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Early Childhood


Mothers fight malnutrition in Burkina Faso, one child at a time
YAKO, Burkina Faso, 8 November 2017 – In Yako, in Burkina Faso’s Northern Province, Awa slowly approaches the group of women, her twin toddlers draped one in front and one behind.

Investing in better care during babies' first days is saving lives in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 3 November 2017 – “She is the daughter I dreamed to have,” says Nargiza. “When I reach into the incubator, I touch her hands, her legs, to give her my love.” Inside the incubator rests little Omurkal – Nargiza’s first child – who was born at 30 weeks.

Communities make children’s early learning possible in Timor-Leste
VIQUEQUE, Timor-Leste, 25 September 2017 – “Ida, rua, tolu, hat, lima, nen, hitu, walu. Se mak badinas ba eskola buka matenek to’o hetan. Haksolok ba, haksolok ba, hader dader saan ba eskola” (One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. We love to go to school to get knowledge. Be happy, be happy. Wake up in the morning to go to school).

In one of El Salvador’s most dangerous neighbourhoods, a father creates a brighter future for his children
SANTO TOMAS, El Salvador, 8 September 2017 – Shortly after Lupita Corena was born 11 years ago, her parents separated. They decided Lupita would stay with her father, David.

A father from the start: Promoting early childhood development in Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, 2 August 2017 – When Eduardo and his wife Margalys decided that they wanted to have children, he wasn’t sure what it would be like to be a father, but he was committed to being a good one. They attended family planning services together, and eventually prenatal sessions when they became pregnant.

The Dominican Republic’s invisible children
SAN JOSÉ DE LOS LLANOS, Dominican Republic, 28 July 2017 – You won’t find the small town of San José de los Llanos in tourist brochures about the Dominican Republic. Rain runs through the muddy gravel streets and the water has crept into the home of Isabel, Jorge Luis and their son Brandon.

Thousands of community health workers bring lifesaving services to mother and baby in rural Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 29 June 2017 – It’s Tuesday evening and Nancy Tucker has finished tending her plot of potatoes and okra. She packs her tools and heads back to the village. Once there, she’ll see to the community’s latest crop – of newborn babies. Nancy has been serving her community as a volunteer community health worker since 2008.

In Namibia, a new mother brings early childhood development to her community
MASIDA VILLAGE, 25 April 2017 – The year 2013 was a positive turning point for Vivian Ndungati from Masida village, in north-east Namibia’s Zambezi Region. At the age of 23, Vivian gave birth to her first child and soon discovered a passion for helping children get a good start in life.

In Mali, preschool and super parents help young children flourish
SIBY-SIBY, Mopti region, Mali, 6 March 2017 – In the small farming village of Siby-Siby in central Mali, parents don't have a lot of toys for their children to play with at home.

Vitamin enriched flour to help prevent birth defects in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 3 March 2017 – Ever since Abdurahim* was born two months ago, his mother Alima has been struggling to understand why. Why her boy was born with spina bifida, a severe neural defect.

Community kindergartens address preschool education gap in Kyrgyzstan
BATKEN/KARAKOL, Kyrgyzstan, 26 October 2016 – Four-year-old Malika has been going to community kindergarten in the village of Yrdyk, Issyk-Kul province for the past several months. “I play there with girls and draw letters. I like it in kindergarten,” she says.

A day in the life of a teacher in Ethiopia
BENISHANGUL-GUMUZ, Ethiopia, 5 October 2016 – Bek’elech Merga wakes up every morning at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for her classes. As a young elementary school teacher, she teaches grade 5 at ShimelaKono School in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region in the western part of the country.

In Namibia, ‘Little Bugs’ brings early childhood development to the desert
SOSSUSVLEI, Namibia, 12 September 2016 – Thirteen years ago, Jeanette Swartbooi, 38, relocated to Sossusvlei, in the middle of the Namib Desert. This move was in response to a breakthrough in employment opportunities in the booming tourism industry. The testimony of her life today demonstrates the paradox of how this employment opportunity has resulted in her children being excluded from essential social services such as schools, health facilities and even shops.

Transforming the lives of Indonesian children with early childhood education
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 12 August 2016 – A rare sound of children’s laughter can be heard at Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, where normally Government staff and their partners focus on developing and implementing education policies. A little girl carrying a doctor’s kit declares that she wants to be a pilot. “I also want to be a doctor, and a teacher,” she proudly tells the high-level delegation of officials from the Governments of Indonesia and New Zealand.

In Guinea-Bissau, exclusive breastfeeding protects the lives of infants and mothers
BIANGA, Guinea-Bissau, 2 August 2016 – The village of Bianga is located in Guinea-Bissau’s Cacheu Region, near the Cacheu river that feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. It is nearly 100 km from the capital, Bissau, and accessed by a bumpy dirt road that disappears under the dense canopy of cashew and palm trees. The only sound to be heard is the call of birds and the drone of cicadas in the afternoon heat.

