UNICEF Papua New Guinea

About Papua New Guinea

Country programme

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UNICEF Papua New Guinea

© UNICEF PNG/2013/Sokhin

UNICEF is a major driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision makers, and the wide variety of partners at the grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. This combination of the global and the local makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. More than sixty years ago UNICEF was founded with the goal of working with governments and other partners to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination place in a child’s path. And each and every day since the organization’s founding, UNICEF has unswerving focus on that noble goal. We know that, working together, we can truly advance the collective cause of all humanity.

We advocate for measures to give children – all children – the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for an individual future. To this end, we make special efforts to promote girls’ education – ensuring that they complete primary education as a minimum – because every child, regardless of gender, has the right to learn. Girls who are educated grow up to become better thinkers, better citizens, and better parents to their own children, and thus are essential to the advancement of their communities and their countries. We are also the world’s largest agent of child immunization against common childhood diseases, and we work tirelessly to ensure that all children are well nourished, because no child should suffer or die from a preventable illness or malnutrition.


In Papua New Guinea (PNG), UNICEF’s ability to work effectively both ‘upstream’ (with governments) and ‘downstream’ (at the grassroots level) is what differentiates us from other development organizations, important as they are. UNICEF carries out its mission through a programme of cooperation jointly developed with the government, and it is this programme of cooperation that guides our work in the country. In this way, we support the government’s national development priorities, and thus avoid any duplicated or conflicting programmes. As a result, UNICEF is able to maximise the use of its resources for children.

Through its programme of cooperation with the Government of PNG, UNICEF is also able to influence major policy and programme decisions, and the allocation of budget priorities, for the benefit of children. In addition, UNICEF works closely with civil society organizations, the media, and academia to act as ‘pressure points’ to trigger public debates on child rights and development issues.

At the grassroots level UNICEF is turning the most innovative ideas into reality. Working closely with local non-governmental organizations, UNICEF has strengthened the capacity of the often remote districts and communities in the areas of health, justice, and access to education. UNICEF also provides direct assistance to the population in some areas, providing drugs, vaccines, and nutritional supplements.

Our programme

The main focus of our programme is providing training, technical expertise, and mentoring to skill-up the people of Papua New Guinea at all levels – from the central government to the local community – to enable them to help themselves and to build the capacity of the social welfare sector. To this end, we help draft manuals and to train and supervise health workers, police, and teachers at the national, district, and community level so that these key individuals are aware of the essential needs, rights, and laws affecting women and children.

UNICEF works most effectively through on-the-ground and community-based partners, such as church groups and civil society organizations, which already have access to local populations. By providing them with funding grants, guidance, and communication materials to disseminate key messages – including the importance of hand-washing and breastfeeding – UNICEF is “getting the message out.”

In addition to initial and ongoing training, regular supervision and monitoring is a key element of UNICEF’s work. Our staff travel throughout the country ensuring that adequate nutrition and health, protection, and education services are made available to all children, however remote the area in which they live. We also undertake research and surveys to monitor levels of and access to education, immunisation, and health services, for example





Papua New Guinea at a Glance


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