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75 years of UNICEF...Reimagine the Future of every Child

"For every child the world losses, the risk of losing sustenance increases". Created on December 11, 1946, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the timely angel, that looks beyond race, ethnicity, sex, beliefs, and location to reach out to every child in need of immediate help.

UNICEF has played a major role in promoting the sustainability of the human race, by its life-saving services to the world's most vulnerable children suffering some negative circumstances such as war and natural disasters resulting from climate change, which they did not ask for.

Just like the statement of its first executive director, Maurice Pate (1947-1965), "There are No Enemy Children", humanity's sustenance lies in protecting every child irrespective of their background. The timely coming of the UNICEF accounts for the wellbeing of thousands of children all over the world. And the question is, what would have been the fate of the Yemeni child if UNICEF was not present to provide him or her with the assurance of achieving their dreams, in a space, many will consider it an arena of no hope for a bright future.

UNICEF which today works in 190 states worldwide, has been able to provide nutrition, Protection, education, sanitation, and important health care services to children in the most trying times such as in conflict times.

The world over and in Cameroon in particular, UNICEF has been at the forefront and has responded to the plight of children since the start of what is now known as the Cameroon anglophone crisis and since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in the country. The organization has reimagined what is possible to help millions of children survive and thrive.

The Cameroon anglophone crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic have dealt a huge blow and disrupted every aspect of children's lives and brought about inequalities; a situation that UNICEF is trying to solve.

UNICEF has been able to defeat diseases, provide essential services, education and skills and develop healthier and safer environments for children and their families everywhere.

As proof of UNICEF's great impact worldwide, in terms of the provision of emergency assistance to children at risk due to a conflict, the case of Burkina Faso in June 2021, can be seen wherein UNICEF was able to assist children and families from the Solhan village with life-saving materials such as food and potable water, as well as mosquito nets, soaps and dignity kits to ensure their wellbeing and build hope amidst the terrible situation they were faced with.

In terms of empowerment, UNICEF can be seen empowering adolescent girls in Ghana (2017-March 2021) by building and boosting Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics skills in them during the lockdown period, which also, in turn, changed the narrative of girls being seen as unable to be in such fields. In terms of the promotion of Education, UNICEF since its creation has been able to foster quality education, the education of girls and especially children in emergencies in states such as India and Benin where inclusive and quality education are today being achieved through UNICEF's provision of sanitation services and more. The works of UNICEF are enormous and its impact is beyond words.

If we should imagine the world without UNICEF, more than 38.8 million children as in the case of West and Central African states such as Benin and Burkina Faso would have been out of school especially as a result of happenings such as pandemics and conflicts worldwide. Without the provision of safe spaces for learning for children on the go due to conflicts by UNICEF, more children would have been left behind, sexually abused, exploited and some lost their lives in spaces such as refugee camps.

A world without UNICEF is unimaginable, as more women and children would have been history, the efforts of UNICEF in promoting gender equality and empowerment for women and girls which in turn powerfully contributes in ensuring the wellbeing of children are efforts which the world today would have lived in grave regrets for not addressing.

A world without UNICEF would have been the loss of the lives of more children due to the lack of access to food. UNICEF in its efforts, has greatly contributed to the feeding of malnourished children, this can be seen through its purchase of foods that have been able to revive children from the verge of death due to poor, limited, ed, and unavailable diets/meals without which, their lives would have been lost.

It is safe to say that the works of UNICEF are 'unqualifiable' as its impact will be felt in generations to come. 

UNICEF has been and is still a powerful tool in saving the world's most vulnerable and affected children.

UNICEF can be described as the emergency contact which every child in emergency irrespective of origin or location can call to its rescue.

In our ever-changing world, pandemics and conflicts are bound to sometimes take us unaware, hence ensuring that standby measures are always in place to rescue the world's most vulnerable and affected population which are children is of the essence. To this, the world forever needs the United Nations Children's Fund.

By Nji Nelson Chefor

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