In drought-stricken Ethiopia, stopping measles in its tracks
TIGRAY REGION, Ethiopia, 27 April 2016 – The little girls and boys line up at the Mereb Mieti Health Centre, rolling up their sleeves and baring their arms in turn as the nurse deftly administers the measles vaccine.

In Sierra Leone, saving lives with early infant diagnosis of HIV
KENEMA, Sierra Leone, 20 July 2016 – On a sunny day eastern Sierra Leone, Gladys Gassama gently welcomes a middle aged woman into her counselling room with a broad smile.

Making strides to improve maternal health in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 26 May 2016 – It’s antenatal care day at the George Brook Community Health Centre in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. A group of pregnant women chat and giggle as they sit on a long wooden bench in the corridor, each waiting her turn to see the midwife. In the delivery room, 28-year-old Zainab Turay struggles to handle the pain as her second child makes his way into the world.

In Timor-Leste’s remote communities, parents and children learn together
MATAHOI, Timor-Leste, 23 May 2016 – At the stroke of 8 a.m., a ringing bell echoes through the remote village of Matahoi in Timor-Leste’s Viqueque municipality. As the sound fades, Olympia Carvalho, a 26-year-old mother of three, makes her way to the village centre in this small agricultural community, which is located 170 kilometres east of the country’s capital, Dili.

Saving lives during childbirth in rural Liberia
KONOBO, Liberia, 12 May 2016 – Deep in the heart of Grand Gedeh County, Liberia, a newborn baby lies on a bed in the Konobo rural health centre. She is wrapped in a red and black lappa – a traditional Liberian cloth – and nurses and midwives come over periodically to check on her.

A head start in Timor-Leste
LAUANA GROTO, Timor-Leste, 20 April 2016 – As soon as the teacher tosses the football outside, all the young preschoolers in Lauana Groto village, Timor-Leste, jump up from their small blue chairs. Just a split second after she utters the word “outside”, the children are on their way, excitedly running to the playground in preparation for the next lesson.

Clubs, books and tape: The low-tech solutions saving children’s lives in Sierra Leone
ROGBONKO, Sierra Leone, 13 April 2016 – It’s eight o’clock on a Saturday morning, and the Rogbonko village centre fills with cheerful song and laughter as women gather around a simple picture book. This is the weekly meeting of the Rogbonko mothers’ support group, where pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and mothers with young children from the community come together to learn about nutrition.

Mothers take on malnutrition in Burundi
KIRUNDO, Burundi, 22 February 2016 – “Prices here have increased,” says Anastasie Sinzobakwira, cradling her son outside the Kirundo hospital. His name is Joseph. He is 5 years old, and severely malnourished. “One kilogram of rice was [BIF]1,200 last year, and now it’s 1,500. It’s the same thing with sweet potatoes. They were 1,000 before, and they’re 1,800 now.”

A lifeline for mothers and babies in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 29 December 2015 – Marie Tarawally disembarks slowly from the motorbike taxi, holding baby Yusufu. The two have travelled seven miles along the dusty roads that connect their village, Robuya, to Pate Bana Marank community health centre, in Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone.

Caring for malnourished children in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone
KONO DISTRICT, Sierra Leone, 11 December 2015 – “I had reached a point where I thought my child was going to die,” says Francess, the mother of 1-year-old Naomi Sam. Francess thinks that she could have lost Naomi if a community health worker had not recognized the young child was suffering from malnutrition.

Keys to reducing child mortality in Sudan
EL GENEINA, West Darfur, Sudan, 4 December 2015 – In a small concrete hospital ward in El Geneina, a tiny girl lies next to her mother beneath a striped yellow and white sheet. The temperature outside is at least 40° C (104° F). On the ceiling, a single fan rotates slowly in the gloom, but it makes little difference. The room, lit by two white lightbulbs, is hot and stuffy.

In Myanmar, uniting for children’s health and nutrition
KACHIN STATE, Myanmar, November 2015 - “I could hear the planes bombing the area, the constant gun shots and mine explosions,” Lwan No recalls. Lwan No was caught in the middle of the civil conflict in Kachin State, in northern Myanmar. To save her life, Lwan No fled her village empty-handed.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a partnership to save children from malnutrition
KAILO, Democratic Republic of Congo, 13 October 2015 – Dada Furaha, 18, is a relieved mother since she learned how to protect her 18-month-old son Jean-Marie from malnutrition. The boy had been very ill, developing oedemas and losing appetite and weight. His mother took him to the health centre in her village of Kailo, and the child was put on urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

The struggle to reach Syrian children with quality nutrition
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 September 2015 – At 6 months old, Youssef, suffering from severe acute malnutrition, weighed just 3.2 kg (7 lb). His mother was extremely worried. The little boy had also been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs, and his body was so frail, he struggled to breathe. His life was in danger.

In Ethiopia, a partnership to improve nutrition
GEMECHIS, Ethiopia, 24 August 2015 – Early in the morning, one-and-a-half-year-old Mikias Asnake laughs as his mother, Meseret Haile, bathes him at home in the Gemechis woreda (district), in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Meseret is preparing to join a community conversation at the nearby Wolargi health post, to learn how to ensure the health of children and mothers in the community.

