05 December 2013

End Violence Against Children

Every day, out of the spotlight, children are subjected to appalling cruelty and abuse. It happens all over the globe, in every setting—public and private, urban and rural, industrialized and developing, rich and poor. UNICEF Pacific believes that every child deserves to be safe and works throughout the world to protect girls and boys from abuse and exploitation. #ENDviolence is UNICEF's new multi-year global initiative to generate momentum in preventing and responding to violence against children.

28 November 2013

From Japan with love

Between 11 and 15 November, The Japanese Committee, Vaccines for the World’s Children visited Vanuatu to monitor their support to the expanded routine immunisation programme (EPI). As a key EPI partner, UNICEF Pacific joined the Committee. This is what we learned.

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25 November 2013

Running for WASH in Solomon Islands

UNICEF Pacific/2013/Atenia Tahu
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In 2014, Glasgow, Scotland will host the XX Commonwealth Games with UNICEF as the charity partner. To kick off the lead-up to the Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay is taking place – the baton travels to all of the Commonwealth countries around the globe. As the baton travels through each country, it is a great opportunity to talk about the lives and aspirations of children and youth around the world. The baton has arrived in the Pacific and last week visited the Solomon Islands. UNICEF staff took part in the Baton Relay through Honiara and here Communications for Development Officer Atenia Tahu shares his experience of the relay.

21 November 2013

Voices Against Violence

With 1 in 3 women and girls experiencing abuse in their lifetime, violence against women and girls is the most wide-spread human rights violation. Gender-based violence starts early, and girls and young women are particularly vulnerable. Over 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16 years.  Globally, one in three girls are married before the age of 18, and one in nine before they turn 15.

Read November's youth feature in Mailife Magazine where two girl leaders, Makelesi (14) and Shaifa (14) talk about putting girls into leadership positions to stop the cycle of poverty and violence. They want to see being a girl as strength, not a disadvantage. 

This article was written by UNICEF Youth Mediactivists Makelesi and Shaifa and the photos are from the Girl Guides of Fiji Photo Exhibition for the International Day of the Girl.

19 November 2013

Aids-free generation long goal for Asia-Pacific

Bangkok Post
19 Nov 2013
Online news: Local News

People are encouraged to use condoms to ensure safe sex and reduce the risk of HIV infections. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Much more effort will be needed by countries in Asia and the Pacific if they seriously aim to achieve an Aids-free generation in the region, according to the United Nation's Children's Fund.

11 November 2013

Deadliest Childhood Disease: Pneumonia

World Pneumonia Day 2013

Pneumonia is the single largest killer of children under 5, as well as the leading infectious cause of childhood mortality. More than 3,000 children under 5 died from pneumonia every day in 2012. The disease accounts for 17 per cent of all under-five deaths, claiming the lives of 1.1 million children under 5 in 2012 – the bulk of whom are less than 2 years old.

source: worldpneumoniaday.org

10 November 2013

UN Joint Presence (UNJP) Office in Kiribati observes the UN DAY on 24 October, 2013

by Nuzhat Shahzadi,Chief of UNICEF Field Office & the UN Joint Presence, Kiribati

It was not just any day. 24 October witnessed a very different atmosphere at the United Nations Joint Presence office in the Pacific country of Kiribati. Charged with excitement, festivity, decorations, balloons and the sound of footsteps of children, UN agencies and partners who are friends of the children and the UN, welcomed UN Day.
United Nations Joint Presence office in Kiribati has a new look!

The Story of Maria of Temwaiku Village, Kiribati

by Nuzhat Shahzadi, Chief of UNICEF Field Office & UN Joint Presence, Kiribati

The ocean is too close  
Maria* is 13 and lives in Temwaiku village, Tarawa Island, in the Pacific country of Kiribati. She attends the Junior Secondary School and likes learning new things. The afternoons are hot and as the breeze from the ocean breaks the stillness in the air she usually comes out of the tiny Buia which she shares with her family. She walks around on the road with her friend Maki*- they giggle and share stories of the day in school, the happenings in the village…There are no playgrounds in Temwaiku. In most places the island is too narrow and all available land is needed for houses, schools, churches, cemetery, stores, clinics, etc.

27 October 2013

The Truth About Hand Washing!

The uncomfortable truth about hand washing is that not everybody comes clean about it.

Read October's youth feature in Mailife Magazine (also published in Fiji Times October 20th) that uncovers some gruesome realities of hand washing practices in schools and in public places in Suva, Fiji.

This article was written by UNICEF Youth Mediactivists Sera Wilson (18), Jone Maiwiriwiri (19) and illustrated by Lino Lionel Colaitiniyara (17).

click to view full image

23 October 2013

Happy UN Day!

