What UNICEF Stands For
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a program dedicated to providing developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries as well as supporting humanitarian efforts globally. UNICEF operates in over 190 countries in an effort to protect and save children’s lives.

How UNICEF Works

UNICEF receives its funding through donations from government entities around the globe as well as private donors. Of these funds, government entities are responsible for two-thirds of the organization’s resources. UNICEF stands for transparency. It reports that of the donations it receives, nearly 92 percent is distributed to relief programs.

UNICEF was founded in 1946 in an effort to help war-torn children in the many countries affected by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF dropped the words International and Emergency from its title in an effort to extend its reach to children in need in developing countries.

What UNICEF Stands For

Today, in cooperation with governments and NGOs, UNICEF stands for providing health care to children, promoting children’s rights and providing immunizations, adequate nutrition, safe food and water as well as basic education. UNICEF’s ultimate goal is to ensure that no child ever goes hungry, thirsty, dies prematurely or is bought, sold or otherwise victimized. In order to achieve this, UNICEF works with families in need and helps ensure adoption policies are in accordance with the best and most ethical practices today.

UNICEF stands for transparency in the nonprofit sector. It receives high praises from many watchdogs for its monetary transparency policies. Of every dollar spent, 90 cents go to children’s efforts, seven cents go toward fundraising efforts and three cents go toward overhead and administrative costs. As well as being transparent, UNICEF excels at working with other agencies and private businesses to fight for children’s rights.

UNICEF’s Partnership with Google

UNICEF works with companies like Google to respond to emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Most recently, UNICEF has worked with Google to help aid children and families affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

As well as emergency aid, UNICEF and Google collaborate to support the annual flu shot campaign provided by UNICEF. This collaboration has raised over $600,000 toward UNICEF’s immunization program.

In 2016, Google helped UNICEF by donating $1 million to help fight the spread of the Zika virus. Google worked with UNICEF to build a program which tracked the anticipated outbreak of the virus and developed technology that is applicable to not only the Zika virus but other virus outbreaks in the future. With Google’s help, UNICEF helped prevent the spread of the Zika virus and saved the lives of many children and families around the world.

UNICEF is a program with the noble intentions of promoting children’s health and happiness around the globe. Many of the programs provided by UNICEF have helped greatly in reducing the abuse of children in over 190 countries. With its clear mission of transparency, UNICEF succeeds in providing aid to children and families in need. With the help of NGOs and companies like Google, UNICEF is set to continue its story of success in the future.

– Dalton Westfall

Photo: Flickr

Drone Use
While domestic drone use was nothing but a hobby a few years ago, it has now developed into a life-saving technology. Drones have become bigger and stronger as the technology has developed, capable of delivery services now, as seen with Amazon’s Prime Air. Most recently, drones have started delivering medical supplies.

Zipline International, a robotics company based in Silicon Valley, partnered with Rwanda’s government and commenced flying medicine to people. Drone use is especially useful in naturally isolated areas without accessible infrastructure as finding emergency health care can be impossible. However, the Zipline drones can reach those places with no problem.

Weighing 22 pounds, the drones can carry three pounds of medicine and fly 75 miles on a single charge. The company claims they can deliver the medicine in under 30 minutes, eliminating the need for refrigeration or insulation and readily helping those in emergency situations.

In underdeveloped nations like Rwanda, drone use may become one of the most important humanitarian tools, delivering essential medicine to isolated locations where malaria, AIDS and other diseases are still rampant. In the U.S., Zipline also plans to operate in remote communities in Nevada, Maryland and Washington. They are set to begin test runs with support from the White House.

Field Innovation Team, a disaster preparedness nonprofit, recently completed a successful test run in New Jersey, delivering medical supplies to a rural health clinic. The organization views drone use as vital to responding to natural disaster situations.

In past situations, like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, drones delivered supplies to stranded communities and survivors. Drones may be essential in emergency aid situations. According to the African Development Bank this can be especially helpful in rural Africa, where only 34% of communities have road access.

Another area for drones to enter is food delivery. In impoverished nations, many go hungry, even without natural disasters. With the continued development of drones and proper regulation, the hundreds of millions of malnourished people may find another way to receive necessary aid on a more consistent basis.