In Chad, health care for mothers and babies around the clock
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 7 August 2015 – After spending a few minutes chatting with Roseline Tallot, one quickly realizes that she is not an ordinary person. Her eyes emanate inner strength and deep wisdom. Her voice is soft, but her words make an impression in the heart and soul.

In Nepal, a partnership for improving child and maternal nutrition
MANGALSEN, Nepal, 28 July 2015 – It is a happy day for Madan Sunar and his family. After a three-month stay in hospital, the 4-year-old from Achham district, in the Far-Western region of Nepal, is finally going home with his parents and 2-year-old brother.

In Pakistan, countering malnutrition among the most vulnerable
MITHI, Pakistan, 20 July 2015 – “Raising children has not been easy for me,” says Pushpa, 27. “Each one of my daughters was underweight at the time of birth, and I had to take them to the doctor frequently, as they would often fall sick.”

Breast milk banks are a sound investment in the health of Brazil's premature babies
FORTALEZA, Brazil, 15 November 2013 – Except for the shuffling of new mothers and nurses in protective gowns and slippers, it’s very quiet in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cesar Cals Hospital. Thirty or more incubators and small plastic cribs each hold a tiny, premature, high-risk baby who is struggling to survive.

In Turkey, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov plays for early childhood education
ISTANBUL, Turkey, 31 October 2013 – World-renowned violinist and conductor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov visited the Gülen Üstünel Preschool in Istanbul to support the A Child in Preschool Education with TL 25 Once A Month fundraising campaign.

Early Childhood Peace Consortium launched at UNICEF
NEW YORK, United States of America, 25 September 2013 – “In every language, there is a word for peace; in every language, there is a word for children,” said Senior Adviser in the Early Childhood Development Unit at UNICEF Dr. Pia Britto, opening the launch of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium on 20 September at UNICEF House in New York.

In India, pilot programme builds skills to save mothers and newborns
PATNA, India, 20 November 2012 - “Insert it slowly, from the nose, down to the stomach. Be careful, or you may enter the lungs. Gudda is just a day old,” the doctor calls out.

In Haiti, kangaroo mother care helps stabilize the health of premature babies
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 16 November 2012 - Marie Michelle François lies on a bed in the neonatal unit. Her newborn baby is strapped to her stomach in a stretchy wrap. His head is covered with a thick knit hat, despite the sweltering heat. Born at 32 weeks, he is one week old and weighs less than three pounds. His eyes flutter, but he does not awaken.

In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic face new challenges
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 16 October 2012 - Ten-year-old Ahmed* and his family have come to Lebanon from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian Arab Republic. They fled their camp near Damascus when fighting intensified. One day, Ahmed’s 12-year-old sister Mona had stumbled across a bloody corpse close to their home.

CNN and UNICEF raise awareness of the silent emergency of child stunting
New York, United States of America, 16 October 2012 - CNN has partnered with UNICEF to put the international spotlight on the global crisis of stunting, or low height for age in children. About 165 million children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting, with more than 90 per cent of them living in Africa and Asia.

In Malawi, compulsory universal birth registration protects children from abuses and opens access to social services
LILONGWE, Malawi, 10 October 2012 - Newborn Joshou Nandola is bundled warmly in a big woolly blanket. Joshou’s name is written on his birth report. Joshou will know his birthday.

UNICEF and partners respond to the refugee situation in Maban, South Sudan
BUNJ, South Sudan, 5 October 2012 - You can hear the heavy rains outside the hospital in Bunj, in Maban County, South Sudan. Inside, Dr. Evan Atar treats 2-year-old Mustapha for severe malnutrition.

In Cambodia, a push to bring healthcare to remote areas
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 4 October 2012 - Baby Moeun has just come into the world. Though he doesn’t know it, he has a difficult journey ahead of him.

In the Central African Republic, parent-teachers provide basic education in conflict-affected area and beyond
OBO, Central African Republic, 3 October 2012 - Since 2009, when attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began in the area, the number of people fleeing their homes in and around the rural town of Obo, Central African Republic, has increased significantly.

Nutrition takes centre stage at United Nations headquarters
NEW YORK, United States of America, 27 September 2012 - Nutrition was the focus of a high-level event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations headquarters, New York.

United Nations Secretary-General hosts high-level polio meeting
NEW YORK, United States of America, 28 September 2012 - Yesterday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the most important meeting on polio eradication of the past 20 years.

In Nepal, a national plan has been launched to improve maternal and child nutrition
KATHMANDU, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, 27 September 2012 – Nepal took a historic step last week as diverse sectors came together in pursuit of a common goal – to reduce undernutrition.

United Nations Secretary-General launches global education initiative
NEW YORK, 26 September 2012 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a global education initiative designed to get every child into school.

