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United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund

UNICEF was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1946 to help children in the war-devastated countries of Europe. The name was changed to the United Nations Children's Fund when the fund was made a permanent agency within the United Nations in 1953, and that remains its official name today. At that same time, the organization's mandate was expanded to address the problems of children in the developing world, and today it is the largest international agency devoted exclusively to the welfare of children. In 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which defines children's rights to protection, education, health care, shelter and good nutrition; that declaration remains UNICEF's core mission today.

UNICEF provides basic education and community-based health care, including immunization, and technical assistance and supplies for community improvements, including acquisition to clean water and elimination of environmental hazards.

UNICEF funding is entirely voluntary. The agency is supported primarily by governments that annually contribute about two-thirds of the budget. The remainder is raised through special campaigns and fund-raising initiatives.

UNICEF was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize for Peace.

UNICEF's official website is

These Pakistani children are getting clean with soap supplied by UNICEF, in 1958.
washing up with UNICEF soap

Nobel Prize for Peace

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This page was last updated on December 10, 2017.