Drones could deliver more than food — tools and seeds to aid in agricultural needs could be delivered, and even the internet could be provided. Facebook has plans to launch high-altitude drones that connect people in smaller cities or the outskirts of urban areas to the internet.

In places where hospitals and doctors are scarce, transportation infrastructure is nonexistent and where poverty is rampant, drone use can become the solution to both temporary and long-term problems. They can help in natural disasters, in pandemics and perennially underserved communities.

Henry Gao

Photo: Flickr

The AMAR Foundation works to improve the conditions of approximately 3.4 million internally displaced Iraqis by utilizing local expertise to build long-term solutions.

The organization, founded in 1991 by Baroness Emma Nicholson, is a London-based charity with the goal of improving education, health care and emergency aid to some of the world’s most disenfranchised and impoverished people.

Their model is simple: AMAR works closely with on-the-ground experts, as well as local leaders, to implement entirely local programs that are tailored to the needs of the community.

In lieu of sending in volunteers from other countries, AMAR cooperates with existing services to locally source the materials and expertise needed to improve living conditions. Outside intervention is kept to a minimum and communities are encouraged to build themselves from the inside out.

Communication is the key to the success of this aid model. In a 2015 Jordan Times article reporting on AMAR’s efforts to stem an outbreak of cholera in Iraq, it is proffered that raising awareness about public health and common diseases is one of the most crucial pieces of improving the health of a community.

Communication is key not only in improving public health but also in ensuring the success of locally-based aid efforts like those the AMAR Foundation organizes.

Local collaboration is by no means a new idea, but the AMAR Foundation’s astonishing success utilizing this model within Iraq provides great hope for the future of foreign aid worldwide.

Without the help of major international funding, AMAR has managed to establish a clinic in northern Iraq that serves more than 600 patients a day, as well as multiple mobile health clinics that can be operated by locals. Since 2005, their clinics have helped over 4 million Iraqis.

Although today only a few organizations embrace a model that favors entirely local implementation, the AMAR foundation continues to provide an example of the great success that can come from on-the-ground solutions.

Sage Smiley

Photo: Defense Video Imagery Distribution System

food aid program
In terms of volume, the United States is the largest international humanitarian donor. The U.S. contributed approximately $8 billion in emergency aid in the last five years. Yet, how efficiently is this funding being allocated, and are taxpayers getting their money’s worth?

According to Jared Pincin and Brian Brenberg, both professors at The King’s College, U.S. foreign aid works to benefit special interests and its full extent does not reach those who need it the most.

In their recent USA Today article, Pincin and Brenberg explain the relation between food aid and politically connected businesses. In their words, the reason for this is that food aid is “tied, which means that it must be sourced from U.S. producers and transported on U.S. ships.”

“Even though reforming such tied aid programs would help the needy and save money for U.S. taxpayers, Congress is unlikely to change the system. Foreign aid is a lucrative business for interest groups, which aggressively lobby political leaders for pieces of the foreign aid pie, i.e. contracts. Elected officials often reward these powerful industries or companies in exchange for help with re-election, sometimes even lobbying on their behalf.”

While this sounds like the works of shady operation, in Washington D.C. this practice is perfectly legal. Allocating funds in a way that benefits special interests ensures that the fundraising machine continues to operate without problems.

Through the food aid program, the U.S. buys produce and other farm commodities from U.S. farms. Then all this foodstuff is shipped to villages in poor countries in U.S. ships. While this practice greatly benefits U.S. corporations, indeed it has a negative impact on local farmers across the globe.

Since foodstuff can be obtained for free from an outside source, the market and therefore the incentive for local farmers to produce is nullified. This means that not only farmers in developing countries are loosing demand for their product, but they are not able to hire locals and expand their business, which curtails economic growth.

As Pincin and Brenberg conclude, foreign aid’s primary goal is to help those in need and not to pad the pockets of special interests. This is not to say that benefiting U.S. farmers and corporations is an entirely bad thing. But when foreign assistance funding is allocated based on who provides better fundraising, than the real needs of each program, it is not only a waste of taxpayer’s money, but it is a waste of world resources.

Sahar Abi Hassan

Sources: Capitol Hill Daily, USA Today
Photo: Food for the Hungry