Pursuing universal salt iodization in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 21 September 2012 - From the outside, the clinic does not look like a health clinic at all. It is one of many modest buildings huddled together under the blazing sun, surrounded by a sea of tents. But inside, the clinic bustles with activity. Women queue to receive food, pregnant women sit waiting patiently on folded chairs, and, everywhere, babies squirm, bawl and slumber in their mothers’ arms.

In Malaysia, family-friendly workplaces give children and business a boost
SERI KEMBANGAN, Malaysia, 21 September 2012 - On a Monday morning, 5-year-old Lyana is getting ready for preschool. Like many children, she comes from a dual-income family who rely on child care outside the home. What sets them apart is that Lyana attends preschool at her mother’s workplace, Kein Hing Industry.

In facing nutrition crisis, the Niger benefits from lessons learned
MADAROUNFA, Maradi region, Niger, 10 September 2012 - Ouma Abdul sits on a cot at the Madarounfa Pediatric Intensive Feeding Centre comforting her underweight 18-month-old daughter Nafiza. Despite the promise of a good harvest, hospitals and health centres across the country are filled to capacity with young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

In facing nutrition crisis, the Niger benefits from lessons learned
MADAROUNFA, Maradi region, Niger, 10 September 2012 - Ouma Abdul sits on a cot at the Madarounfa Pediatric Intensive Feeding Centre comforting her underweight 18-month-old daughter Nafiza. Despite the promise of a good harvest, hospitals and health centres across the country are filled to capacity with young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

Education a first step to improving nutrition security in Burkina Faso
OUAHIGOUYA, Burkina Faso, 10 September 2012 - A thin dusting of bright green shoots covers the sandy plains around Ouahigouya, in northwest Burkina Faso. Recent rains have broken a three-year drought, and vegetation in this arid region has come to life.

Podcast #62: Inspiring children to dream, through play
NEW YORK, United States of America, 6 September 2012 – Two years ago, when big blue blocks made of moulded foam appeared at Burling Slip in New York City, parents and children from the neighbourhood rushed to try out the unusual playground. The blocks were lightweight and easy to move around. Children immediately started using them to form shapes, build different structures and create entire new environments of their own.

Partnership opens new doors for preschoolers in rural Georgia
KHASHURI, Georgia, 4 September 2012 - The kindergarten in Tezeri village, in the Khashuri district of Georgia, may seem like any kindergarten, anywhere in the world. A dozen children, 3 to 5 years old, play with plastic building blocks, piece together puzzles and draw pictures. Encouraged by their teacher, some proudly recite traditional nursery tales.

Fragile newborns survive against the odds
TAMALE, Ghana, 7 August 2012 - Awintirim Atubisa spent the first two months of his life tied to his mother’s chest in a cloth ‘pouch’, just like a baby kangaroo. When he was born, six weeks premature, he weighed 1.3kg and was at risk of hospital-acquired infection, severe illness and respiratory tract disease.

The Barrier makes getting to school a daily ordeal for children in Abu Dis, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 July 2012 – Karimeh Khatib wakes up every morning at 6 a.m., worried about her journey to work. She had been a teacher at the Comboni Convent pre-school centre in East Jerusalem for 20 years when, two years ago, her commute to school turned from a simple 10-minute walk to a daily trial involving escorting 4- and 5-year-olds through an Israeli-controlled checkpoint, with a bus ride at either end.

In Georgia, a quiet revolution in pre-school education
KUTAISI, Georgia, 16 July 2012 – Kindergarten No. 17 in Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, seems at first glance like a typical Soviet-era establishment: large, imposing and utilitarian, surrounded by run-down apartment blocks.

In Bangladesh, early childhood education is a strategic investment for the future
NEW YORK, USA, 24 May 2012 – Five-year-old Shawpona lives in a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In this overcrowded urban community, row after row of straw and iron shacks are squeezed tightly together. Living conditions are difficult.

Social media campaign offers critical support to breastfeeding mothers in China
BEIJING, China, 4 May 2012 – When Xiaoyu Su, from Fujian Province, tried to convince her parents that her newborn daughter should be fed breastmilk and nothing else, she was criticized for being stubborn. Nevertheless, Ms. Su is proud that she managed to exclusively breastfeed her daughter for the first 6 months of life.

UNICEF Executive Director announces new global immunization strategy
NEW YORK, USA, 25 April 2012 – This week, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, alongside partners in the newly renamed Measles and Rubella Initiative, launched a new global strategy aimed at reducing measles deaths and congenital rubella syndrome to zero.

Slow but steady results in Angola’s fight against malaria
LUANDA, Angola, 25 April 2012 – Today, 25 April, is World Malaria Day, an event that calls attention to the critical need bring malaria under control.

Podcast #56: Global Action Week promotes early childhood education
NEW YORK, USA, 23 April 2012 – Every year, more than 200 million children under age 5 are not able to reach their full potential in cognitive development potential due to poverty, conflict, malnutrition, inadequate care and lack of educational opportunities.

