Malaria, family planning, fighting aids

Shakira does it, Roger Federer does it too – Nana Mouskouri has been doing it for a while: With their prominent names, they are committed to the children's relief organization UNICEF, probably the most prominent organization of the United Nations. She turns 60 on Monday. – On the occasion of its founding day, the Children's Fund called for increased investment in the education of girls and women. In many countries in Asia and Africa, being born a girl is tantamount to a death sentence, explained Heide Simonis, Chairwoman of UNICEF Germany.

Girls are fed less well from an early age, receive less medical care than boys and are often not allowed to go to school, Simonis said at the launch of the annual report on the state of children worldwide. Because girls are considered "worthless," female fetuses are deliberately aborted.

7.000 workers in 160 state The popularity of celebrity helpers such as Federer and Shakira is intended to draw the public's attention to those often forgotten children who suffer from poverty, illness and social hardship. For exactly 60 years, UNICEF has been helping young people and children in need and trying to give them a dignified perspective on life. Today, the organization counts 7.000 employees in 160 countries – and has thus become a global group for children's aid. In 2005, he used 1.5 billion euros for this purpose.In the decades since, the challenges have not diminished. Around 30 people still die every day.000 boys and girls, most from causes that would be easily cured in a functioning health care system. UNICEF expects almost 16 million AIDS orphans in Africa by 2010. The chairwoman of the German branch, Heide Simonis, recently called it simply scandalous that worldwide 1.000 billion euros are spent on military purposes, while many children could not attend school for lack of money. Nevertheless, the annual reports also repeatedly record successes. So there was positive news in many places in the fight against malaria – the relief agency is the world's largest buyer of mosquito nets, which can prevent transmission. Anti-Aids campaigns also have an impact.

Vatican stopped support in 1996 Not all donors agree with UNICEF's work. In 1996, for example, there was a scandal when the Vatican stopped its financial and symbolic support. The background to this was the publication of a UNICEF educational book, which also recommended the "morning-after pill" as a contraceptive method in case of emergency. Condom distribution did the rest. To this day, the Vatican no longer appears on donor lists. But there were also protests when UNICEF Director Ann Veneman, elected for five years in 2005, emphasized that sex education and family planning were not at the center of the agency's work, in contrast to her more liberal predecessor Carol Bellamy.At the birth of the United Nations Children's Fund, however, the world was united: without a dissenting vote, the UN General Assembly resolved on 11. December 1946, the founding of a relief organization, initially to respond to the suffering of boys and girls affected by the Second World War, also in Germany. But as early as 1950, the relief organization received a mandate to expand its work worldwide. At the same time country offshoots developed, so already 1953 in Cologne the German branch, where today approximately 8.000 volunteers are involved.

Nobel Peace Prize 1965 The UN Children's Aid Workers were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965: "For their tireless work for the welfare of children and the associated development aid in all parts of the world," was the reason given by the Nobel Committee for the award. To continue this mission, the relief organization still relies on donations today. The largest government donor is currently the U.S., followed by Norway and Japan. Germany landed in 16th place with 7.9 million euros in 2005. Rank.But UNICEF Director Veneman points to the trend of private donations steadily increasing – last year to825 million euros. This is one of the ways in which the efforts of Shakira, Roger Federer and Co. pay off. from.

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Christina Cherry
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