With a long history of giving back to the community and critical causes that are impactful the world over, Jason Colodne and Colbeck Capital Management have continued their support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF relies largely on donations and support from companies and individual contributors to be able to bring care to children where they need it most. These contributions are used by the organization to help children who are in extreme conditions get access to basics in wellness and education.
UNICEF operates lean in order to put the majority of funds, approximately 88%, toward helping children while keeping administrative costs at a minimum. Despite running at a low cost, the organization has a powerful worldwide reach, operating in over 190 countries and featuring over 13,000 team members. All of this is against a backdrop of experience: UNICEF has over 75 years of response experience for humanitarian crises and emergencies, responding to over 300 threats and issues each year.
According to its website, UNICEF has “saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization.” To this end, critical services provided by the organization focus on the advancement and provision of resources regarding health care, nutrition, access to safe water, sanitation, and education. These are provided in areas facing dire circumstances where children are unable to access necessary resources needed to protect their basic rights. This includes providing access to immunization and disease-outbreak response for children, including prevention and treatment for COVID-19.
In addition, UNICEF works to provide for children who are displaced or otherwise impacted by acts of war and unsettlement to offer emergency relief where it is needed most. Most recently, UNICEF has activated its efforts in response to the war in Ukraine and the enlarged refugee crisis that is resulting from a mass distress exodus from the country. According to data from UNHCR, two-thirds of all children in Ukraine have evacuated and crossed to neighboring countries, which are under strain to provide for the influx of millions. UNICEF continues to work to provide for these refugees as well as for the humanitarian needs of those who have not, or cannot, evacuate from areas of conflict. UNICEF was not new to the region, which had benefited from its services since 2014 as socioeconomic hardships began to affect the country’s inhabitants with limited access to services including immunization and disease prevention. The impact from the COVID-19 pandemic only stood to worsen conditions in the shadow of outright war in February 2022.
The conflict in Ukraine has affected more than just Ukrainian citizens and residents. UNICEF has worked to respond to food shortages and rising costs across the world with the decrease in output from Ukraine’s major grain exports. Regions that rely on these exports, including the Middle East and Africa, are now facing increased food insecurity. This is especially pronounced in areas of continuing conflict such as Afghanistan and Yemen, where efforts remain underway to combat chronic poverty, unemployment, and unrest that result in lack of access to resources for many women and children. In Afghanistan, over 1 million children have been treated for severe acute malnutrition and over 10 million children have received vaccinations against measles through UNICEF’s efforts. In Yemen, where 70% of the population is in dire need of humanitarian aid, over 2 million children under the age of 5 continue to suffer from failings in nutrition and access to adequate food resources.
Combating malnutrition remains a bastion of UNICEF’s mission as conflicts in more and more countries give rise to famine, lack of access, and lack of monetary resources to feed children and women. Among UNICEF’s efforts are ongoing nutrition programs and efforts to provide lifesaving treatments and scaled prevention for children suffering from food shortages. Areas affected by natural disasters or conflicts suffer when food and other resources are cut off from these regions. These children must be provided with food supplies, and they must also be treated for malnutrition with specialized food and vitamin supplements that can help replenish vital nutrients needed for proper growth and development.
Regions where infrastructures are impacted by distress, war, or disaster are supported by UNICEF year-round with the funds provided by donors the world over. Donations also go to efforts in developed nations to eliminate inequities in care, resources, and access for a variety of populations. Efforts to create positive social impact in the United States include programs for friendlier cities and advocacy for government and legislative change in support and empowerment of children’s rights.