About us

About us

How we work

History of UNICEF

Frequently asked questions



How we work

UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker
© UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker

In middle-income countries such as South Africa, prosperity and an expanding middle-class often mask high child and maternal death rates, malnutrition and low access to basic services. Addressing these disparities – as part of supporting national development priorities to ensure that all children are reached by essential services – is what UNICEF does in South Africa.

Knowledge generation
UNICEF supports child-focused research and the development of concrete evidence to inform advocacy and policy dialogue. It also contributes to the generation of childcentred statistics that can be used to monitor programmes to ensure they reach the poorest and most deprived children and women.

In 2011, UNICEF helped to fill knowledge gaps related to children’s vulnerability and deprivation. This included a review of equity and child rights; a situation analysis on climate change and children; and audits of unregistered children’s homes for vulnerable children. The study Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Children in South Africa, for example, demonstrated clearly that children living in poverty will be hardest hit by climate change in South Africa, and that the national policy response must focus on reducing their vulnerability to climate-induced shocks.

Capacity development
Using its global, regional and local expertise, UNICEF helps to build a more capable government at central, provincial and local level. Technical support is given to improve design, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting on policies and programmes.

In 2011, UNICEF strengthened government’s ability to make progress on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. District and provincial planners went through a participatory micro-planning process that helped them to develop their own action plans on how to accelerate the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The local plans were then fed into the national Action Framework on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission and the new National Strategic Plan on HIV,Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STI) and Tuberculosis (TB).

Scaling up best practice
UNICEF supports innovative programming that demonstrates a positive impact on the lives of children and can be taken to scale. One such example comes from a public-private partnership called Techno Girls, which provides mentoring and corporate internships for disadvantaged secondary school girls who perform well in maths, sciences and technology.

In 2011, the government recognised this initiative as a key tool to help girls escape from poverty and committed to the national expansion of the programme in collaboration with more than 100 private sector partners.

Keeping track of progress
Comprehensive data that track, assess and evaluate results for the most deprived children are not always readily available. However, UNICEF works closely with key departments and Statistics South Africa to strengthen national capacity in monitoring and evaluation, including the tracking of disparities.

The Human Sciences Research Council and UNICEF also launched a new report on government-funded programmes and services for vulnerable children in 2011. For the first time – in one source – information is available on the types ofexisting programmes, whether they have a beneficial impact on children and what policy and service delivery gaps exist.



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