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Structure and contact information

How UNICEF works

© UNICEF/Ukraine/Zmey
Sasha, 10 years old, pays attention in class at a school in Sloviansk, Ukraine

With its strong presence in 190 countries, UNICEF is the world's leading advocate for children.

The heart of UNICEF's work is in the field. Each country office carries out UNICEF's mission through a unique programme of cooperation developed with the host government. This five-year programme focuses on practical ways to realize the rights of children and women. Their needs are analyzed in a situation report produced at the beginning of the programme cycle. Regional offices guide this work and provide technical assistance to country offices as needed. UNICEF's work is fully part of other United Nations activities in a country. 

Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at headquarters, where global policy on children is shaped. Specialized offices include the Supply Division, based in Copenhagen, which provides such essential items as the majority of  life-saving vaccine doses for children in developing countries. The UNICEF Global Shared Services Centre in Budapest provides HR administration, payroll, invoicing, payments, master data and global help desk services to UNICEF staff and offices worldwide.

UNICEF also operates the Innocenti Research Centre in Florence and Offices for Japan and Brussels, which assist with fund-raising and liaison with policy makers.

Many people in industrialized countries first hear about UNICEF’s work through the activities of 34 National Committees for UNICEF. These non-governmental organizations promote children’s rights, raise funds, sell UNICEF greeting cards and products, create key corporate and civil society partnerships, and provide other invaluable support. The committees raise a third of UNICEF's resources.

Well known National Commitee campaigns include Check Out for Children, where guests add a donation to UNICEF to their room bill when checking out; Change For Good®, which enables passengers on international airlines to donate their leftover foreign coins and notes; and 'Trick or Treat for UNICEF,' in which milions of children in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Ireland raise funds for UNICEF.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary funds. Governments contribute two thirds of our resources; private groups and some 6 million individual donors contribute the rest through our National Committees. 

Guiding and monitoring all of UNICEF's work is a 36-member Executive Board made up of government representatives. They establish policies, approve programmes and decide on administrative and financial plans and budgets. Members are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.

UNICEF offices: lists by office type

UNICEF Headquarters
UNICEF Regional Offices
UNICEF National Committees



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