Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Progress for children: big accomplishments but still too many left behind

More children have access to clean water than ever before, 
but many still miss out, particularly the poorest
© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0950/Noorani

Nearly 15 years ago, the global community rallied behind eight goals in the hopes of building a better and more prosperous world. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set measurable targets and a 2015 deadline for achieving them. During my 33 years with UNICEF I have witnessed the challenges and remarkable accomplishments made throughout the world, and the MDGs have over the last 15 years been a great driver of progress.

As that deadline draws near, UNICEF has examined global data to determine whether children now have a greater chance to survive and thrive than they did when the goals were set in 2000. The results, showcased in UNICEF’s Progress for Children report, clearly show that despite significant achievements, millions of the world’s most vulnerable children have not benefitted from development efforts in the past 15 years.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Learning to smile again after Cyclone Pam

Three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu.,
and three months on. © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/McGarry

We first met three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu. Three months on, we go back to check in on her.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The traffic accident crisis

A school child receives a helmet at a road safety awareness raising
event at Nam Trung Yen school, Hanoi, Viet Nam
© ONE UN/WHO Viet Nam/2010 
It’s a shocking statistic: nothing kills more young men aged 15-29 than road traffic accidents. Three quarters of the estimated 1.2 million road deaths around the world each year involve men, and road accidents are the second biggest cause of disabilities and illness among adolescents.

As I sit and write this in our office in Thailand, I’m also quickly reminded that I’m writing from a country with the unwanted tag of having Asia’s deadliest roads. And some of the deadliest in the world.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The cost of inaction on violence against children

New research has revealed that violence against children is costing the Asia-Pacific region $209 billion per year. The social and economic impacts of child maltreatment include increased levels of violence and criminality, an added burden on already stretched health care systems, disability and even death. Here, we follow some stories about the impact of violence against children in the Asia-Pacific region, and see what UNICEF is doing to help.

“Hung” with Nguyen Thi Vu Ha, a UNICEF trained Child Protection Officer
© UNICEF Viet Nam \2015\Truong Viet Hung

Monday, June 1, 2015

Preventing sexual abuse of girls like Nong Aye

Aye’s classroom at the migrant learning centre in Tak Province
© UNICEF Thailand/2014/Metee Thuentap
The whole of Thailand was shocked by the case of 13-year-old Nong Kaem, who was raped, murdered, and thrown out of a train last year. Unfortunately, sexual abuse of children is more common in the country than most people realise.

In Tak Province, Nong Aye* was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher at a migrant learning centre for two years, from when she was 12 to 14. She was an active and expressive girl who enjoyed school activities. When she was young, her parents divorced and her mother moved to Bangkok. Aye and her siblings lived in a dormitory at the centre in the countryside. This made her an easy victim for the teacher, Zeya.