In Lao PDR, media workshop encourages positive, holistic early childhood development
VIENTIANE, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 28 March 2012 – Stunts by a miniature red buffalo stole the show at a recent ceremony held to screen new media productions for children in Lao PDR.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, improving rural lives with essential services
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 16 February 2012 – Rasema lives with her husband and two boys, aged 3 and 6, in the rural community of Gornja Tuzla, some 10 km from the industrial town of Tuzla.

In Uzbekistan, child-friendly preschools are engaging children and improving education
BUKHARA, Uzbekistan, 2 February 2012 – In Bukhara, southern Uzbekistan, music and laughter drifted across Preschool Number 11.

In Yemen, day care centres offer safe haven and education to Somali refugee children
ADEN, Yemen, 30 January 2012 – The voice of Miryam Mohammed, a 10-year-old Somali girl, echoed around the small rooms of her day care centre. She and the other children are singing the Somali national anthem.

In post-quake Haiti, early childhood development aids recovery
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 January 2012 – It might look like simple fun, but the dominos, colouring pencils, construction blocks, hand puppets, puzzle pieces and memory games in Jean Pierre’s school are about more than just a good time.

UNICEF Ambassador Novak Djokovic marks holiday season by supporting children
NEW YORK, USA, 21 December 2011 – World number-one ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic continues to serve up aces for children. The UNICEF National Ambassador to Serbia marked the holiday season by lending his voice and financial support for vulnerable children both in his native Serbia and around the world.

Innovative programme brings pre-school education to the most vulnerable
NEW YORK, USA, 12 December 2011—Mohammad Azizul Islam, 28, is a trader in Chinipara, in the remote Rangpur region of Bangladesh. As a landless man, he has very few opportunities to make a living.

Field diary: Marsupials are model mums in Ghana
TAMALE, Ghana, 7 December 2011 – Kangaroos were the last thing I expected to be discussing with my new colleagues when I arrived in West Africa last month. When I moved from Australia to Tamale to write about UNICEF’s work there, I had braced myself for the unfamiliar – villages of squat mud huts, gritty harmattan winds and the crackled sound of the muezzin’s call to prayer.

UNICEF aims to make nutrition a national priority in Niger
Kollo, Niger, 17 November 2011 – In the Integrated Health Center of Kollo, South Niger, a few women holding their emaciated babies line up in front of the out-patient therapeutic feeding center (CRENAS). Zelika Marou has four children. Today, she brought her 11-month-old daughter, Fati Hama, for her weekly consultation.

Early Childhood Development providing a better start for South African children
CAPETOWN, South Africa, 14 November 2011 - The day begins early for Lindiwe Lindiwe, a 21-year-old mother of two. Before the sun has broken over the horizon, she has already started cooking the porridge for two-year-old Vuyelwa while she also feeds and dresses four-week-old Siya. Once the two girls are dressed and ready, she walks ten minutes up the hill to the Imizamo’yethu Day Care Centre.

In Angola, community health workers help in the fight against malaria
LUANDA PROVINCE, Angola, 14 November 2011 – When two of her daughters came down with a fever, Conceição Antonió, 28, didn’t think of malaria at first, despite the fact that it’s the number-one killer of children in Angola. In fact, children under five years of age comprise 52 per cent of all deaths from malaria nationwide.

UNICEF-IKEA partnership delivers toys to Haitian children, income to women
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 25 October 2011 – Children run after a small truck winding its way through Centre d’Hebergement Tabarre 23, a crowded camp where hundreds of people live in tents of plastic sheeting and shacks of wood and tin.

UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, Novak Djokovic, visits an inclusive kindergarten in Smederevo
SMEDEREVO, Serbia, 27 September 2011- UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, Novak Djokovic, recently paid a visit to a unique kindergarten or “Pcelica” in Smederevo, some 50 kilometres south east of the Serbian capital of Belgrade. An excellent example of an inclusive pre-school institution, the kindergarten is attended by the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the Republic of Serbia, including children with developmental disorders and disabilities and those living in Roma settlements.

Achieving equity through early childhood development
MDANTSANE, South Africa, 23 September 2011 - Just 19-years-old and already a mother of two, Thandeka Sqoko lives in the two-room home of her boyfriend, with his parents and four siblings. Her own mother kicked her out when she became pregnant. Thandeka’s day ends at 11pm, 18 hours after it began. Well before sunrise she gets her two babies ready, prepares breakfast and cleans the house. On her way to school, she drops off her one-month old, Ithandile, and two-year old, Lethokuhle, at a day care centre.

Exclusive breastfeeding ensures a healthy life for Lesotho’s children
TEYATEYANENG, Lesotho, 22 August 2011 – Malefu Kobisi, 28, is a proud mother of a bouncing seven-month-old baby girl, Qenehelo. For the first six months of Qenehelo life, her mother religiously fed her child with only breast milk - a practice known as exclusive breast feeding.

