Zarah Mohammed, 5, is starting school for the first time. She and her family fled their village in Borno state, Nigeria.

Challenges, Struggle and Hope: UNICEF's Year in Photos 2016

"Children should be the first to benefit from mankind's successes and the last ones to suffer from its failures ... for it is on how we bring up our children that our civilization is measured, our humanity is tested and our future is shaped." — James P. Grant, UNICEF Executive Director, 1980-1995 


How will our civilization be measured by the events of 2016 — a year in which some of the world's most vulnerable children were tested by disasters both natural and human-made?


Earthquakes and drought, the powerful tail of a devastating El Niño, a Zika epidemic — and the gravest humanitarian crisis of our generation, a movement of migrant and refugee children larger than any since World War II. All of these emergencies challenged UNICEF as it moved forward with its mission of saving and protecting children.


Yet alongside the struggle came acts of kindness, acts of hope. The children and their families continually inspired us with their resilience and determination, no matter what the difficulties, to find the futures they deserve. Below: UNICEF's year in photos 2016. 



Ecuador  Kids play at a UNICEF temporary school set up in Tabuga, Manabí to serve children displaced by the April earthquake.  © UNICEF/ECU/2016/Troppoli




A young Syrian refugee staying at a camp in East Lebanon receives a box of warm winter clothing provided by UNICEF.

Syria Crisis  Rafi, 3, with a box of winter clothing his family just received at a camp for Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. © UNICEF/UN042749/Khuzaie




 Haiti 2016: Children play at the Chretienne Nan Lindy church in Jeremie, Haiti. Some 300 people sought temporary shelter at the church after their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

Haiti  Children at a church where 300 people sought temporary shelter after Hurricane Matthew destroyed their homes. UNICEF is working to provide critical relief to children and families affected by the country's worst storm in a decade. © UNICEF/UN035877/LeMoyne



UNICEF provides treatment for malnutrition in South Sudan.

South Sudan  Eliza kisses her baby, Jal Puok, 1, at the Mercy Hospital in Juba. In 2016, UNICEF treated over 180,000 children for severe acute malnutrition in South Sudan alone. © UNICEF 2016/UN034425/Rich




A girl walks with her mother while carrying her sister at a camp for refugees from the Boko Haram insurgency in Camaroon.

Boko Haram Crisis  Fati, 15, walks with her mother and carries her sister at Cameroon's Minawao refugee camp. The Nigerian girl was abducted by Boko Haram and forced to spend four months as an insurgent's wife. Freed by Cameroonian soldiers, she is now reunited with her family at the UNICEF-supported camp. © UNICEF/UN015785/Prinsloo




On 23 February 2016, Danielle Lira, 19 years-old, mother of Thalles, who was born with microcephaly in Recife, Brazil. UNICEF 2016 ZIKA

Brazil  Danielle, 19, holds her son Thalles, who was born with Zika-related microcephaly in Recife this February. UNICEF is working to help control the spread of the epidemic across Latin America and the Caribbean and mitigate its impact on children and families. © UNICEF/UN011573/Ueslei Marcelino




A boy helps his sister across a ditch at a refugee & migrant transit center in the fyrMacedonia. Child refugee crisis.

Child Refugee Crisis  A boy helps his sister across a ditch at a refugee and migrant transit center in FYR Macedonia. The scale of this crisis is staggering, with nearly 50 million children uprooted from their homes.  © UNICEF/UN05568/Georgiev




The majority of the population in Yemen lacks access to safe, clean water since the conflict began. This is the "children's water train." UNICEF

Yemen  The children's "water trolley" in war-torn Taiz. In Yemen, where more than 19 million people need access to clean water, the daily search for the essential liquid is both challenging and dangerous. These kids created the trolley to get water to their houses more quickly. © UNICEF Yemen




El Niño-induced drought in the country has devastated crops and destroyed livelihoods, and its toll on children’s well-being is only now starting to be felt. More than 4 million Zimbabweans. UNICEF

Zimbabwe  El Niño-induced drought has devastated crops and destroyed livelihoods, and taken a terrible toll on children’s well-being. In Matebeland South Province, families have resorted to eating shrivelled fruit to survive. © UNICEF/UN032899/Mukwazhi




Children associated with the Cobra faction wait to be demobilized in Pibor, their weapons are seen on the ground. A total of 145 children from the Cobra Faction and SPLA-IO were disarmed and released by the two armed groups.

Children Not Soldiers  The use of children as combatants adds an even darker dimension to the already terrible conflict in South Sudan. In October, children with the Cobra faction waited to be demobilized in Pibor, South Sudan, their weapons seen on the ground. © UNICEF/UN037269/Lomodong




Parents with their child in Jakarta, Indonesia who just received her polio immunization through a UNICEF-supported immunization drive.

Indonesia  Santi and Lexi hope their daughter Tia Alestra, 5 months old, grows up to become a nurse. To make sure she grows up healthy and strong, they regularly bring her to a UNICEF-supported health center on Jakarta's outskirts. This March morning, Tia Alestra has just received her polio immunization. © UNICEF USA/Ibrahim




Iraq Crisis  Feleknaz has lived in Ain Al-Khadra refugee camp in Syria for the past two years after fleeing Sinjar mountain in Iraq. She now attends a UNICEF school at the camp. "I am first in my classroom this year," she says. "I want to be a doctor when I grow up." © UNICEF/UN020936/Hasen




UNICEF Child Protection office with a girl at a child-friendly space for Ecuadorians displaced by the April earthquake.

Ecuador  Belen Carillo, a UNICEF child protection specialist, comforts Kimberly, 6, at the “Y” encampment for displaced families just outside of San Jose de Chamanga a few days after the devastating earthquake. © UNICEF/ECU/2016/Reinoso




Zarah Mohammed, 5, is starting school for the first time. She and her family fled their village in Borno state, Nigeria under fire from Boko Haram. Zarah has lost so many things in her family’s flight from home.

Boko Haram Crisis  Zarah, 5, is starting school for the first time. She and her family fled their village in Borno state, Nigeria under fire from Boko Haram. Zarah has lost so many things in her family’s flight from home. But thanks to a UNICEF school at the camp where she now lives, learning won’t be one of them. © UNICEF Nigeria


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