UNICEF works in the world’s toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children and adolescents – and to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we do whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive and fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

What is UNICEF?

UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, is a United Nations Program based out of New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and their mothers around the globe. UNICEF’s work is carried out in 192 countries through country programs and National Committees. Following the organization’s conviction that “All children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential-to the benefit of a better world,” UNICEF works everywhere from Central and Eastern Europe to West and Central Africa, placing emphasis on major social issues such as child survival and development, basic education and gender equality, HIV/AIDS and children, child protection, and policy advocacy and partnerships. 


Through over 60 years of service to children, UNICEF has accomplished some incredible things, making major strides in various social spheres. Their work to empower girls influenced by gender disparity and lack of educational opportunity, for example, has been particularly effective. For instance, the organization has developed a program called TechnoGirls in South Africa that improves participation and outcomes in the STEM field for young girls. Ultimately, the main objective of the organization is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) developed in September 2000, all of which focus on combating poverty and reducing hunger, disease, environmental degradation and gender discrimination. Key Club and Kiwanis International partners with UNICEF through the Eliminate Project, a cause dedicated to eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. Tetanus is responsible for the death of over 34,000 infants every year, and mothers and babies in 14 different countries depend on Kiwanis donations to help them and their children.  A detailed outline of these goals and UNICEF’s progress in attaining them can be found on unicef.org.

How can my Key Club help?

Through the Eliminate Project, $1.80 can save a mother and all of her future children, and $10 can save 5 infants with MNT. Every small amount of money can make a huge difference, so encourage your Key Club to raise funds and bring awareness for UNICEF’s cause.

Every year, hundreds of Key Clubs take part in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, where members ask their community for donations instead of candy on Halloween, and it’s a great way to get everyone involved. You can come up with fundraising projects of your own as well to do throughout the year, including a change war, a movie night or dance at your school where you charge for admission, or hold a raffle. Be creative! It is Kiwanis International’s goal to raise $110 million for the Eliminate Project, and we are so close to making our goal. All we need is the participation of Key Clubs and their help in raising funds. You can also put up informational posters around your school, make announcements at assemblies, or hold a sports tournament in honor of UNICEF to simply bring awareness to their organization.