May 29, 2020

Update: Sharing Good News from Cote d'Ivoire!

Sylviane, a UNICEF engineer, on site at a build
Sylviane, a UNICEF engineer, on site at a build

Dear UNICEF Community,

We are happy to share some much-needed good news. Despite numerous challenges, including the outbreak of COVID-19, production of the first plastic bricks in Côte d'Ivoire has begun thanks to your support!

Together, UNICEF and Conceptos Plasticos built two latrines, two health storage unites, and 42 classrooms. Through these efforts, over 225 tons of plastic have been recycled and 2,100 children will now have access to safe, sustainable school facilitates.

In Gouékolo, in the West of Côte d’Ivoire, Sylviane, 34, supervises the construction of a plastic bricks school. As a construction engineer, Sylviane works with local companies and workers from the communities to ensure the quality of classroom construction meets the quality and safety standards for children and young people.

"I have 12 years of professional experience and this is the first time I have worked on such an innovative project. My main goal is to create a safe and favorable environment for children to learn." - explains Sylviane. Behind each classroom made of recycled plastic bricks, there is a dynamic group of construction companies, architectural firms, and young people, committed to making communities more child and environment friendly. "With this new construction material, we can build classrooms in few weeks rather than a few months which is normally the time it takes to build traditional classrooms with concrete blocks," she adds.

 "Since the beginning of the project, my team and I have helped to improve the learning conditions of over 3,000 children across Cote d’Ivoire and this is just the beginning!" - explains Sylviane enthusiastically. In Côte d'Ivoire, UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Education to provide quality learning spaces for all children, especially for primary and preschool children. This innovative UNICEF project also addresses many challenges affecting children’s learning environment.

"My biggest satisfaction is to see the amazement and joy of children, teachers and the community at each new rehabilitation or construction. I am also very happy to contribute to the success of this project, which is unique in Africa." - explains Sylviane.

The incredible progress already achieved by Sylviane, her team, UNICEF and Conceptos Plasticos would not have been possible without your support. While this is just the beginning, we thank you for being some of the first to support this critical work.


In Partnership,

Whitney Simon

Feb 28, 2020

Update: Curbing the Spread of Coronavirus

Five-year-old Yuanyuan, Wuhan China
Five-year-old Yuanyuan, Wuhan China

Dear Friend,

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is officially a public health emergency of international concern. The COVID-19 epidemic that originated in China has now spread to at least 28 countries and territories. Thanks to your support of UNICEF in emergencies, UNICEF is working with partners to help protect children and contribute to containing the virus.

The size and evolution of the outbreak and current knowledge on its ability to be transmitted through communities signals that the virus could still spread further within the region, despite the efforts by national authorities and the international community to contain it. While the virus has been spreading to other regions, the main burden remains in the East Asia and Pacific region. Urgent efforts are needed to contain the outbreak and to prepare health systems and communities to mitigate the impacts. The effect of a large-scale outbreak on children, especially poor and vulnerable children, can be immense— through disruption to education and health services, impacts on caregivers, and separation from family members.

Five-year-old Yuanyuan is from Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. Her parents and grandparents tested positive for COVID-19 and were admitted to a hospital. She was the only one in her family not infected with the virus and was left behind at home. Medical personnel in the hospital decided to look after the girl, and a volunteer helped keep her company. With tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases reported in Wuhan, the city has been under lockdown since 23 January as authorities work to contain the spread of the disease. Most of the city’s hotels were shut down, so the hospital vacated a room for Yuanyuan and the volunteer to live in. The hospital staff provided regular meals and some of the medical personnel taught Yuanyuan how to protect herself from the virus. Yuanyuan has been separated from her family for days but keeps a positive attitude. She follows the advice of the medical personnel looking after her to eat healthily, rest well and go outside for some sun. And with the help of the volunteer, Yuanyuan telephones her mother and cheers her up.

Given the global nature of the outbreak, UNICEF is engaging in preparedness activities and contingency planning for COVID-19 across regions in an effort to keep children such as Yuanyuan safe. UNICEF has also provided critical supplies - protective suits, masks, goggles, gloves - to protect health workers and minimize amplification of infection through health care-associated transmission. Thanks, in part, to your continued support, the first UNICEF personal protective equipment supplies were unloaded upon arrival from Denmark at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai in China on January 29, 2020. The first supplies were delivered weighing nearly six tons and including 97,221 masks and 10,861 protective suits for health workers in Wuhan. To date, a total of 187,221 masks, 28,861 protective suits, 12,000 protective goggles, and 1.2 million disposable gloves were delivered for use by health facilities and other local government departments directly supporting them, and there are thousands more goggles, protective suits and surgical gowns and gloves in the pipeline.

In addition to the provision of needed supplies, UNICEF is focusing on limiting human-to-human transmission and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on the health system and affected communities. This efforts include response or preparedness activities in countries around the world that:

  • facilitate risk communication and community engagement activities, including through community-based communication, mass media and social media;
  • ensure that children and pregnant and lactating women who are impacted by the outbreak are supported with adequate health care;
  • assess and curtail the secondary effects of the outbreak, including by facilitating continued access to education where schools may be closed or quarantines imposed and address protection needs, including through the provision of psychosocial support to those directly or indirectly affected.

Thank you for your continued support. This rapid response would not have been possible without your commitment to UNICEF’s work in emergencies and the wellbeing of children everywhere.


In Partnership,



Feb 18, 2020

Update: Migration Outflow from Venezuela


Dear Friend,

Venezuela continues to have one of the fastest-growing outflows of migrants and refugees in the world. By the end of 2019, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were hosting 3.9 million Venezuelans out of the 4.8 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide. As it stands, this outflow of children and families represents the largest displacement in this region’s recent history. Currently, 67 percent of Venezuelan migrants and refugees are being hosted in only seven countries: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The scale of needs resulting from this outflow has surpassed the capacities of these seven receiving countries, thus straining the already vulnerable host communities.

Thanks to your support, in 2019 UNICEF and partners were able to scale up assistance to both Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as host communities. In the past year, UNICEF’s response throughout these seven countries reached over 288,000 children; from refugee, migrant and host communities, who received assistance through services and supplies in key areas such as education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Below are a series of target indicators that were reached in 2019:

  • Reached 37,000 children in Colombia with formal and nonformal learning activities
  • Provided over 52,000 children and family members in Peru with hygiene kits and information of safe hygiene practices
  • Prevented acute malnutrition for over 7,100 children in Ecuador by providing nutritional supplements
  • Reached over 27,600 children in Brazil with psychosocial support interventions
  • Provided 303 families in Panama with legal assistance focused on immigration regularization processes

Your generous support has led to renewed livelihoods for children and their families throughout these seven host countries. Going forward, as children and families continue to flee Venezuela, UNICEF must stay persistent in scaling up its response. In 2020, UNICEF estimates that over 1.9 million children will need assistance in countries receiving the highest influx of Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Your continued support has been, and continues to be, critical in UNICEF’s efforts to ensure that these child migrants and refugees, as well as children in host communities, not only sustain a livelihood, but thrive once again.


Whitney Simon 

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