Originally named United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF was founded by the General Assembly on 11 December 1946 to help the children in Europe. This continent was devastated by the Second World War and many children were homeless or starving.
Milk and food were distributed, as well as blankets and shoes. Also UNICEF was active in the field of public health. The intention was to dissolve UNICEF after the reconstruction of Europe.
Mostly Asian representatives in the General Assembly had enough reasons not to dissolve UNICEF. They pointed out that the children in Europe arrived at their emergency situation because of the war, but that in many parts of the world children lived permanently in terrible conditions. Thus UNICEF got a permanent mandate to help children growing up in poverty worldwide. UNICEF's name was shortened in 1953 to United Nations Children's Fund, but the acronym UNICEF remained.
UNICEF these days supports aid projects in the field of health, nutrition, education, water and protection in almost 155 countries. Education for girls, immunisation and protection of children against measles, polio and malaria, protection of children against (sexual) exploitation and violence and preventing the further spread of HIV/AIDS and the care for AIDS orphans have priority.
Other major achievements of UNICEF are the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the World Action Plan for Children and the International Year of the Child.
Around the world many volunteers sell UNICEF products, the most famous being the post cards, to raise money for the organization. Over the years fund raising activities were held in all shapes and sizes. Local activities are organized the whole year round. Larger activities included the special Gala d'UNICEF a live Eurovision broadcast from Milan with Petula Clark, Paul Anka, Peter Ustinov and Udo Jurgens on 15 December 1973.
Many famous persons are national or international UNICEF ambassadors. This tradition was started in 1954 by entertainer Danny Kaye from the United States. One of the first singers to contribute to UNICEF was Catharina Valente who received a golden record at UN Headquarters for the first UNICEF benefit record. Another famous goodwill ambassador was actress Audrey Hepburn who travelled throughout the world to focus attention on the position of children in difficult situations. Other goodwill ambassadors include Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte, Vanessa Redgrave and Nana Mouskouri.
The official UNICEF website.
Flag of UNICEF in Flags of the World.
Article on UNICEF in Wikipedia.
Stamp catalogue - general issues
Netherlands 25 November 2004
Netherlands 24 November 2005
Netherlands 23 November 2006
Slovakia 1 June 2000
Niger 11 December 1967