For every child to enjoy a safe childhood without violence, exploitation or abuse
Millions of children worldwide from all socio-economic backgrounds, across all ages, religions and cultures suffer violence, exploitation and abuse every day. Children continue to be targets of war and face grave dangers including sexual exploitation, child marriage, gender-based violence, and recruitment into armed groups.
There is significant evidence that violence, exploitation and abuse can affect the child’s physical and mental health in the short and longer-term, impairing their ability to learn and socialise, and impacting their transition to adulthood with adverse consequences later in life.
Protecting children caught in conflict and disaster
The EU supports UNICEF’s work to ensure every child is protected from violence and exploitation, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable children. Especially, during humanitarian emergencies, UNICEF works closely with the EU’s humanitarian aid to protect the most vulnerable children caught in the midst of conflicts and natural disasters. A common focus is the protection from gender-based violence in emergencies (GBVie), which includes, for example, raising awareness and establishing safe spaces for children.
School provides a safe space where children can be protected from threats and crises. Together with the EU’s humanitarian aid, UNICEF provides financial assistance to support children’s access to education through programmes, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) project in Turkey, which helps refugee children to access formal and non-formal schooling.
"We want everyone to get our message. To stop the violence," Zahra, 14-year-old Syrian refugee.
Building a safer future for every child to grow and reach their potential
Over the past few years, UNICEF and the EU have implemented over forty projects in the EU neighbourhood focussing or related to child protection. The partnership worked especially closely on child protection activities in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey under the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – also known as the ‘Madad’ fund.
Other major EU-UNICEF child protection programmes include supporting host communities to facilitate the integration of displaced children. For instance, we help strengthening national systems in Afghanistan to increase access to protection services for Afghani children on the move in Afghanistan and Iran.
UNICEF and the EU are also partners in the Spotlight initiative, which aims to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls. The EU has funded several activities under this initiative via twelve different actions in Africa — focused on sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, as well as in Latin America which focuses on femicide.