The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created in 1946 to provide assistance to women and children in developing nations following World War II. UNICEF was permanently integrated into the UN seven years later. Here’s a brief look at how this organization has grown over the years to serve needy children around the world.
The first UNICEF brand ambassador was movie star Danny Kaye, starting in 1954. He eventually received the French Legion of Honour for promoting the organization. Its primary function has been to raise money from governments and private donors. The organization went on to receive major awards for its community services, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
UNICEF collects about $5 billion per year with offices in over 150 countries. About two-thirds of the organization’s revenue comes from governments and about 92 percent of this money is spent on program services. While the main headquarters is in New York City, the Supply Division is based in Copenhagen as a distribution hub for medicine and other supplies.
Even though UNICEF has six regional offices around the world, it has national committees in 36 countries that operate public fundraising programs. The organization relies on voluntary contributions, which come from a mix of corporations, social organizations and millions of individual donors.
During the 1980s, UNICEF pledged to support children affected by war and HIV/AIDS. It also worked with partners to overcome famine in Africa. Another cause during this period was the Child Survival Revolution with a program called GOBI. “G” stood for growth monitoring and “O” represented organ rehydration therapy. “B” was for breastfeeding and “I” reflected immunization.
During the 2000s, UNICEF rose to the challenge of raising funds to help tsunami victims. The organization went on to play an important role in calling attention to the earthquake devastation in Haiti in 2010. The organization was able to raise awareness about health care and nutrition for children of the island. In the past decade UNICEF has worked on developing programs for children with disabilities.
Since its inception, UNICEF has been committed to raising funds and providing relief for children regardless of race, creed, nationality, status or ideological background. The organization also focuses on protecting the rights and safety of children, as well as providing access to education and legal protection.