Unicef celebrates its 25th anniversary in Venezuela working in partnership with public agencies, civil society and the academia, implementing its 2015-2019 programme 

CARACAS, August 28, 2016 - Venezuela has achieved significant accomplishments for children in the last 25 years, such as increased school enrollment and the creation of a child sensitive regulatory environment. There are, however, challenges ahead, and the current situation threatens both the progress recorded and the sustainability of the achievements. Unicef, through the Country Programme agreed with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the 2015-2019 period, focuses its 2016 action on strengthening policies and systems to address challenges and consolidate achievements in the areas of health, nutrition, protection and education. 

Approximately 3 out of 4 child deaths in the country occur due to preventable causes, in many cases, with accessible strategies. Unicef, with the Ministry of People´s Power for Health (MPPS) and the Venezuelan Society of Childcare and Pediatrics, is supporting activities for the improvement of neonatal care, including training activities, dissemination of information materials and knowledge generation for decision making. 

Although recent preliminary studies suggest an increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, official 2008 data indicate that the rate was less than 30% for Venezuelan babies, despite being a practice that provides at least six times more chances of survival in the first few months. Unicef supports the MPPS’s National Breastfeeding Programme through different lines of action, including training activities for the implementation of the Child Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), and extending the approach to the development of strategies for supplementary feeding of the young child (6 months to 2 years). 

Violence impacts Venezuelan children in their immediate environment (home, school and community) and in different ways, including murder: an estimated 18% of homicide victims nationwide are teenagers between 15 and 19 years old. The Unicef Violence Prevention and Response Plan, together with the agencies involved in the protection system and civil society, undertakes actions to strengthen the capacities of protection system officials and to promote a culture peace and good rearing practices.  

Although Venezuela has made significant progress to ensure that every child attends primary school, there are still gaps associated with factors such as gender, ethnic origin, socioeconomic or urban-rural residence status. The next school year, Unicef, with the Ministry of People´s Power for Education (MPPE) and other partners, will support strategies for improving educational quality, the development of Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE), Education in Emergencies and strengthening school mediation and conflict resolution.    

Under the 2015-2019 Country Programme, Unicef also supports the prevention of maternal transmission of HIV, teenage pregnancy prevention and care, universal birth registration, and it contributes, across the board, to improving information and data collection systems on the situation of children and adolescents.

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Unicef’s 25th anniversary in Venezuela 

Unicef started cooperation with Venezuela with the signing of a Basic Cooperation Agreement, ratified by the Approving Law in 1967. For over two decades it functioned without an office and without resident staff. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by Venezuela on 29 August 1990 meant a broadening of the collaboration, which concluded on 28 August 1991 with the signing of the first Plan of Operations between Venezuela and Unicef, and the opening of its first office in the country.

Unicef has since worked in partnership with public agencies, organized society, academia and the private sector, addressing national priorities for children and adolescents as to contribute to strengthening the rights of every child and adolescent. Throughout these 25 years, Unicef has also provided support in emergency situations, such as the Vargas tragedy and the 2005 floods.

All the work of these first 25 years has been possible thanks to the allies implementing the programme, partners and private sector donors that help finance the programmes, and Unicef Friends, Ambassadors, celebrities, the media, and followers on social networks, who broadcast Unicef messages and campaigns.      

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk