The United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF is an organization devoted to saving the lives and promoting the welfare of children worldwide. The organization has made strides in preventing disease, improving sanitation and education about health and hygiene practices. It has also worked to promote gender equality in nations where women are oppressed and discriminated against. At their website, http://www.UNICEF.org, they give detailed information on what the organization is doing to help children around the world, especially in poverty-stricken and disaster areas.
One area in which UNICEF has made great strides to help children is in the prevention of disease. Each year worldwide, millions of children die of preventable illnesses such as malaria, cholera, pneumonia and the measles. The organization has worked to provide children with vaccines against many illnesses. It has also helped to provide communities with safe drinking water. In areas plagued by water-borne illnesses, UNICEF has provided water-purification tablets, as well as sources of clean, fresh water in the form of wells and hand pumps. In places where many children die of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, the organization has worked to help children and pregnant women by providing them with mosquito netting that has been treated with insecticides. Communities are also given aid in constructing sanitary facilities such as latrines. The organization also provides education about basic hygienic practices such as hand-washing.
Promotion of women’s rights and gender equality is another important way in which UNICEF has been able to help children. Discrimination against women is rampant in third-world countries. Of the 875,000 illiterate adults in the world’s population, two-thirds of them are women. Education of women has a direct impact on the health and welfare of children. Studies have shown that worldwide, women with no education are five times less likely than educated women to have basic information about HIV/AIDS. Women and girls are at a greater risk of contracting the virus than men and boys, and 90 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in children under the age of fifteen are transmitted from mother to infant.
In many areas, particularly Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, women have little power to participate in basic household decisions. In households where women are empowered to make these decisions, studies have shown that the health and nutrition of children is dramatically improved. UNICEF has worked not only to improve the education of women and girls, but also to educate boys and men on the importance of gender equality and empowering women to make household decisions. By helping to educate women and reduce gender discrimination, the organization has been able to help children, since women are their primary caregivers.
UNICEF has worked to help children worldwide in the areas of disease prevention, sanitation and hygiene, and the education of women and children worldwide. The organization has made use of the internet to educate the public about the work it does, as well as the work that still needs to be done. Through its website, this organization gives information about its programs and the assistance it provides to the world’s poor, especially its children. It also gives information on what you can do to help.