UNICEF commemorates 70 years of tireless work for children
DHAKA, 12 December 2016 – On the 70th anniversary of it’s founding, UNICEF celebrates the immense progress made for the world’s children – and renews the urgent call to reach millions of children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crisis, poverty, inequality and discrimination.
“UNICEF was founded after World War II to bring help and hope to all children at risk or in need – no matter which country they lived in or what role that country played in the war. Our mission is no less urgent and universal today,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “With so many children around the world in so much need, we are recommitting ourselves to delivering results for every child.”
The organization was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East. Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries. Today, UNICEF is the world’s largest children’s organization, working with partners in 190 countries and territories.
UNICEF’s relentless engagement in the world’s toughest places has helped create remarkable progress for children in recent decades. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday has been more than halved in the past 25 years. Hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty. Out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have been reduced by more than 40 percent since 1990.
Despite this impressive progress, nearly 250 million children are growing up in countries affected by conflict and nearly 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes.
“UNICEF’s vision for the next 70 years is a world in which our work is no longer necessary — a world in which every child is healthy, safe, educated, cared for and protected … and all children can make the most of their potential,” said Lake. “It’s the right thing to do, and the surest path to a better future for us all.”
Celebrating the event with Meher Afroze Chumki, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs; Jean Gough, Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia and its partners, Edouard Beigbeder, Representative, UNICEF Bangladesh, said: “We are the beneficiaries of what our predecessors had done. This puts a great responsibility on us and those after us, to continue UNICEF’s rich legacy.” He also said that UNICEF and its partners over the years had made a great leap forward in making Bangladesh a better place for children and mothers.
Marking the event, UNICEF Bangladesh launched the first ‘Meena Game’ for all android mobile devices through google play store and at a later stage it will be made available for Apple mobile devices as a ‘free’ app.
The animation character Meena is a hugely popular icon of child rights in Bangladesh and across South Asia, this new digital platform creates room for children to learn issues related to their own well-being through entertainment.
The multi-level ‘Meena’ game is downloadable free of cost from Google Play Store and will help children to address a specific problem or to learn a certain skill related to health, nutrition, education, gender equity, protection and disaster response.