How does UNICEF work to reduce preventable childhood deaths?
UNICEF is globally recognized for putting the most effective and innovative ideas to work for children in more than 190 countries and territories around the world. Since 1990, UNICEF's programs have helped reduce the number of child deaths by more than 50%.
UNICEF provides the world’s most vulnerable children with lifesaving healthcare and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. For example:
- UNICEF is the number one procurer of vaccines in the world. UNICEF provides vaccines to immunize over 40% of the world’s children, saving millions of lives from preventable diseases each year.
- Since 1990, UNICEF and partners have played a key role in improving access to clean water for 2.6 billion people around the world.
- UNICEF is one of the world's largest providers of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, one of the most effective weapons against malaria – an entirely preventable and treatable disease that remains the third biggest killer of children globally.
There is no reason any child should die from preventable and treatable causes. UNICEF is working tirelessly every day to get us one step closer to the day when all children can have safe and healthy childhoods.
Is there a moment that stands out from your early work with UNICEF?
My job for UNICEF was to do what I basically do now for NBC. I traveled around Latin America and the Caribbean documenting the lives of children, their mothers, and the UNICEF supported programs that help them lead healthier, happier lives. At a UNICEF conference for women and children living with HIV/AIDS, I met one of the most influential young leaders of my life. At the time, Ana was only seventeen years old but she had lived a very difficult life. At birth she was infected with HIV/AIDS and her mom, dad, and sister had all died by the time she was in the sixth grade. She was abused and abandoned by the people she trusted the most. At the age of sixteen she was forced to dropout of school after giving birth to her daughter Beatrice.I was so inspired by Ana’s willingness to share her story that I went on to write Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope.
Where did the idea for UNICEF NextGen come from?
When I returned from Latin America and my husband and I got engaged, I realized I wanted to stay involved with UNICEF in the United States. Casey Rotter, one of the co-founders of UNICEF NextGen, and I studied the average age of donors to UNICEF. In doing this, we realized our generation was left out. I knew from my friends that this was not a case of not wanting to be active. So, we started UNICEF NextGen, a group of thirty of us under forty, to get our generation involved with UNICEF’s life saving work.
What are the goals of the NextGen program?
UNICEF Next Generation is a global network of young leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm toward supporting UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children. NextGen’s main goal is to engage younger generations in support of UNICEF’s work.
NextGen members study issues that affect children around the world and choose UNICEF projects to support through education, advocacy, skill sharing, remote volunteering and fundraising. NextGen cultivates a wonderful community of young leaders who mobilize their peers, colleagues, families and networks to join them as advocates for children and global citizens.
Now as a mom, how has your view of the work you’re doing with UNICEF changed?
Becoming a mom to my daughters Mila and Poppy changed everything for me. I now truly understand the pain of the mothers I met through UNICEF—women who have lost their kids to preventable causes. These moms have taught me that all mothers want the same things for their kids; the chance to live happy, healthy lives.