2020 Year in Review

In a year like no other, UNICEF was here with you in the hardest moments

Songporn Leelakitichok and Dilshat Zhussupova
A boy wearing a white facial mask.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Sukhum Preechapanich
21 December 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged and waves of social change swelled, UNICEF was there — working nonstop to save, protect and improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in Thailand and around the world. Despite unprecedented challenges, this year was also one in which great strides were made for children’s rights. Take a look back at UNICEF and partners’ impact this year — which would be impossible without our supporters and volunteers.

Responding to COVID-19

The pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented crisis, exposing and exacerbating existing inequalities and injustices. During this year of many lost lives and livelihoods, supporting those in need was more important than ever.

UNICEF delivered critical supplies to help protect children and families in schools, early childhood development centres, migrant learning centres and on the streets with partners including USAID, Unilever Thailand, Raks Thai Foundation, World Vision, Foundation for Slum Child Care and Friends-International and migrant youth leaders. Soap, hand sanitizers, digital thermometers and testing reagents, as well as information materials on hygiene and health in Burmese, Khmer and Lao, helped vulnerable communities cope with the new normal.

Migrant workers in a community are sitting and reading information about COVID-19 distributed by UNICEF, USAID, and NGO partners.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Sukhum Preechapanich
UNICEF and USAID worked with NGO partners to deliver vital information and support to the migrant community on COVID-19 protection.

We informed children and families on how to stay safe, continue learning, do fun activities together and look after their mental health during lockdowns and school closures through My Hero is You storybooks, activity booklets with volunteers’ artwork and social media campaigns such as iStayHomeToo, iWish, Learning at Home, Back to School and Be Prepared, Don’t Be Scared.

We guided children, families and teachers on going back to school safely with learning activity manuals in partnership with the Government of Japan and with safety guidelines. Children were eager to rebuild a daily routine of learning, while adjusting to a school year like no other.

A teacher is measuring the temperature of a student who comes to the school.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Roengrit Kongmuang
UNICEF and USAID provided schools with thermometers to facilitate the reopening of schools across Thailand.

We gathered the voices of young people to understand their most pressing challenges and generated evidence on the impact of the pandemic to help inform the COVID-19 policy response. The rapid assessments with Oxford Policy Management and with Mahidol University contributed to our understanding of the socio-economic effects of the pandemic and its impact on children left behind.

We advocated for strengthening social protection with our partners to help protect the most vulnerable children and families from falling into deeper poverty and build their resilience to future crises. More than 1.4 million children from poor and near-poor families received an emergency top-up to the Child Support Grant for three months.

We mobilized support for children and families affected by the pandemic through our first virtual concert Love Delivery Fest on WorkpointOfficial’s YouTube Channel with more than 26 celebrities, raising around US$125,000 (approximately 3.75 million baht).

UNICEF Thailand

Continuing our mission for a better life for every child

The pandemic caused major disruption but did not spell defeat for our progress for children’s rights. We evolved to meet these new challenges – by going online during lockdown and growing volunteer power.

We launched The Sound of Happiness podcast and album with Thailand’s Department of Mental Health and JOOX Thailand to normalize mental health conversations for children and young people. Young celebrities like Peck Palitchoke, Bambam, Bright Win and MILLI and young activists opened up about their mental health struggles, statelessness, disability, sexual orientation and seeking mental health help.

A group of young people are talking to the hosts of The Sound of Happiness.
UNICE Thailand/2020/Bundit Chotsuwan
Young activists break the silence on taboo topics in a special episode of The Sound of Happiness.

We empowered 466 Thai youth to design solutions for better education and employment opportunities for their generation through the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge with UNDP Thailand and Saturday School Foundation. For the second year young innovators from southern Thailand have emerged global winners and will turn their idea into reality with mentorship and US$15,000 (approximately 470,000 baht) in seed funding.

A group photo of young people who participated in Generational Unlimited Youth Challenge 2020.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Roengrit Kongmuang
More than 460 young innovators from Thailand participated in the GenU Youth Challenge to unlock opportunities for their generation.

We released MICS 6, the largest national survey on the situation of children and women in Thailand, with the National Statistical Office. The findings show progress in many key areas, including a significant drop in adolescent birth rates and violent discipline at home, but also a worrying trend in child nutrition and school drop-out among secondary-school aged children.

We called for the protection of children and young people in schools and amid protests. Our then-Country Representative answered your questions on their right to participation and UNICEF’s non-political position.

We mobilized and trained volunteer leaders, youth counsellors, cartoonists, graphic designers and many other professionals through our I Am UNICEF volunteer programme to respond to COVID-19 in their communities and beyond. Around 2,000 volunteers made information on COVID-19 accessible and engaging for children and families by creating artwork for and distributing more than 30,000 activity booklets and offering peer support for online learning, for example.

A group photo of I Am UNICEF volunteers who went to distribute activity booklets on COVID-19 to children in the community.
Jakkarin Sirimongkol
I Am UNICEF volunteers distributed more than 30,000 activity booklets to equip children with accurate information about COVID-19 protection.

We promoted reading among children on the topic of hygiene under this year’s Reading Saves Lives theme in our Every Child Can Read campaign with the Office of the Basic Education Commission, USAID, Central Food Hall and Tops. Across 60 schools, children learned about handwashing, wearing a face mask, practicing physical distancing and coping with stress and teachers learned how to integrate reading and COVID-19 prevention in the classroom.

As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, UNICEF along with our partners and volunteers will continue to fight for every child to survive and thrive, this year and in the years to come.