UNICEF celebrates 77 years of global impact on children's rights and well-being

UNICEF has a global mandate that involves working both in developing countries and in high-income countries. This reflects UNICEF's commitment to addressing the needs of children and promoting the well-being of every child worldwide.

11 December 2023
Agnieszka Sochon (blue shirt), UNICEF in Poland, makes a balloon animal for 3-year-old Taras in a refugee reception centre.

Warsaw, 11 December 2023 – Founded on 11 December 1946, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been at the forefront of ensuring every child's right to survival, protection, development, and participation. Over the past 77 years, UNICEF has tirelessly worked to address the diverse challenges faced by children worldwide. From providing life-saving vaccines and basic nutrition to ensuring access to quality education, health care services, mental health support and protection from violence, UNICEF's impact has been profound and far-reaching.

UNICEF's global mandate underscores its commitment to promoting the rights and well-being of children across the world. The United Nations Children's Fund is the only organization mentioned by name in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a source of expertise and support. This gives the organization legitimacy and emphasizes its special role. The organization's work is multifaceted and includes emergency response, advocacy, partnerships, and research to achieve sustainable improvements in children's lives. The key aspects of UNICEF's mandate are on the one hand humanitarian assistance and on the other hand human development built on quality education, access to public services or child protection from every form of violence and general child welfare. To achieve those goals UNICEF operates not only in developing countries but also in some high-income countries where it serves with its specialized technical knowledge and expertise. 

Poland played a significant role in the establishment of UNICEF, says dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Country Coordinator for the UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland. Ludwik Rajchman, a Polish doctor and public health advocate was one of the founding fathers of the organization and Adam Łopatka, a Polish lawyer lead a team that submitted the first draft of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – the basis for all of UNICEF's work. We are very proud of these Polish roots of our organization.

UNICEF presence in Poland is double faceted: for long time it was based exclusively on the National Committee for UNICEF responsible for raising funds from individuals and the private corporate sector and securing worldwide visibility for children threatened by poverty, disasters, abuse and exploitation. Since 2022, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine UNICEF presence in Poland took also a programmatic form through: UNICEF Refugee Response Office which is supporting families who’ve fled the war in Ukraine. This office is more and more involved in advocating for the rights of every child in Poland by applying standards, methodologies and experience developed throughout UNICEF’s history and worldwide.

The work of UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland has directly impacted the lives and well-being of thousands of refugee children, providing them with essential services and supporting their better start for the future. Strengthening Poland’s massive response to refugee crises in 2022 through assisting various initiatives aiming at education, child protection and health of Ukrainian refugee children proved Organization’s commitment to care about every child in the world who is in need.

The success of the UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland can be attributed to strong partnerships with the Polish government, local authorities (particularly of our partner municipalities which hosted the largest number of refugees) as well as non-governmental organizations. Those partnerships are based on knowledge-sharing, exchange of experiences and UNICEF’s expertise. We also cooperate with children and parents to get a thorough understanding of their situation and needs as Rashed Mustafa says. Collaborative efforts have been instrumental in addressing the evolving needs of refugee children and their families.

UNICEF has a wealth of expert knowledge and resources that can be instrumental in helping Poland improve the living conditions and well-being of its youngest citizens by providing evidence-based policy recommendations to address key issues affecting children in Poland, supporting capacity-building initiatives, contributing to the development of high-quality and inclusive educational system, assisting Poland in conducting comprehensive studies on child well-being and developing child protection policies, training professionals, and raising awareness in communities.

Looking ahead, the office remains dedicated to expanding its impact, with a focus on innovative solutions, advocacy, research and collaboration to create a more supportive environment for all children in Poland.

UNICEF globally reaffirms its dedication to the vision of a world where every child's rights are realized. The birthday celebration serves as a reminder that the global community must continue working together to build a brighter, more equitable future for every child.

Media contacts

Monika Kacprzak
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland
Tel: (+48) 604 226 866


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.

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