Who are we and how do we work?
Advocacy means, literally, to speak up on behalf of someone in need. For UNICEF, it means speaking up on behalf of and with children to support their rights, ensure safe and healthy childhoods in safe and inclusive communities, and build strong futures with opportunity and hope.
To build that future, UNICEF USA's Advocacy team, based in Washington, DC, urges decision-makers in all sectors – governments, corporations, schools, communities — to implement policies and budgets that support and empower children, using a child rights framework that prioritizes child best interests. UNICEF USA educates and mobilizes supporters across the United States to press for these policies.
When we advocate, we create new understanding, chip away at the systemic challenges that hurt children, and create sustainable positive impacts for children at home and abroad.
UNICEF USA's advocacy priorities in 2021
Our highest priority is to push for U.S. Government funding to UNICEF, both in annual foreign assistance funding and in additional funding for the global response to COVID-19.
We also focus on:
- Tackling the learning crisis facing children, including bridging the digital divide
- Prioritizing vaccines to ensure every child is immunized
- Calling for greater investment in mental health services and support for children and youth
- Protecting children from the impacts of climate change, which includes improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene
- Ending child marriage in every U.S. state
Read about our latest advocacy achievements — and stay tuned for updates.
How UNICEF USA advocates for children
In keeping with UNICEF’s global mission, our focus is on results for children. We advocate for policies and budgets that support UNICEF’s mission to protect child rights, and help children survive and thrive. We do so in a nonpartisan spirit, guided by the belief that “a child in need knows no politics.” Our consistent focus on results for children has helped UNICEF enjoy strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and across the country.
Our advocate campaigns are built on three principles:
- We are child focused and connected to UNICEF: Our advocacy efforts are consistent with UNICEF’s global priorities and messaging, and take advantage of UNICEF’s experience and expertise. Protecting children’s lives and rights is the primary purpose of any position we mobilize to support.
- We are nonpartisan: UNICEF USA is a strictly nonpartisan organization, both in our mission and as mandated by our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. All messaging is strictly nonpartisan and child-centric. That does not mean we avoid positions that might be controversial; it means that our narrative focuses on the problem and a policy solution, not on political parties and politicians.
- We are results oriented: We support policy and budget priorities that we believe will have tangible results for children.