UNICEF in action
Best start in life and early childhood development
The first three years of life are very important for a child’s development. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months is the best way to ensure a child’s healthy growth and development, but the practice is quite low in Romania, with only 16% of babies up to the age of 6 months being fed exclusively on their mother’s milk. UNICEF is working for the establishment of baby-friendly hospitals and maternal support groups as a way of increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates. UNICEF also promotes flour fortification as a means of fighting iron deficiency. Babies and young children require stimulation at an early age to have a better chance of developing their full potential, and UNICEF works with the government and its non-governmental organisation partners to increase access for all children to a proper pre-school education and to ensure that parents have a chance of developing parenting skills.
Education for all
UNICEF has developed a wide partnership for the inclusion of vulnerable children in the education system. Girls and boys from rural communities, marginalised urban areas, Roma communities, and those with disabilities will have better access to pre-school education and improved conditions in kindergartens and schools through curriculum development, teacher training, and improved facilities.
Protection of children and adolescents
The protection of children is crucial to their survival, health, and well-being. UNICEF works with its partners to strengthen the systems that prevent and address abuse and exploitation of children, particularly those deprived of parental care or in conflict with the law. UNICEF promotes social policies with a focus on the prevention of child abandonment, protection of children with disabilities, and the improvement of the juvenile justice system.
Young people affected by HIV/AIDS face educational gaps and obstacles to social inclusion. UNICEF works with partners to integrate these young people into social and working environments, to create a better life for them, and to fight stigma and discrimination. Adolescents engaging in risky behaviour, such as injecting drugs and engaging in transactional sex (in which the giving of gifts or services) are the target of UNICEF’s programme to prevent and minimise the risk of HIV infection.
Community level preventive services: UNICEF works with its partners to strengthen the network of social workers, community nurses, and Roma health mediators to increase accessibility and quality of community level health and social services, mainly for vulnerable groups. The focus is on the consolidation of formal and informal community networks of professionals to increase local capacity to prevent violations of child rights, such as the separation of the child from its family, child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Advocacy and Social Policy
To ensure that policy reforms become a reality for children throughout the country, UNICEF works with government and partners at national and local levels to promote better policies for children, and to strengthen institutions and capacities for better monitoring of child rights violations.
Responding to emergencies
UNICEF is always prepared to provide assistance to children and families affected by emergencies, such as yearly flooding.
In 2008, UNICEF had a budget of over USD 4 million, of which 45% were funds raised locally. Since 2005, UNICEF has been developing local fundraising activities, involving both the business sector and individuals in the financing of its programmes in Romania.