Field diary: The road to Dadaab
DADAAB, Kenya, 25 July 2011 – Driving the nearly 100 kilometre sand road from the Somali border to the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, is like an otherworldly odyssey across an arid landscape seemingly devoid of life.

In South Africa, a neonatal care initiative builds health and saves lives
LIMPOPO, South Africa, 23 June 2011 – It’s a sad fact that 83 per cent of children in Limpopo province live in poverty. So you’d assume that Malamulele District Hospital probably performs poorly – especially since most of South Africa’s infant mortality rates are linked to district hospitals.

UNICEF-supported programme tackles malnutrition on tea estates in Sri Lanka
NUWARA ELIYA, Sri Lanka, 31 May 2011 - A new day beckons in central Sri Lanka’s tea estates. Mother-of-five and picker of tea, Marystella, is up at 5.30 am to prepare the family’s breakfast in their spartan, tiny house.

In Zambia, an HIV testing and treatment programme protects children's lives
NEW YORK, USA, 6 May 2011- Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates in countries around the world, most commonly the second Sunday in May. But wherever and whenever it is observed, the day pays tribute to a universal form of devotion: a mother’s love and sacrifice for her children. Here is one example of that devotion in action.

European Union parliamentarians see improving maternal and child health in Uzbekistan
SYRDARYA PROVINCE, Uzbekistan, 3 May 2011 – Sixteen members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) visited Uzbekistan last week, where they heard feedback from beneficiaries of the Mother and Child Health (MCH) project.

Birth registration efforts aim to protect rights of newborns on the Tunisia-Libya border
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 19 April 2011 – For Sabeela, 28, fleeing the fighting in Libya was particularly hazardous. Heavily pregnant, the Nigerian remained anxious about giving birth while on the seven-hour bus journey from Tripoli to Ras Jdir in southern Tunisia.

Students in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture return to school a month after the quake
TOKYO, Japan, 12 April 2011 – For four weeks, the Second Onagawa Primary School building in Miyagi Prefecture was empty, but now students are back in its classrooms and filling its corridors with their laughter. Nearly 800 children returned to the school today, a month after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March.

Despite security risks, health volunteers vaccinate children against polio in Afghanistan
JALALABAD, Afghanistan, 8 April 2011 – During afternoon prayers, religious leader Abdul Wakil Mowlavzada speaks passionately to the men who have gathered at one of Jalalabad’s largest mosques. They listen intently as he talks about the importance of polio eradication.

Young midwives bring new life to remote villages in India
MADHYA PRADESH, India, 31 March 2011 – Sanju Kaim got an unexpected bonus on her first day as an auxiliary nurse midwife in Jhagar in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Alone in the village’s small health centre, she delivered not one baby girl, but twins.

Early childhood interventions key to achieving global equity, experts say
NEW YORK, USA, 14 October 2010 – Experts consider the period between birth and three years of age the most vital time for a child’s brain development and the time of greatest vulnerability to survival, nutritional and hygiene risks. But supporting children during these critical years is rarely a priority in national policies, programmes and budgets.

With free birth registration, Angola promotes a child's right to legal identity
CUNENE PROVINCE, Angola, 10 August 2010 – In a province of southern Angola where poverty is prevalent and literacy is low, mothers are learning the unexpected importance of a simple document – the birth certificate.

A campaign to promote exclusive breastfeeding makes strides in rural Niger
GIDAN NAWA, Niger, 6 August 2010 – A quiet revolution is taking place in this dusty village in Niger. Everywhere you look – in the courtyards of family compounds, under the big tree at the village gathering place, even at the well as they gather water – women are breastfeeding their children.

In rural Ethiopia, health extension workers bring care to new mothers
WONDO GENET, Ethiopia, 5 August 2010 – Beaming with pride, new mother Martha Getachew arrives at the Wosha and Soyama village health clinic in central Ethiopia. She is greeted fondly by community health workers, known here as ‘health extension workers.’

Child-to-child learning in rural South Africa safeguards the right to play
KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCE, South Africa, 16 November 2009 – He is only nine years old, but Mandla (not his real name) is already a mentor. Every day after school, he meets with younger, more vulnerable children in his rural village and teaches them through traditional songs, stories and games.

Teaching mothers healthy habits in India
GUJARAT, India, 4 September 2009 – “I wish the ‘Mamta Divas’ were there when I had my first child. She is 13 years old and looks eight or nine. My son is a different story,” says Mennaben Gavit, proudly holding her healthy one-year-old boy on her lap.

New UNICEF kit meets developmental needs of young children in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 15 July 2009 – Building on the success of its School in a Box kits for education in situations of conflict or natural disaster, UNICEF today launched a new product designed for children under the age of six living in emergency or post-crisis environments.

Early childhood development report showcases Jordan's success
AMMAN, Jordan, 20 March 2009 – UNICEF this week presented the findings of a new report showcasing Jordan's successes in early childhood development (ECD). 'The Jordanian National Plan of Action for Children' was launched on 16 March in the presence of the Minister of Education, as well as teachers, specialists and parents involved in giving children a good start to life.

