About us

About us

How we work

History of UNICEF

Frequently asked questions



History of UNICEF

UNICEF/NYHQ 1951-2701/unknown

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was created to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. In 1946 UNICEF’s first major challenge was to assist children in Europe whose lives had been devastated by World War II. In 1953 the organisation became a permanent part of the United Nations.

Over the past 65 years UNICEF has been the driving force behind the vision of a world fit for all children. UNICEF has the global authority to influence decision-makers, and works with partners at grassroots level to turn innovative ideas into reality.  This is what makes UNICEF unique among world organisations, and unique among those working with the young.

From its beginnings in Europe in the 1940s UNICEF currently works in 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees.

In South Africa UNICEF worked through non governmental organisations during the years of apartheid. The UNICEF office in South Africa opened in 1994.






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