A girl is immunized at UNICEF-supported Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda.

Kiwanis International

Kiwanis International has been helping UNICEF tackle health challenges around the world — and deliver impact for children and families — for more than three decades.

Partner since 1990

Kiwanis International is a global community of 438,000 members across 82 countries and territories committed to serving the children of the world.

This global volunteer organization dedicates more than 7.3 million hours to strengthen communities and help children. Through service projects and fundraisers, Kiwanis members improve their communities, make lifelong friendships, and help children reach their full potential.

Kiwanis International offers three types of clubs for adults: Kiwanis, Aktion Club (adults with disabilities), and Circle K (college), as well as three clubs for youth: Key Club (high school), Builders Club (middle school) and K-Kids (elementary school). Key Club and Circle K have supported Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF since 1994, raising more than $8 million through Trick-or-Treat events.

History of Support and Programmatic Impact

  • Preventing Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD)
    In 1994, Kiwanis and UNICEF partnered for their first global service project in an effort to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of mental and developmental disabilities in the world. At the time, less than 20 percent of people consumed iodized salt, a cost effective and sustainable intervention to controlling and preventing IDD. Through the work of leading organizations and partners including UNICEF and Kiwanis, that number had jumped to 89 percent in 2021. Through this campaign, Kiwanis raised and leveraged more than $105 million in 10 years, supporting IDD elimination programs in 100 countries and territories.

  • Eliminating Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT)
    Kiwanis and UNICEF again joined forced in 2010 to launch The Eliminate Project focused on the fight against maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a deadly but vaccine-preventable disease that disproportionately affects mothers and children in underserved areas with limited or no health infrastructure, among populations with poor socio-economic status, and low education levels. The funds raised through this initiative helped to eliminate the disease in 47 of 59 high-risk countries, including Ethiopia, Haiti, the Philippines, Kenya, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Eliminate MNT

  • Supporting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
    Over 800 children under age 5 die every day from diseases linked to unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation or poor hygiene. Circle K International, the collegiate arm of Kiwanis, tackled this issue through The WASH Project, a 5-year campaign running from 2017 to 2021 and which raised over $242,000 for UNICEF’s WASH program in Haiti. In the 2000s, Circle K hosted the Six Cents initiative, named for the cost of one sachet of oral rehydration salts at the time. The initiative raised more than $67,000 for UNICEF’s global WASH programs.

  • Early Childhood Education in Zambia
    The human brain grows at an amazing rate in early childhood, with 90% of its development completed by age 5. But in Zambia, three out of four first-grade students aren’t ready for school because they haven’t received proper nutrition, health care and learning opportunities. Key Club International, the high school arm of Kiwanis, has embarked upon a 4-year campaign called Start Strong: Zambia to build early learning community centers and help parents and caregivers create nurturing environments for young children.

  • Creating Schools from Recycled Plastic in Côte d’Ivoire
    In Côte d’Ivoire, the capital city of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste each day, most of which pollutes low-income communities and leads to poor health outcomes. There is also a lack of schools and safe spaces for learning and play. Circle K International has launched Brick x Brick, a 5-year campaign to support UNICEF in recycling plastic waste and turning them into classrooms. This project will contribute to a cleaner planet, alleviate poverty for families by providing economic empowerment opportunities for women, and provide classrooms for children previously unable to access school.
  • Other Areas of Impact
    Kiwanis members have also raised awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs in Kenya and Swaziland and supported teen centers in Uruguay to provide adolescents with job skills, education, family counseling and other social services.

TOP PHOTO: A young girl is immunized at UNICEF-supported Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. UNICEF/UN0572748/Wamala