IKEA-supported training helps ‘hero’ at early-childhood centre in Assam, India
ASSAM, India, 2 March 2009 – Just off the main road of Athabari village, Tarulata Saikia sits in a small room decorated with brightly coloured posters of the Assamese alphabet. Ms. Saikia, 48, is a petite, soft-spoken worker at an ‘Anganwadi’ community child development centre. She has a remarkable story to tell.

Early childhood centres help children affected by HIV in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, 8 October 2008 – The nondescript building could pass for any other, except on Saturday mornings, when it is transformed into a beehive of activity by children. They sing ‘Let Us Be Glad and Dance’, their voices reaching a delightful crescendo, their joy a world away from the sorrow that defines many of their lives.

As child deaths continue to decline, UNICEF calls for increased efforts
NEW YORK, USA, 12 September 2008 – Fewer children under the age of five are dying today than in past years, according to the latest data from UNICEF. Globally, the number of young children who died in 2007 dropped to 9.2 million, compared to 12.7 million deaths in 1990.

Reaching out to indigenous pre-schoolers in remote regions of Malaysia
KAMPUNG PETA, Malaysia, 2 July 2008 – The ancient jungle of Endau-Rompin National Park, deep in Peninsular Malaysia, is home to rare species of birds, butterflies and rhinoceros, as well as a diverse range of plant life. It is also the traditional home of the Orang Asli, or ‘original people’, the indigenous inhabitants of Malaysia.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway supports early childhood development in Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 30 May 2008 – Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise of Norway launched a children’s book competition here earlier this month, as part of an effort to promote early childhood development in Madagascar.

Trainee midwives bring expert care to rural women in Pakistan
NANKANA SAHIB, Punjab Province, Pakistan, 12 March 2008 – A high mortality rate for newborns plagues Punjab Province in Pakistan. But steps are being taken to prevent these deaths by training skilled midwives who can attend births and can give much needed advice to new parents.

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton discusses ‘Touchpoints’ in early childhood
NEW YORK, USA, 5 February 2008 – Changing the way early childhood and parenting are viewed could be instrumental in helping to reach vulnerable children and strengthen the communities that support their development.

UNICEF helps local government build pre-schools in Cambodia
SVAY RIENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 11 May 2007 – Every weekday morning, Nita, 5, joins her friends at the Banteay Kraing Village community pre-school. Small sandals and shoes are neatly lined up in a row outside the wooden shelter that houses the school.

Overcoming obstacles to child survival and gender equality in Kosovo
PRISTINA, Kosovo, 1 May 2007 – Despite the progress made during the post-conflict period since 1999, the UN Administered Province of Kosovo remains one of the poorest territories with one of the most vulnerable economies in Europe.

In Mozambique, protecting children and mothers from malaria
XAI XAI, Mozambique, 24 April 2007 – Zaida Alvero tenderly strokes the forehead of her frail five-month-old baby, Julieta, who lies almost lifeless on a hospital bed in intensive care with a tube inserted in her nose to help her breathe.

Rebuilding a safety net for new mothers in Indonesia
TANJONG VILLAGE, Indonesia, 20 April 2007 – On the outskirts of Banda Aceh, midwife Radliana is making a house call. She climbs the steps to a white house with a bright green door and knocks. “Salaam Alaikum,” she calls.

Giving an early boost to the next generation of Malaysia’s ‘original people’
GERIK, Malaysia, 28 March 2007 – Simah Asir holds a job that many of her neighbours feel is unnecessary. She is a preschool teacher in a small village two hours by jeep from the nearest sizeable town, at the end of a rugged road snaking through rubber and palm oil plantations.

UNICEF helps train midwives to improve maternal and newborn care in Indonesia
KUPANG, Indonesia, 26 March 2007 – Just an hour’s flight from the tourism hub of Bali lies a string of islands known as East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). White sandy beaches, picturesque sunsets and warm, friendly people have made the tiny archipelago look like an idyllic spot.

UNICEF and Sesame Street helping to promote education and tolerance in Kosovo
LUKAVC I THATE/SUVI LUKAVAC, UN Administered Province of Kosovo, 26 March 2007 – In the remote village of Lukavc i Thate/Suvi Lukavac in western Kosovo, 27 children in a community-based early childhood centre are opening gifts brought to them by visiting UNICEF staff members.

‘One-stop’ clinic helps new mothers keep their children healthy in Gambia
FAJIKUNDA, Gambia, 11 January 2007 – In September, Sarata Hydara gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the health clinic here in Fajikunda. In the first two weeks he grew nearly half a kilogram, which she learned when nurses weighed him.

Integrated centres provide healthy development for children in Iran
CHABAHAR, Iran, 10 January 2007 – Hessam, a nine-month-old baby, gurgles in appreciation of the soup that his mother is feeding him. So does Nazanin, 3, and other young children in the room.

