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2011 Year in Review

By Andrea Ramhit
Social Media Coordinator, UNICEF Canada

In 2011, we saw the world change.

We said goodbye to icons as we welcomed the 7 billionth person into the world. We witnessed extreme climate events devastate communities as we provided support to families. And we faced financial and political instability as we strengthened our conviction to children’s rights.

We were challenged every step of the way, but I was impressed by how our team never faltered – finding inspiration from the very children we were helping. Their strength, resilience and desire to shape their own futures encouraged us to work that much harder. 

I will always remember Aden. Three-year-old Aden and his father Abdile fled the famine and conflict in Somalia for a chance at survival in neighbouring Kenya. Aden was severely malnourished and would have died had it not been for his will to live, Adbile’s love and devotion, and the timely delivery of life-saving aid. His recovery was remarkable – we saw it before our very eyes. Our job may have been to transform Aden’s life, but in reality he transformed ours.

We define our success in 2011 with stories like Aden’s. We can also report on some stunning achievements for children’s rights – achievements made possible with your support.

In 2011, the under-five mortality rate fell to its lowest level in history, with more children living to see their fifth birthday. UNICEF supplied 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to 99 countries, reaching 58 percent of the world’s children. And with our partners, we helped Ghana and Uganda eliminate neonatal tetanus.

We also made great strides in education and child protection. UNICEF helped build schools in over 41 countries and sent child development kits to 32 disaster-affected regions. Our international policy work also bore fruit; five countries added their names to the ‘Paris Commitments,’ bringing the total number of states that have pledged to prevent the use of children in armed conflict to 100.

And last but certainly not least, we established several rights-respecting schools and advocated for Aboriginal children here in Canada.

For every life saved and for every life transformed, you have our heartfelt gratitude. 

We may have seen the world change in 2011, but we changed too. Our New Year’s Resolution is to reach the poorest, most marginalized children in the world. We have to. Every child deserves every opportunity, no exceptions. 

I am excited to see what 2012 holds for all of us, and I speak on behalf of our team when I wish you the best for a healthy and happy new year.

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