As a young person, you have a right to speak up about the things that are important to you – and for adults to listen and take your views seriously.
At The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), we’re working to promote children and young people’s voices through initiatives like OutRight and our Youth Advisory Board. Keep reading to find out more about these, and other ways to get involved.
You’ll find the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked by children and young people on this page.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just get in touch with our Supporter Care team or call 0300 330 5580 and they’ll point you in the right direction.
If you are feeling worried about something, Childline has people you can talk to about absolutely anything, at any time – just call them on 0800 1111.
How we work to protect children
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. We work to build a better world for children, and focus on the children who need the most help. We also help to keep children safe when emergencies such as earthquakes and wars affect them and their families.
How did it all begin?
UNICEF began in 1946 after the end of World War II: we helped make life better and safer for children living in Europe after the war. In 1953, Unicef began helping children all over the world. Now, we work in more than 190 countries to protect children everywhere and help them to have the best start in life.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guides all of our work: the Convention was agreed by governments across the world in 1989. It says what they must do so that children can stay healthy, can learn at school, are kept safe, have their views listened to and are treated fairly. All the rights in the Convention apply to every child, no matter who they are or where they come from.
How does UNICEF help children in the UK?
- Rights Respecting Schools Award: we work with schools in the UK to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive.
- Child Friendly Cities & Communities: Child Friendly Cities & Communities is a UNICEF initiative that works with councils to put children’s rights into practice.
- The Baby Friendly Initiative: The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative supports breastfeeding and parent infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care.
- Youth Engagement: It’s part of our mission to promote children’s voices so we work hard to make sure there are ways for children and young people to play an active part in our work, if they want to. Check out our short video to hear why youth engagement is so important to our work!
Stand up for your rights
OutRight is our youth campaigning initiative that makes sure that children’s voices are at the heart of our public campaigns.
Encourage your school or youth group to join OutRight and they’ll receive free campaigning resources to help influence decision makers at all levels.
Start your own campaign
We’ve created a Youth Advocacy Toolkit to help you!
Youth advocacy is all about children and young people speaking up on the issues and decisions that affect your lives, with adult allies on-hand to help when it’s needed. This toolkit will give you (as well as Teachers and Youth Workers) the skills and information you need to speak up about what is important to you.
Youth Advisory Board
We have had a Youth Advisory Board – eight young people from across the UK, all aged 14 to 18 when they applied, since May 2019. This group is tasked with:
- Being a voice on children’s rights – on behalf of UNICEF UK and other children and young people
- Providing insight – about what children and young people like and care about, to help us develop new ideas
- Raising awareness – use their networks to help other young people understand our work
We know that many children and young people are concerned about the climate crisis and want to use their voices to call for action.
If none of this is quite what you’re looking for, the team at the #iwill Campaign have created a great page to help you to find opportunities of interest.
Questions about working with UNICEF UK
How can I get involved with UNICEF UK's work?
To support our work for children around the world you could organise a fundraising event. There is lots of information about fundraising for UNICEF, including ideas for different events, on our website. You can also fundraise in your school .
Are you interested in campaigning? Your school or youth group can sign up through our website to receive free resources to stand up for clean air with our OutRight campaign.
I'm interested in volunteering for UNICEF UK
We don’t have regular volunteering opportunities at UNICEF UK but you can read more about campaigning and fundraising for our work with children, here.
We don’t send volunteers overseas from the UK or offer financial support to individuals who have a trip planned.
Can I do an internship with UNICEF UK?
We don’t offer any internship opportunities in our office currently, because we don’t have the staff capacity to host interns. If we ever do have any opportunities of this nature these will be advertised on our jobs page.
Are there any opportunities for me to get involved with UNICEF internationally?
UNICEF’s Voices of Youth is a brilliant global platform where young people can share inspiring stories and opinions, which may be of interest to you. Anybody is welcome to write, film, comment and engage in discussions. Take a look!
Questions about campaigning or fundraising for UNICEF UK
I want to campaign for UNICEF UK
Campaigning for UNICEF gives you the opportunity to sign petitions or send letters/emails to your MP to make changes for children. There is no commitment for you to take action but the more people who do the more our voices can be heard.
Every year UNICEF UK runs a campaign called OutRight through schools and youth groups, focusing on children’s rights. Your school or youth group can sign up to receive a free resource pack through our website.
Can my school or youth group get involved with UNICEF UK?
Absolutely! Your school or youth group can support UNICEF UK by hosting a fundraising event. There are lots of different event ideas on our website. Your school could join the Soccer Aid Playground Challenge, which takes place each year, or our #BakeForSyria campaign.
Every year we run a campaign called OutRight through schools and youth groups, focusing on children’s rights. Your school or youth group can sign up to receive a free resource pack through our website.
I'm attending University - what can I get involved with?
Through campaigning and fundraising, you support us in our efforts to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a better and safer world for tomorrow’s children. More information about how to do this can be found here.
How can UNICEF UK help me?
Can UNICEF UK help with my coursework?
We can’t offer interviews to students or respond to survey questions due to time limitations, but you can find lots of useful information about our work on our website.
If you want to learn more about what life is like in different countries around the world, the UNICEF Data website has information on issues, such as child health, nutrition, education and gender equality. Just use the drop-down menu ‘data by topic and country’ to select the area you are interested in.
Check out our UNICEF UK YouTube channel for lots of videos showing different areas of our work – just search by theme or country.
I'm working on a design project for a developing country - can UNICEF UK help?
Innovation is vital to improving the state of the world’s children. The speed at which global problems – from disease outbreaks, to the global refugee crisis, to millions of out-of-school children – disrupt the lives of children around the world is only getting faster. Unicef innovates in order to stay agile and find solutions to the evolving challenges affecting all children.
Our website on Innovation at UNICEF may provide some inspiration for your project. See some of Unicef’s product innovations here, for example last year Unicef delivered vaccines to remote areas using drones!
Through its Supply Division, UNICEF procures and supplies over 5,000 products to address the needs of children. Discover more
If you’re interested in learning about a specific issue in a developing country you can visit the UNICEF Data website and use the drop-down menu ‘data by topic and country’ to select the area you are interested in.
Can UNICEF UK help me fund my studies?
UNICEF works in the UK, to change attitudes and win support for children and children’s rights worldwide by campaigning on UK and international children’s issues, working with partners in local organisations, schools, hospitals and business, and raising money to support Unicef’s programmes internationally.
We are unable to give support to individuals. Each UNICEF country office, in consultation with the government of the country, decides how available funds are spent.
Apart from contacting your University directly regarding opportunities for funding, another avenue would be to apply for an international scholarship program. Here’s a list of scholarships for international students, some of which you may be eligible for
I want to learn more about UNICEF's work in a particular country, how can I do this?
UNICEF works in over 190 countries around the world! Visit our global website to see a list of countries and learn more about work in specific countries.
Can UNICEF UK put me in touch with an Ambassador?
Our Ambassadors and celebrity supporters receive a high level of requests for meetings through UNICEF, and as such, we cannot arrange meetings with individuals.
Their presence is prioritised for events that can either reach a high number of influential people or that can guarantee a substantial amount of funds for UNICEF, or in a media campaign that will achieve UK-wide coverage.
In addition, Ambassadors and celebrity supporters are engaged with us on many projects. They also have their own work and personal commitments, and are frequently out of the country travelling.
We can forward correspondence on to our Ambassadors Team if you wish to contact a particular Ambassador, but, because our Ambassadors receive a high level of requests through us, we cannot guarantee a response.