Cartoon takes Kyrgyz children on a ‘Magic Journey’ and teaches life lessons
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 3 January 2007 – For Kaniet, 4, and his mother, it is a very special day. At a children’s recreation centre in Bishkek, they are watching the first animated series to be produced in Kyrgyzstan in 20 years.

Pre-school classes boost girls’ enrolment in northern Nigeria
KAZAURE, Nigeria, 24 November 2006 – Enrolment of girls in early childhood development (ECD) classes is booming in areas of northern Nigeria, where local government authorities, assisted by UNICEF, are using multiple strategies to get more girls into pre-school.

Educating young children left behind in China’s poor and remote communities
ANSHAN, China, 9 November 2006 – Zheng Qing lives in a remote village in the Cangxi county of China’s Sichuan Province. Her mother left home and her father works as a migrant labourer, so she has been raised by her grandmother. Until she started kindergarten two years ago, she was introverted and unwilling to play with other children.

‘Global Monitoring Report’ links early childhood care with lifelong benefits
NEW YORK, USA, 26 October 2006 - Early childhood care and education make a real and lasting difference in children’s lives, says this year’s ‘Education for All Global Monitoring Report’, released by UNESCO and launched today at UNICEF headquarters in New York.

‘Roving Caregivers’ promote early childhood development at home in Jamaica
CLARENDON, Jamaica, 26 October 2006 – Marva Ricketts is a biological mother of three, but she is a familiar face to 30 young children across five communities in the parish of Clarendon. Twice a month, she visits the children's homes to play with them and speak with their parents.

Mothers’ music and lyrics help save children’s lives in Ghana
AKUKA, Ghana, 23 October 2006 – In Akuka, a small farming community in the Upper East Region of Ghana, music produced by a mothers’ club is making a tremendous difference in saving children’s lives from common childhood diseases.

‘Chile Grows with You’ policy promotes early childhood development
NEW YORK, USA, 19 October 2006 – The Government of Chile has launched a social policy initiative promoting full support for the country’s children from birth.

Early learning programme reaches Manila’s deprived children
MANILA, 3 October 2006 – With concentrated expressions, the young children follow their teacher’s lead, faithfully reciting the words to a poem about ‘basura,’ or garbage. The lesson is designed to teach them at the earliest possible age that the problem of sanitary waste disposal has become a scourge in their community.

In Dominica, a young ‘Roving Caregiver’ helps give children a strong start in life
ST. DAVID, Dominica, 24 May 2006 – Christian Darroux, 19, has chosen a profession unusual among men in Dominica and most other countries: He works with young children and their families as a caregiver.

Mothers in Philippines break Guinness World Record for breastfeeding
MANILA, Philippines, 16 May 2006 – Almost 4,000 mothers in the Philippines – along with their babies – have helped set a new world record for simultaneous breast-feeding. It easily beat the previous Guinness World Record set by 1,135 women in Berkeley, California.

Free birth services in Burundi to help cut maternal and child deaths
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 11 May 2006 – In a recovery room at Burundi’s biggest hospital, the Prince Regent Charles, 18-year-old Jocelyne Ndayizeye’s face is a study in pain and triumph. Her son has been delivered by caesarian section and she has survived one of the country’s deadliest obstacle courses – giving birth to a child. In Burundi, mothers are congratulated for ‘crossing the abyss’.

Monthly immunization days save lives and build babies’ health
CHIENG KHOA, Viet Nam, 1 February 2006 – It’s the monthly immunization day in Chieng Khoa, a small village in the mountains of north-western Vietnam. Although it’s still early in the morning, numerous mothers clutching babies wait patiently in a queue in front of the health centre.

Saving lives in Nepal through vitamin A distribution
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 29 November 2005 – Moti Bhandari looks into the mirror and adds the finishing touches to her make-up: a big red mark with the logo of a vitamin A campaign on her forehead. She then slings her green cloth bag with the same logo across her shoulders, calls out to her 9-year-old daughter Sarita to mind the store, and heads for the vitamin A distribution centre with her 2-year-old son in tow.

For pregnant women in Niger, prenatal check-ups come with grain
TCHADOUA, Niger, 15 September 2005 – Nineteen-year-old Sara was one of a thousand pregnant women who gathered recently at the health centre at Tchadoua in Niger’s Maradi region, for free prenatal check-ups and also to collect a set of benefits: food and an insecticide-treated bednet, to help prevent malaria.

3rd International Conference on Early Childhood Development: Giving children in Africa the best start in life
ACCRA, Ghana, 1 June 2005 – Getting basic services to all African children should be a top priority for national development plans, according to delegates at the 3rd African International Conference on Early Childhood Development.

Myanmar’s auxiliary midwives: Helping children get the best start in life
YANGON, Myanmar, 14 April 2005 – The rural village of Kan Tha Phu, located on an island off Myanmar’s western Ayeyarwaddy coast, is many days travel and seemingly scores of years removed from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Yangon. Most of Kan Tha Phu’s families are members of the Kayin ethnic group, as is auxiliary midwife Daw Khin San Myint.




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