UNICEF's Next Generation members Allison Back and Suruchi Ahuja at the May 14th Children First Speaker Series event.
On May 11, 2015 the New England Regional Office was pleased to host another amazing Children First Speaker Series Luncheon featuring guest speaker Alexandra Yuster who is the Associate Director of the Programme Division at UNICEF Headquarters.
In her presentation, Alexandra spoke about UNICEF’s work on Social Inclusion, which aims to focus on causal, upstream conditions that allow for the inclusion, protection, and flourishing of every child’s wellbeing. She made it clear that without equitable policy, provision of rights, and the support of local communities, children and adolescents cannot begin to truly make meaningful strides towards self-empowerment and the improvement of their quality of life. In one of her examples, Alexandra mentioned how it technically does help to have a school for children built in a remote village in India, but until the stigma around allowing the children of people in the “untouchable” caste is removed from the equation then the job will only ever be half complete because a number of children are being excluded from that effort.
Alexandra also outlined the ongoing evolution of UNICEF’s outreach and how the organization has started involving the private sector in their work. This expanded focus allows UNICEF to create more holistic efforts to address child poverty, health and education disparities, and social inclusion. UNICEF has recognized that the private sector plays a critical role in influencing how societies function and so they aim to continue to capitalize on that as a way to expand their influence and capability to effect change for the children of the world.
Social Inclusion work at UNICEF is crucial for the realization of child equity and empowerment and will continue to be cornerstone to the work of the organization. We were honored to have Alexandra come speak and shed light on this subject matter and allow us to see what UNICEF is doing for the long-term to ensure that their work produces meaningful results for generations of children all over the world.