James Nesbitt OBE

UNICEF UK Ambassador

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Jimmy has been an Ambassador since 2005 after being introduced to UNICEF UK through his favourite football team Manchester United.

Football has been a running theme with Jimmy’s involvement with UNICEF UK and he has supported Soccer Aid since its inception in 2006, when he visited Zambia to see our work for children living with HIV and AIDS. Since then Soccer Aid for UNICEF has raised over £38 million for vulnerable children worldwide.

Jimmy travelled to see just how far this money goes, in a documentary for ITV (which aired in 2020). His journey took him to some of the hardest to reach children in the world, from the highest point on earth – Mount Everest – to the lowest point – the Dead Sea. Jimmy saw how Soccer Aid for UNICEF is changing children’s lives with simple and tangible help – shoes for children who don’t have any, teaching equipment for children whose school was destroyed in an earthquake, a football programme to help girls get an education, and vaccines to keep children happy and healthy.


It allows me to use my job to do something that really makes a difference… My trips also remind me, time and time again, how similar children are all over the world.

Whoever I meet and whatever difficulties they face the children are the same. They laugh at the same things – a funny face, a stupid noise – they cry when they fall over.

James Nesbitt, Unicef UK Ambassador

James has travelled widely with UNICEF, raising awareness and vital funds to keep children safe. His first trip was to India in 2005 to see UNICEF UK funded education projects and he later travelled to Sudan to see our programmes rehabilitating child soldiers.

For Soccer Aid for UNICEF in 2008, he visited projects in Georgia to understand issues facing institutionalised children and for Soccer Aid for UNICEF in 2010 he saw UNICEF UK’s work in Guinea for children living with malaria.

Global Guardians

In 2022 Jimmy became a Patron for our UNICEF Global Guardians programme. Global Guardians are our very special supporters who commit to make an annual donation of at least £5,000 in support of every child, for at least three years. They receive tailored updates, invitations to exclusive events and a personal contact to answer any questions they have about the work they are so generously supporting. Find out more.

Join Jimmy

We are working tirelessly to protect children everywhere, and give them hope for a happy future. We’re in communities, in refugee camps, wherever we’re needed, to provide education, psychosocial support and safe spaces for them to play and have some much-needed fun.

Join Jimmy in helping us reach more children. Make a donation today.


James in Georgia for Soccer Aid 2008 to highlight the issue of child abandonment. Unicef/2008
Unicef UK Ambassador James Nesbitt and Charley Boorman share a moment.
Jimmy meets Shital, aged 12, in Simara, Southern Nepal. Shital plays in a girls’ football team who are supported by Soccer Aid.
Jimmy helps paint the wooden toys that make up part of UNICEF’s ‘Early Learning Kit’ in the factory in Kathmandu.
Jimmy visits a Makhani (myspace) childrens centre Za’atari refugee camp, Northern Jordan.
Jimmy plays football with children in Glasgow on the last leg of his journey to see how Soccer Aid for Unicef has helped children in the UK who are struggling to make ends meet because of coronavirus
James in Georgia for Soccer Aid 2008 to highlight the issue of child abandonment. Unicef/2008
Jimmy with his fellow Unicef UK Ambassador Charley Boorman at the Halloween Ball in 2016
Jimmy helps distribute winter clothing such as shoes, warm coats and trousers as children prepare to face the cold winter months at an informal tented community in Karak, Jordan.
Jimmy plays the flute to children at Samajkalyan Primary School in Panchkal, Kavre, Nepal. The schools were severely damaged by the 2015 earthquake and had to be demolished and rebuild. Every child at the school lost their home. Thanks to Unicef, the school now has a brand new earthquake resistant classroom and nursery for pre-school children, filled with early learning equipment and teaching resources. All the teachers have been fully trained to help the children to learn through play.