"UN day falls on October 24 every year. In previous years, the UN has commemorated this special day by bringing visibility to our contributions and partnerships here in Fiji and across the Pacific. This year we chose to do something a bit different. On this day of celebration UN staff wanted to take concrete action to help others in the spirit of UN values and principles that are core to our work -- that's where Hilton Special School came in" said the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Osnat Lubrani.

Hilton Special School has a School Beautification Program and UN staff helped with the cleaning of the school compound which included cutting of grass and raking the yard, digging of vegetable gardens and conducting a quiz with the students.

Here's a video of the UN family in Fiji wishing you a HAPPY UN DAY!

20 October 2013

Doing our part in Disaster Preparedness

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Girl paddling canoe, Malaita © UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
The UN, Governments, and NGOs are all about Disaster Preparedness these days, and rightly so. "Get Ready. Disasters Happen" is the slogan for a UNICEF Pacific disaster preparedness package of assistance to disaster prone areas.

Last week I was in the Solomon Islands talking to people involved with disaster preparedness and response. While impressed with our systems and knowledge for disaster risk mitigation, I was also reminded that we have to recognize the limits and really commit to helping people quickly and effectively when disaster strikes. Jacob, a UNICEF WASH staff, told me,

Rapid HIV Testing in Solomon Islands makes Nurse June Happy

Meet Nurse June Tavalia. She is the one of the nurses that works in Ruve Clinic, which is located on the outskirts of Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Ruve Clinc is one of the clinics where UNICEF HIV & AIDS programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health HIV & STI Unit in the Solomon Islands has successfully introduced point of care HIV testing and counseling using rapid tests for ANC (ante-natal clinic) clients.

 Nurse consulting with a mother who has given birth
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Ali

15 October 2013

Celebration of Global hand Washing Day ( GHWD) in Kiribati: The Power is in your hands, action song competition:

The Global Hand Washing Day 15 October, 2013 celebration was held at the KNYC Maneaba in Bairiki included an action song competition: Based on the guidance to display proper hand washing, groups of students (Primary School) from 11 schools sang loudly for everyone to hear about the need to wash hands with soap at critical times in order to stay healthy, demonstrating proper hand washing with buckets, water and soap. Action songs were prepared by the teachers and students for demonstrating proper hand washing with soap at critical times by highlighting the theme, “Power is in your hands” and in action song competition Temanoku School won the first prize while Dai Nippon school came second and Abaunamou school coming in third.

Celebration of Global hand Washing Day ( GHWD) in Kiribati: The Power is in your hands!

The Global Hand Washing Day 15 October, 2013 celebration was held at the KNYC Maneaba in Bairiki. The programme was organized under the leadership of MPWU and MOH through joint partnership with MoE, MELAD, MISA, UNICEF, SMEC and KAP II. It was a combined and integrated effort of the GHWD celebration committee from government and WASH partners, to make the day a very meaningful and memorable. The GHWD programme is organized for the second time in Kiribati but for the first time through partnership with government and WASH partners. The Kiriwatsan I has taken initial coordination role among partners for the celebration .

11 October 2013

International Day of the Girl

GIRLS can do anything. This was the view of UNICEF representative to the Pacific Island countries Karen Allen as the Fiji Girl Guides marked the International Day of the Girl in Suva. On Friday the 11th of October, 2013.

The Girl Guides celebrated the day with speeches from young girls and a photo exhibition which was facilitated by Mere Nailatikau UNICEF Pacific youth ambassador and Jeremy Duxbury professional photographer.

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03 October 2013

The lure of flush toilets and the rewards of patience

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

I am in Malaita, Solomon Islands in a village. I am looking at a large, multi-layered concrete slab covering what I am not sure. On top is a concrete encased porcelain toilet bowl open to the elements. Of course it is full of rain water. Where are the walls and roof for this toilet? No wonder the UNICEF staff and community member look unhappy. Who built this toilet? Who is responsible for it? What is the story?

Toilet abandoned in a village in Malaita
with a concrete encased porcelain toilet bowl open to the elements.
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen

26 September 2013

Certificate ceremoney for UNICEF Youth Mediactivist Volunteers for WASH

"Volunteerism is the noble commitment to humanity," commented one of the Youth Mediactivists when asked why he volunteered to pack 6000 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) packets for UNICEF's WASH program.

UNICEF Youth Mediactivists for WASH with Isabelle Austin, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Pacific
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Choi

24 September 2013

"Welcome to the Heroic Delegation of Tuvalu"

On the 20th of September, the delegation from Tuvalu submitted to a formal review of their initial report on how Tuvalu was implementing the provisions of the Conventions of the Rights of the Child (CRC). The review was conducted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland via videolink from UNICEF Pacific's head office in Suva, Fiji.

