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UNICEF History

Milestones: 1956-1965




UNICEF votes funds to help countries develop new low-cost protein-rich foods for young children.

Executive Board approves aid for control of goitre through ionization of salt.

Basic equipment is provided this year for over 11,000 maternal and child health centres.


UNICEF decides to strengthen training in pediatrics and preventive medicine in order to improve planning and supervision of health services.

The organization begins aiding “applied nutrition” projects (training schemes and nutrition education combined with production of protective foods through school, community and family gardens, village fish ponds, poultry and small animal farms, home economics and food preservation).

UNICEF income is up to $20 million.


UNICEF accelerates efforts to find effective and economical ways to fortify skim milk powder with vitamins A and D.

Ten years after the image used on the first UNICEF greeting card was created by a Czech girl, sales of the cards reach 10 million.


United Nations General Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, emphasizing children's rights to health care, adequate nutrition, education and welfare. The GA states that aid provided through UNICEF constitutes “a practical way of international co-operation” to help carry out the Declaration’s aims.

Executive Board approves aid for family and child welfare services through parent education, neighbourhood and community centre programmes, day-care services, child welfare services, youth agencies and women’s clubs.


More than 56 million children and nursing and pregnant mothers now benefit from UNICEF-aided health and nutrition projects. Review of experience with maternal and child health services results in greater emphasis on supervision, training, immunization and integration of these services into general health services.

Greater emphasis is also placed on environmental sanitation as an integral part of rural health services stressing health education, community participation, and self-help.

The symbol of a mother and child replaces the old UNICEF emblem of a child with a cup of milk.


A global study of the needs of children paints “a terrible picture of widespread suffering and privation” and the interrelated needs of the whole child, opening the way for UNICEF to increase the scope and flexibility of its approach to children’s problems. UNICEF aid can now be provided for whatever situations are agreed to be most important and ripe for action in particular countries. Aid for education is now possible.

Financial procedures are adopted which put UNICEF resources into more rapid use.


Executive Board emphasizes that wherever possible projects aided should form an integral part of an overall national development effort in order to provide greater national support and continuity.

Supplies and equipment continue to account for over 80 per cent of UNICEF aid; transport is now an important element, with some 11,500 vehicles in country projects.

Annual contributions are received regularly from 100 governments. Income is now $30 million (compared with $20 million in 1957).


UNICEF begins discussions with national planning authorities, regional economic commissions and agencies in the United Nations system on ways for providing more attention to children in development planning. Emphasis is on projects combining related activities, such as health, nutrition, family and child welfare projects, requiring joint planning by several ministries or departments.


In January, the Executive Board meets for the first time in a developing country – in Bangkok, Thailand – with a special agenda item on the needs of Asian children. The Board agrees on programmes for more systematic evaluations of categories and projects aided by UNICEF.

The Board accords a “co-operative relationship” to National Committees for UNICEF, which now number 21.

In April, in an effort to tie in its aid with development and countries’ national plans, UNICEF sponsors an international Round Table Conference on Children and Youth in Development Planning in Bellagio, Italy.


On 19 January, UNICEF Executive Director Maurice Pate dies.  Henry R. Labouisse is appointed to succeed him.

In December, the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to UNICEF in Oslo, Norway, “for the promotion of brotherhood among nations”, linking work for children to world peace.

By 1965. education absorbs 43% of UNICEF’s assistance to Africa.

1946-1955 | 1956-1965 | 1966-1975 
1976-1985 | 1986-1995



History in multimedia

The following multimedia website on UNICEF’s history was released for the organization’s 60th Anniversary. Each segment includes an illustrated timeline, posters and stamps, and video interviews about developments in the given period. Some include music and coins as well.

1946-1959 | 1960-1979
1980-1989 | 1990-1999

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