About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families.

Young girl in a classroom

Our Mission

A midwife teaches a mother to bathe her twin babies
UNICEF/Iran/1950
A midwife from the UNICEF-assisted maternal and child health centre in the city of Chiraq teaches a mother to bathe her twin babies, during a visit to the woman's home in Iran in 1950.
Camels carrying metal drums filled with UNICEF food supplies in 1954
UNICEF/State of Palestine/1954
Camels carrying metal drums filled with UNICEF food supplies in the State of Palestine in 1954.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work 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.

In all of its work, UNICEF takes a life-cycle based approach, recognizing the particular importance of early childhood development and adolescence. UNICEF programmes focus on the most disadvantaged children, including those living in fragile contexts, those with disabilities, those who are affected by rapid urbanization and those affected by environmental degradation.

UNICEF was created with a distinct purpose in mind: to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.

We involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. We are present to relieve suffering during emergencies, and wherever children are threatened, because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.

UNICEF upholds the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  We work to assure equality for those who are discriminated against, girls and women in particular. We work for the Millennium Development Goals and for the progress promised in the United Nations Charter. We strive for peace and security. We work to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.

We are part of the Global Movement for Children – a broad coalition dedicated to improving the life of every child.  Through this movement, and events such as the United Nations Special Session on Children, we encourage young people to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Who We Are

The Regional Office is a hub for information, technical expertise, oversight and coordination for UNICEF Country Offices. It also supports these offices in their efforts to raise much-needed resources.

Specialist advisers based in Amman, Jordan help develop programmes in health and nutrition, child protection, adolescent development, education, water and sanitation, social policy and emergency preparedness.

They also provide technical oversight and support for financial management, communication, planning, and programme monitoring and evaluation.

This website provides information on what UNICEF does to advance the rights and well-being of children across the Middle East and North Africa. It also captures some of the highlights of the work being carried out by UNICEF’s Country Offices in the region.

Link to video on it's hosted site.
UNICEF
Founded in 1946 to provide life-saving support to the most vulnerable children in the aftermath of World War 2. We are the world’s largest children’s organization. We will do whatever it takes to protect children. Wherever they are. Whoever they are. Whenever they need us. And now, more than ever. #foreverychild, hope.

Regional Director

Ted Chaiban

Portrait of Ted Chaiban

Ted Chaiban was appointed as Regional Director, MENA in October 2019. Prior to this assignment, he was the Director of Programmes for UNICEF where he provided strategic leadership, management support and overall direction to UNICEF’s programming, where he spearheaded the development of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and Education Cannot Wait to address violence against children and education in emergencies matters, grounded UNICEF’s work for children on the move and guided the integration of humanitarian and development work. 

From 2012 - 2014 Mr. Chaiban was Director of Emergency Programmes for UNICEF where he mobilized support for UNICEF’s response to large scale emergencies in Syria, the Central African Republic, the Philippines and South Sudan and designed and initiated a humanitarian reform process, known as the Strengthening Humanitarian Action initiative, to increase the timeliness, effectiveness and efficiency of UNICEF’s humanitarian action. From 2009 to 2012, he was UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia where he expanded UNICEF’s contribution to the country’s Health Extension Programme, supported Ethiopia’s investment in early childhood education and quality basic education and supported the establishment of a social protection platform based on community care structures. The office also responded to the 2011 Horn of Africa drought. 

Before joining UNICEF Ethiopia, Mr. Chaiban was UNICEF Representative in Sudan. As Representative in Sudan, he implemented a new programme structure reflecting the architecture of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, managed UNICEF’s response to the crisis in Darfur and advanced post-conflict recovery and reconstruction in Southern Sudan as it was emerging from over 20 years of conflict. 

From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Chaiban was the UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka. In January 2005, Sri Lanka was hit by a devastating tsunami and he led UNICEF’s response to the disaster. Mr. Chaiban joined UNICEF in 1997 as Deputy Chief of Operations for the Operation Lifeline Sudan Consortium, based in Nairobi and coordinating the consortium’s programme activities in Southern Sudan. In 2000, he was appointed Regional Emergency Adviser in UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, responsible for coordinating support to country offices managing emergencies. 

Prior to joining UNICEF, Mr. Chaiban was Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. He also worked as a Programme Manager focusing on food security and child survival. 

Mr. Chaiban is a national of both the United States of America and Lebanon. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Political Science from Tufts University and a Master of Arts Degree in Development and Arab Studies from Georgetown University, USA.