Tuvalu's first CRC review via Videolink from UNICEF Pacific's head office in Suva, Fiji
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Choi

22 September 2013

Cyber Bullying: Behind the Screens

Cyber bullying is a new form of an old problem. Today, as many young people have access to mobile phones and the internet, bullying no longer happens face to face - it happens online, behind the screens, but with real life consequences. 

Read about the shocking realities of cyber bullying, happening right now in Fiji, brought to you by Talei, 14, a UNICEF Youth Mediactivist writing for September's issue of Mailife Magazine.

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12 September 2013

Luxury latrines, VIP latrines and an active volcano

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

My family did a lot of camping in East Africa when my kids were young… camping with no facilities except what we did for ourselves. This included giving a spade to our kids and telling them to dig, relieve themselves, then cover it up – the no latrine option. On one trip to watch rally car teams race around off-track, fundraising for rhino preservation, my ten year old daughter was fascinated to observe different camping arrangements. She came back to our camp site and complained, “Why can’t we do luxury camping?” “What is that?” I asked, genuinely puzzled what she could have seen amongst a bunch of rally car drivers and fans in the Kenya outback. “A latrine with canvas walls and a pot to sit on,” came the answer. She defined luxury in terms other people would find basic.

11 September 2013

Mother of all challenges: Clean water on top of Tanna's steep volcanic mountains

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Side by side pumps in action
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
I have seen a lot of challenges during my 35 year career in Africa and Asia…but this was a new one for me: how to bring clean water to communities that live on top of steep volcanic mountains, in extremely dense, humid vegetation, but with near constant spewing of volcanic ash from an active volcano.

10 September 2013

Birth registrations: The right to be recognised

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Registering a newborn
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen

The right to citizenship- something many take for granted - is a right not realised by children whose births are never registered. The people of Vanuatu – the Ni-Vanuatu – only achieved independence 33 years ago, and prior to that existed under a uniquely inefficient and rights-denying “Condominium” that consisted of parallel British and French rule.

09 September 2013

The "software" and the "hardware" of immunisation

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Baby receiving BCG Vaccine
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
With a history of both British and French influence, the Government of Vanuatu is facing a challenging language legacy involving curricula, information and training having to be made available in Bislama, French as well as in English.

08 September 2013

Breast is best: maternal and child health in Vanuatu.

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Karen Allen with two mothers at the Tanna Health Clinic
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
5:30 am start this morning from Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, for a 6:00 am flight on a 20 seat Harbin Y12 Propeller to Tanna. There is the usual friendly bustle of passengers taping and tying up their luggage bundles, and asking other passengers to carry some of their overweight pieces. A Canadian doctor who rushed over last night with a medical evacuation case begs for a seat to return so she can do her dispensary visits today. We stand by to carry some medical supplies in case she cannot get on, but at the last minutes she does. I love the peace and beauty of flying over the vast expanse of Pacific Ocean, but I reflect on the difficulties of bringing health and social services to such a widely distributed population. Vanuatu is "only" 83 islands; the distance between the two outermost islands is 1300 kilometres.

07 September 2013

Ending violence in Paradise

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Wan Smol Bag youth theater wall
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
I visited Vanuatu this week  –surely a top runner in any contest for paradise on earth. Everywhere I go there is a beautiful vista – blue lagoons and ocean, sunny sky, stunning waterfalls and clear pools in lush and verdant forests.

05 September 2013

Removing the "dis" from ability

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

School for Disabled Children in Tarawa performed songs and dances with great glee.
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
Facilities are simple but school spirit is high at the School for Disabled Children in Tarawa. Each of the classrooms has caring teachers, and each class is carefully organised according to needs and learning levels of children. There is so much demand, that one class of older children, is in a rough storage shelter, but this does not dim the enthusiasm of the visually impaired and mute learners, who, I discovered, are very good artists. In other classrooms children were learning to read and type in Braille, singing songs, working out math problems, and learning how to get maximum use of legs and arms affected by cerebral palsy. Every child gets a nourishing meal, every school day, and there are health screening visits, too. Sadly, sometimes they reveal abuse.

Toilet innovations - the Kiribati way!

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

Improved latrine with ashes, cover, soap and water
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Allen
We all do it, and some of us do it in the wrong place. In Kiribati, 40% of households defecate in the open and handwashing with clean water and soap is uncommon. Diarrheal deaths contribute significantly to the high under five mortality rate in Kiribati and morbidity from diarrhoea can compromise nutritional status and early childhood development. In my opinion, one of UNICEF's best programmes worldwide is Community Led Total Sanitation, which facilitates people to achieve a community environment free from open defecation, using local ideas, and appropriate technologies.

