©UNICEF/ Syria 2018/ Delil Souleiman- 6-year-old Hiba excitedly raises her hand to answer her teacher’s question during a self-learning session in Areeshah camp, Al-Hassakah, Syria. The UNICEF-supported programme there is allowing 400 children continue their learning, after years of violence and displacement.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
UNICEF established its office in Syria in 1970 to support the Government fulfil its obligation to empower children to fully claim and enjoy their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF works across sectors of health and nutrition, social policy, child protection, early childhood development and education, water and sanitation (WASH), disaster risk reduction, and youth empowerment and development. UNICEF also provides humanitarian assistance in emergency situations.
Since the onset of the crisis in Syria, UNICEF has responded to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities with life-saving interventions, especially in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection and education. Of particular importance are UNICEF’s water-related interventions to ensure sustained access to drinking water and sanitation for almost 5.4 million people. UNICEF achieved this through the rehabilitation of water and sewage networks and water pumping stations, and the equipping and rehabilitating of wells in 11 out of the 14 Syrian governorates. In areas of recent massive displacement, UNICEF provided approximately 3.2 million people with access to safe drinking water, through emergency water trucking and the rehabilitation of WASH facilities. UNICEF is supporting 2.1 million children’s formal and informal education through various programmes; including its “Back to Learning Campaign,” teachers’ professional development programmes, provision of teaching and learning materials, and accelerated learning programmes to help out-of-school children catch up with their peers. UNICEF also supports the inventory and renewal of the cold-chain system that ensures the safety of vaccines and effective immunization services in the country.
UNICEF has 221 staff members working out of its Damascus office and field offices in Aleppo, Homs, Al-Qamishli and Tartous; and cooperates with over 90 national and international partners.
Since July 2017, Fran Equiza has served as the Representative of UNICEF in Syria.