UNICEF Nicaragua was part of the Child Friendly and Health School Initiative. UNICEF/Nicaragua-2006/O. Moraga

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are respected. The international community has provided us with the authority to influence decision-makers and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with the following purpose: to work with others to overcome the obstacles imposed on children by poverty, violence, disease and discrimination. We believe that working together we can advance the cause of humanity.

We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.

We promote girls’ education, ensuring that they complete primary education as a minimum, because this benefits all children, both girls and boys. Girls who have been educated grow up to become better thinkers, better citizens, and better parents to their own children.

We strive for all children to be immunized against common childhood diseases and to be well nourished, because it is wrong for a child to suffer or die from a preventable illness. We work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people because it is right to keep them from harm and enable them to protect others. We help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity.

We involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. We are present where necessary to relieve suffering during emergencies and wherever children are threatened, because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.

UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We work to assure equality for those who are discriminated against, particularly girls and women. We work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the progress promised in the United Nations Charter. We strive for peace and security. And we work to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.

We are part of the Global Movement for Children, which is a broad coalition dedicated to improving the life of every child. Through this movement, and events such as the United Nations Special Session on Children, we encourage young people to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

We are active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees. We are UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.