02 September 2013

Safe haven for abuse victims of Kiribati

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative
Welcome cake and song by on of the nuns in the women's crisis centre
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Teannaki

The world can be a cruel place. Women and children in particular are victims of domestic violence and other abuse. We can thank a singing nun in Kiribati that they have a place to go to for help. A group of Catholic nuns runs the Crisis Management Centre, with support from various partners including UNICEF. A clean dormitory, with mattresses on the ground and a communal kitchen, a small yard and a children's room, and, importantly, a room for prayer and counselling make up the crisis centre.

Talking about the bees and birds in Kiribati

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative

The Kiribati Family Health Association youth group with Karen Allen
UNICEF Pacific Representative and UNICEF Colleague
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Teannaki

The Kiribati Family Health Association is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation affiliated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation. They are also supported by UNICEF for HIV and AIDS testing, counselling and prevention. After touring the modest but very well organised facilities and meeting some of the 11 service providers, I had great fun watching the peer educators demonstrate their infotainment routines.

01 September 2013

Policing Kiribati in a child friendly way

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative
Karen Allen with a UN colleague and community police officers
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Teannak
Child friendly learning, baby-friendly hospitals, even child-friendly municipalities... I know about all these. In Tarawa UNICEF has trained the entire police force of Kiribati on a child friendly protocol, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and how, when and where to make referrals. Of course, it is a small country, and the police force is about 400 officers - nevertheless, I can say that here is a whole country with a child friendly police force!

Kiribati's Baby Friendly hospital making a difference

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative
Tabera 26 breastfeeding her four-month-old son Tekea at home
© UNICEF Pacific/2006/Pirozzi
There are three hospitals in the nation of Kiribati, and the main referral hospital is Tungaro. This is the first of three to achieve certification of being "Baby Friendly" - a set of standards to ensure newborns are well cared for and mothers encouraged to breastfeed. The Antenatal Care Clinic is simple. It is clean and staffed by bright and caring staff. 

22 August 2013

Using the sun to chill vaccines in Fiji

By Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative
Women with their babies visiting Waidina Nursing station
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/MRoqica
Winding along roads bordered by lush, verdant fields and forest, we stopped to ask for directions twice. First, a friendly farmer took some time, out of politeness, to essentially tell us to "keep going straight and then turn left". After a while we checked again with a group of women carrying babies. The women laughed: "Turn your head and you will see it on your left." They were also on their way to see the nurse.

21 August 2013

Fiji Hibiscus Festival 2013

UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO hosted the UN Tent at the 2013 Fiji Hibiscus Festival. With free face painting, coloring, balloons as well as a Quiz every hour. Making an appearance was UNICEF Pacific Youth Ambassador Merewalesi Nailatikau.

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09 August 2013

UNICEF youth mediactivist

Youth ambassador Merewalesi Nailatikau with students in Fiji
© UNICEF Pacific/2012/Hing
Are you a writer, a photographer, social media guru, or just someone with a passion to help others? Sign up now to join the Youth Media Volunteers Network in the Pacific Region to produce empowering, engaging and effective youth led media.

UNICEF Pacific is committed to identifying and exploring opportunities for empowerment of young people to produce youth led media that is for, with and about young people.

04 July 2013

Young Pacific islanders to envision the future they want at "My World, My SIDS: YES"

Thirty young Pacific islanders aged from 12 to 30 years old gathered in Nadi Fiji Islands to discuss issues close to their heart and envision the future they want.

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13 May 2013

Get Ready. Disasters Happen

Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and Ministry of Health (MoH) with technical support from UNICEF Pacific and AusAID funding have developed a multimedia communication package focusing on disaster preparedness in Fiji. The multi-media package includes 10 radio and TV spots, 1 poster calendar, a pocket guide, a website, a Facebook quiz, an Android App and 10 SMS messages. All materials are available in English, i-Taukei and Hindi. The package focuses on 10 key life saving practices that are important to keeping families safe during disasters.

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05 May 2013

The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities

In the Pacific, The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities report was launched by Minister Counsellor, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Mr. John Davidson, who emphasized the importance of mainstreaming disability across all development. In thanking him, UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Isiye Ndombi said “children with disabilities have the same rights as all children, including the right to be recognized and provided with the same opportunities to flourish enjoyed by others. However, they are too often invisible—in statistics, in policies, in societies.”

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