How UNICEF Helped Save Millions of Children's Lives Last Year

April 3, 2017

Impact and innovation take the lead in UNICEF USA's Annual Report 2016 — from eliminating tetanus in India to speeding up medical testing in Malawi with the help of drones.


Last year, UNICEF worked for children in more than 190 countries and territories. We have an unparalleled commitment to making a real impact in children's lives and futures. We're also determined to find new low-cost, high-impact ways to help children.

In our Annual Report 2016, we share some of these children's powerful stories from around the world. Each child represents one of the many things UNICEF does, including emergency relief; education; nutrition; immunization and healthcare; water and sanitation; and child protection during conflict. You can read their stories below.

© UNICEF/UN018960/Arcos

After Ecuador’s devastating earthquake in April 2016, UNICEF immediately responded, providing safe, clean water and sanitation, protection for orphaned and separated children, health care and nutrition. For babies like Milagro (whose name means “miracle”), born hours before disaster struck, this meant the difference between life and death. She stayed safe in a school turned temporary shelter, napping in a hammock in one of the classrooms. UNICEF continues to support Ecuador’s ongoing recovery efforts. Learn more about Milagro here.

© UNICEF/UN028720/Tremeau

A violent attack by Boko Haram forced Fatime, 7, and her family to flee northeastern Nigeria. They made their way to Chad, where UNICEF is providing assistance to tens of thousands of people displaced by ongoing violence. Luckily, Fatime’s brothers found her a donkey to ride. “The hardest part was not being able to eat for four days in a row,” says Fatime. Today, she and her siblings have access to clean water and health care. They are also attending a school, for the first time, at a UNICEF-supported refugee camp in Darnaim. Learn more about Fatime here.

© UNICEF/UN025832/Malik

Children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition risk permanent damage to their brains and bodies. Younas — a 10-month-old boy from rural Pakistan diagnosed with this condition — was given ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a nutrient-rich peanut paste, at a UNICEF-supported clinic. RUTF packets come ready-to-serve and don’t require a doctor, water for mixing, or a refrigerator. Within two weeks, Younas began to recover. UNICEF is the global leader in RUTF procurement and helps spearhead a global movement, involving 57 countries, to end hunger and malnutrition. Learn more about Younas here.

Annual Report 2016

© UNICEF/UN033829/Laban

We are closer than ever to eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history. UNICEF and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have helped slash the number of polio cases by 99.9% over 30 years. Still, there are children like nine-year-old Job, one of the last children in Kenya to contract the disease, who offer an example of polio’s consequences. Yet he also represents progress — endemic polio has now been eliminated from all but a few countries, including his. We will not stop until polio is no longer a threat to any child, anywhere. Learn more about Job here.

© UNICEF/UNI189335/Gilbertson VII Photo

UNICEF works in Bolivia and more than 100 other countries worldwide to improve water and sanitation services and basic hygiene practices. Lucilda, 6, can access clean water from a tap outside her home in the outskirts of Monteagudo, a small town in the Chuquisaca department, thanks to the success of a community water project supported by UNICEF with help from local partners, including Lucilda’s father, a plumber. Learn more about Lucilda here.

© UNICEF/UN029148/Phelps

Providing a safe place for kids to learn and play is one way UNICEF works to help children at risk. Fanta, 9, joins in daily recreational activities, organized under a tent, at a camp for displaced families in Elh Mainari, Niger. The UNICEF-supported program aims to recreate a sense of normalcy for children who have fled conflict — Fanta is originally from a part of Nigeria threatened by Boko Haram — and to protect them from further trauma, exploitation and abuse. Learn more about Fanta here.




NOTE: UNICEF USA's 2016 Annual Report highlights our work for children — and financial results — for Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016).

UNICEF USA brings together people, partners, corporations, foundations, the public and private sectors, the young, the old, innovators of any age — to tackle the world's toughest problems for children and support UNICEF's efforts to produce lifesaving results. 






Ninety percent of every dollar we spend goes directly to assist children. For more about our finances, click here.