News from the Field
September 10, 2012
Several years ago, an unusual playground, filled with big blue blocks of molded foam, appeared in New York City. Children immediately started using the blocks to form shapes and create new environments of their own. When a child development specialist came across the design, she thought it was perfect for children growing up in crisis and post-conflict areas. Now the UNICEF team is testing @Play in Bangladesh and Haiti. In Haiti, these playgrounds have been integrated in ten schools, highlighting the importance of learning through play.
September 7, 2012
UNICEF Provides Emergency Relief as Floods Strike Niger Amidst Cholera Outbreak and Nutrition Crisis
Heavy rains over the past few weeks in Niger have inundated homes and food crops. The waters have claimed 52 lives and affected nearly 400,000 persons nationwide; in the hardest-hit Dosso region more than 10,000 houses have been destroyed. UNICEF has distributed blankets, cooking items, mosquito nets, soaps and buckets, water purification tablets, and other life-saving supplies. But more needs to be done in the coming weeks and months to continue providing families with supplies and shelter, and to restore destroyed and damaged schools.
September 4, 2012
In South Sudan more than two decades of conflict have torn apart families and communities, causing thousands of people to flee their homes and weakening the protection of women and children. Following the 2005 peace agreement and the referendum on independence in 2011, over 390,000 South Sudanese have returned to their country, placing further strain on communities attempting to rebuild fragile relationships. UNICEF is training women to be part of the peace building process and to help strengthen protective mechanisms for women and children.
August 31, 2012
Around 500 Syrian families are currently living in a refugee camp that’s been set up in the northern Iraqi governorate of Dohuk, and many of those registered are children. The local Department of Education, with assistance from UNHCR and UNICEF, started a summer school to help these children make up for lost time, and to bring a sense of stability back to their lives. But the new school year will bring with it a shortage of space, and while UNICEF and UNHR have provided seven pre-fabricated classrooms, more rooms are still needed.
August 30, 2012
Cholera is a significant public health priority currently making headlines. With increasing numbers of cases reported, burgeoning frequency of protracted outbreaks, emergence of more virulent strains, growing numbers of people living in unsanitary conditions, and the impact of climate change, cholera trends are of alarming concern. To address these trends, employees from UNICEF offices came together in Zimbabwe in August. Joined by other cholera experts, they shared their expertise for the development of a comprehensive UNICEF Cholera Toolkit.