We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Civil society partnerships

Partnering at Country Level

UNICEF works with CSOs, both formally and informally, in the context of country programmes, the primary vehicle through which UNICEF delivers on its mandate for children. The following section describes some of the key UNICEF programming stages that shape opportunities for partnerships.

A decentralized approach to children’s rights

The heart of UNICEF work is in the field. There, country offices carry out the organization’s mission through a programme of cooperation that is developed together with the host government. To ensure that the needs of children and women are met effectively, UNICEF has a decentralized structure in which country offices are the primary point of programming decision-making. These decentralized offices are supported by seven regional offices and UNICEF headquarters in New York, which provide technical support, guidance and coordination. UNICEF currently carries out programming in over 150 countries worldwide.

UNICEF country programmes

UNICEF country programmes are developed in the context of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), prepared by UN agencies in cooperation with host governments and other partners. The UN country programming process is a collective effort aimed at achieving jointly identified priorities related to human rights and development. At country level UNICEF works in accordance with the UNDAF, providing its expertise on issues related to children and women.

While governments have primary responsibility for administration of national development processes and programmes, civil society also plays an essential role, particularly in implementation. CSOs are often responsible for providing basic services to children and raising awareness about gaps in policy, enforcement and practice on child rights issues. Through advocacy and dialogue, CSOs engage decision makers to ensure that children’s rights are a central component of development and humanitarian action processes.
The UNICEF country programming process involves three main phases: (1) situation analysis and preparation of the country programme; (2) implementation of the country programme; and (3) monitoring and evaluation of results (see figure below). A typical UNICEF country programme lasts for approximately five years. In unstable contexts such as during an emergency, the duration may be shorter.


Preparation and country analysis

Grounded in key human rights and development challenges, the situation analysis aims to clarify the causes of problems children and women face and corresponding rights violations.  It may include specific studies, surveys, reviews and evaluations. CSOs, including groups of children and adolescents, have played an important role in carrying out situation analyses.

The situation analysis uses an equity-based approach that concentrates on vulnerable and marginalized groups. It is supported by a mapping of civil society and private sector partners that could potentially contribute to UNICEF efforts. The situation analysis is part of the UN Common Country Assessment (CCA), which forms the basis for preparation of the UNDAF, which reflects the priority issues agreed on by the UN country team, host government and partners. These priority issues, strategies and allocated responsibilities are then reflected in the UNDAF results matrix.

Implementation of the UNDAF

Once the preparation and analysis have been completed, the members of the UN country team, host government and partners begin to carry out their responsibilities as defined by the UNDAF. At this point, UNICEF and CSOs may form new partnerships, either formal or informal, to carry out work in support of the priority areas related to children.

Monitoring and evaluation of the UNICEF country programme

An important component of programming is monitoring progress towards the desired results. This obligation carries over to CSOs that partner with UNICEF. Monitoring and evaluation processes should provide opportunities for CSOs to give their input on the work carried out, including areas where greater attention is needed.



New enhanced search