UNICEF is fully committed to working with the Government of India to ensure that each child born in this vast and complex country gets the best start in life, thrives and develops to his or her full potential.
The organisation began its work in India in 1949 with three staff members and established an office in Delhi three years later. Currently, it advocates for the rights of India’s children in 16 states.
India is home to the largest number of children in the world with nearly 40 per cent of its estimated 1.2 billion population under the age of 18. The gross domestic product (GDP) in India has grown at an decent average cent over the last five years. However, the economic growth has not yielded commensurate results in the reduction of poverty and disparity.
About 30 per cent of the population lives below the national poverty line. A child born in the poorest household is three times as likely to die before the age of five as compared to a child born in the richest household.
The under-five mortality rates for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes are 96 and 88 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively, compared to 60 deaths for the general population. More than 8 million children aged 6-14 years drop out before they complete the full eight year elementary education cycle.
UNICEF’s goal is to advance the rights of children, adolescents and women to survival, growth, development, participation and protection by reducing inequities based on caste, ethnicity, gender, poverty, region or religion.
UNICEF utilises a multi-pronged approach to addressing pressing issues of health, nutrition, sanitation, education and child protection. It aims to involve families and community members in understanding their contribution to ensure their children thrive while providing a platform for young community champions to emerge and inspire.
UNICEF uses community level knowledge and quality research to comprehend issues, create and introduce easily implementable innovative interventions that address the situation of children, and works with partners to create ground level change.
With its unique system of 13 state offices, partnerships with sister UN agencies, NGOs, self-help groups and array of celebrity campaigners, UNICEF has been able to provide focussed attention to the poorest and most disadvantaged communities, while working alongside at the national level.
Read about UNICEF's history in India...