere.