United Kingdom

Uganda Network



The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created by the Unite Nations General Assembly at its first meeting in 1946. It is a condition of UNICEF's mandate that UNICEF is completely non-political. Assistance is given 'on the basis of need, without discrimination because of race, creed, nationality, status or political belief'.

In 1946, and as it has been doing ever since, UNICEF administered to children who had been on both sides of the firing line during the second World War.

For three years UNICEF provided food supplements, particularly of milk, to six million children in 12 countries. UNICEF also helped certain countries to rebuild their dairy industries.

War had not only disrupted the production of food, it had destroyed hospitals and medical supplies. Tuberculosis was almost at epidemic level amongst children and adolescents. A campaign for mass testing and vaccination known as the BCG was conducted jointly with the Scandinavian Red Cross Societies in addition to helping countries rebuild their health services.

It wasn't only food and medical supplies that were needed. The children of Europe were dressed in rags and went barefoot. UNICEF organised cargoes of raw materials for the manufacture of clothing and shoes.

In 1950, with its work in Europe no longer required, UNICEF was not wound-up as was originally intended. The needs of the children in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America were becoming apparent.

UNICEF's mandate was changed to programmes of long-term benefit to children in these countries. As it has in Europe, UNICEF works with governments of developing countries in their efforts to protect their children and enable them to develop their full potential.

UNICEF depends entirely on voluntary contributions from governments, organisations and individuals, to finance its programmes.

UNICEF became simply the United Nations Children's Fund in 1953 but kept its acronym UNICEF.


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Last modified 6 January 2004


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