70 YEARS AND COUNTING
Seven decades ago, the world was recovering from a devastating world war. For millions of child survivors of that war, peace still encompassed a landscape of significant challenges and damaged futures. UNICEF was created to help those children – no matter who they were, no matter where they were from. The only thing that mattered for the nascent organization was achieving results for children in need.
Today, UNICEF’s network, which spans the globe, offers innovative solutions and tested expertise, and is still getting results for the world’s children – regardless of their background. The only thing that matters is helping the furthest from help, reaching the most left behind and including the most excluded.
Scaling up results in 2016
UNICEF has made an important impact over the years – particularly when measured by the gains of the past three decades – in areas such as child survival, primary education enrolment and access to safe water. In 2016, UNICEF scaled up its global results.
It was one of the most dangerous years to be a child in recent memory. Conflicts and crises around the world threatened and displaced millions. Millions more faced poverty, deprivation, violence, exploitation and discrimination. For its part, UNICEF responded to 344 humanitarian emergencies in 108 countries.
In all these emergencies, UNICEF played a lead role in coordinating the response by United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations and local partners to provide safe water and sanitation, nutrition and education. The organization’s worldwide supply chain dispatched help accurately and speedily.
Just as important, in the aftermath of those crises, UNICEF remained on the ground to deliver. Through cross-sectoral protection, education, social inclusion and health interventions, UNICEF enhanced childhoods even as it helped save lives. Recognizing that disaster recovery lays the foundation for long-term development, UNICEF helped communities prepare for future crises and climate shocks, thus easing the path for children to fulfil their potential.
Innovation and partnerships
UNICEF continued to use cost-effective strategies to ensure that every possible dollar went towards services for children. As one of the world’s largest buyers of vaccines, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and nutritional therapies, UNICEF’s leverage helped bring down the costs of saving lives.
In support of these savings, UNICEF innovation teams and partnerships unveiled new technologies and products designed to reach the hardest-toreach children and communities.
For example, the Magic Box Initiative – a partnership with Google, IBM and Telefonica – collects and analyses real-time data to improve emergency responses. The UNICEF RapidPro mobile platform continues to help reduce maternal and childhood mortality, including in rural areas of Zambia, where HIV-positive mothers can now find out the status of their child in half the time it used to take. UNICEF’s Internet of Good Things is bridging the digital divide in more than 40 countries, reaching more than a million people a month with offline education and life-saving information. Also in 2016, UNICEF piloted a humanitarian drone to accelerate HIV test result delivery in Malawi and a mobile phone birth registry in Pakistan.
A dedicated Innovation Fund is financing promising early-stage projects like these, and UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre is expanding the most effective initiatives.
Engaged and empowered
As an organization entirely reliant on voluntary contributions, UNICEF depends on governments, NGOs and the private sector to make its work possible. In turn, the organization’s credibility, impartiality and record of results make it a valued partner.
UNICEF’s research on issues affecting children routinely provides reference points for policy makers and advocacy professionals. An enormous presence on social media amplifies the organization’s work to a growing global audience.
In addition, UNICEF has launched a new framework to bring together advocacy, communications, fundraising and public engagement efforts on critical issues affecting children – including refugee and migration issues, child survival, early childhood development and violence against children. The approach is already yielding positive results, reaching key audiences and motivating them to action.
For more information on efforts by UNICEF and its partners to generate public awareness and action on a range of issues affecting the world’s most vulnerable children, see the ‘@UNICEF:
Advocacy in 2016’ items featured throughout this report.
Most important, in everything UNICEF does, it engages and empowers young people to have a voice in decisions that affect them. In 2016, the world’s children and adolescents needed that support as much as ever – and UNICEF was there, 70 years on, still working to achieve results for every child.