Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bathrooms on the move: supporting innovation in Asia-Pacific

Ulziichimeg, 6, is one of the 'reindeer people'
who live in Mongolia’s Khuvsgul province
© UNICEF/UNI180628/Brake
Innovation is one of the key ways in which UNICEF accelerates progress for children. We have defined innovation as “doing something new or different that adds value,” so it cannot simply be something that is novel, it must have impact. We don’t see innovation as something that is necessarily synonymous with technology, although UNICEF is a leader in mobile phone-based innovation. Innovating in the way we think and work are equally important.

One innovation in Asia Pacific that grabbed my attention is in Mongolia, where winter lasts for five months from November through March and temperatures range between -13 and -45°C.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Building a protective environment for every child in Rakhine, Myanmar

Zu Ber lives in a Muslim village between two camps for displaced people
© UNICEF Myanmar/2015/Myo Thame
A one and a half hour walk to attend English classes was a sacrifice worth making for 13 year-old Zu Ber. He lives in Ohn Taw Chay, a Muslim village located between two camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar.

He has been trapped there since sectarian violence rocked Rakhine State in 2012, dividing neighbouring villages against each other. Afterwards, Muslim and Rakhine communities were separated into different camps. With little freedom of movement out of the camps, Zu Ber and his family were left stranded.

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.