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The Situation in Sri Lanka

History of UNICEF in Sri Lanka

Fast Facts

State of the World's Children


The '70s and before


*Early UNICEF funding allocated from the Delhi Regional Office was used to strengthen health services, in particular, maternal and child health. Later, this was extended to state activities in disease control, educational development, social work training, nutrition and water supply.


*The UNICEF country office is established in Sri Lanka, with Fred Collins as the first Country Representative. UNICEF’s initial programmes supported the Government of Sri Lanka and other partners to improve basic services for children and women, mainly in the sectors of health, education, social welfare and water/sanitation. This also included area-based services for children in the urban slums, tea plantations and those affected by the Mahaweli project.


*The first UNICEF and Government of Sri Lanka 5-Year Country Programme is launched, focusing on areas such as immunization, maternal health and estate health in addition to other basic services. UNICEF’s activities today


*With UNICEF funding, a National Committee for the International Year of the Child is formed. The committee was later formalised as the Children’s Secretariat in 1980.

*Cold chain techniques to store vaccines in rural clinics are introduced to reduce spoilage and increase immunization coverage within an expanded programme on immunization. UNICEF’s early childhood health programme

*Improved water and sanitation systems are introduced in the dry zone through hand pumps and deep tube-wells. UNICEF’s water and sanitation programme

* With UNICEF assistance attention is given to improve small schools in the country UNICEF’s learning years and adolescence programme



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