In 2006 Cubus entered into cooperation with the UN Children’s Fund, to contribute to UNICEF’s work supporting children’s rights. As the world’s largest organisation for children’s aid UNICEF has offices and workers across the whole world. Since 1946 the organisation has worked with authorities, local communities and families to improve conditions for children and youths across the world, with a mandate from the UN to ensure that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is upheld. UNICEF has been awarded next year’s TV-action (Telethon) for their work with children affected by HIV/aids.
Cubus has chosen to split its economic support for UNICEF into two. Whilst one part will go to UNICEF’s general work to protect children’s rights, the other will go to Child Protection [which works against prostitution, trafficking, child labour etc.] in China, where most of our suppliers are to be found.
Some of UNICEF’s focus areas are:
UNICEF is the world’s largest purchaser of vaccines and accounts for 40% of the world’s total vaccine purchase. UNICEF ventures into the field with its own vaccination programmes, but also distributes vaccines to other aid organisations and hospitals. For example in 1998 UNICEF was in the front line in uniting a range of organisations in the fight against polio. The illness, which was eradicated in Norway in the 1960s, can be prevented with vaccination, but the resources were not in place to combat this the world over. Since 1998 the number of new polio cases has fallen by 99 percent. Late in 2005 both Egypt and Niger were declared polio-free and the illness is now restricted to just four countries. Through 2005 and the beginning of 2006, over 100 million children in 28 African countries were vaccinated. This progress is not just a result of newly developed vaccines, but also the scale of UNICEF’s distribution outlying areas.
Going to school during disasters
UNICEF is one of the principle players during disasters. Among other things, UNICEF has the senior responsibility for schooling. This is an element which helps normalise daily life for children affected by natural disasters or war. UNICEF knows that children need a stable and safe atmosphere with experienced adults. It is important that children have a means to express their thoughts and experiences, not least to help banish those thoughts of what they have been through. For example after the Earthquake in Java earlier this summer, UNICEF was quick to start work on caring for the children affected by the disaster. Over 1 000 school tents, which housed up to 100 000 children, were quickly on site. These tents were also used to collect children so they could get psychological help. In addition the schools received several hundred “school in a box”, each of which contained enough school materials for 80 students and a teacher for three months.
UNICEF is the global voice for children’s rights. With a mandate from the UN to ensure the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and child labour is one of the areas of particular focus. Even though UNICEF wants a total ban on child labour and to ensure free schooling for all children, this is not possible everywhere. The complex problems of this situation cannot be resolved by banning child labour, because then families would lose a valuable income and the child could be forced into other, less safe arenas. For example in Egypt alone, there are estimated to be 2.7 million children between 6 and 14 who are forced to work. In April 2006 the Egyptian government, in cooperation with and at the request of UNICEF, started to step up its work in the fight against child labour. The principle activities are fighting the recruitment of child labour, drastically improve their Health, Safety and the Environment factors as well as integrate schooling into their everyday life