UNICEF Commemorates 75 Years of Existence

By Foday Moriba Conteh

It could be recalled that the 11th December 2021 marked the commencement of the commemoration of UNICEF at 75 on the theme: “Re-imagine the Future of Every Child”.

On the 22nd November 2021, during an auspicious ceremony held at the Freetown City Council Auditorium in Freetown, UNICEF launched the commemoration of UNICEF at 75 years and since then the UN Agency has been embarking on series of activities across the country.

As part of their activities for the commemoration of UNICEF at 75 years, the institution on Friday 17th December 2021 held an entertaining Variety Show at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.

The event brought together children from across the country to witness a very entertaining variety show. During the event, various  children groups which include, the One Family People, the Blind School Band, Music for Girls Initiative and individual children had the opportunity to communicate issues affecting them through musical performances, poems, melo-drama etc.

Speaking during the ceremony, the UNICEF Country Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh stated that UNICEF has been at the forefront of defending the legitimate rights of the most vulnerable children across the globe through short-term relief and long-term development programmes underscoring how they have been working tirelessly to save the lives of children, protect their rights and secure their future.

“While this celebration is a time to reflect on the numerous achievements that we have championed and supported across the globe and here in Sierra Leone, this is also a moment for us to recognize the many people who have supported us to make the differences which we see in our daily work,” he disclosed.

Dr. Suleiman Braimoh used the opportunity to thank the Government of Sierra Leone for the leadership and shared vision in prioritizing children’s rights in national development plans and programmes, stating that since 1985 when UNICEF opened it offices in Sierra Leone, they have partnered in efforts and events to give every child in Sierra Leone, a happy, healthy and fulfilling chance to life.

He further recognized the ongoing support from donors and development partners, whose generous contributions to children have been consistent.

The UNICEF Country Representative pointed out that as they commemorate UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, they find themselves at a moment that is as urgent and critical as those who first created UNICEF out of the ashes of the Second World War furthering that with COVID-19 entering its third year, they are finding themselves in a moment of reckoning.

“We can build back stronger societies by ensuring quality education, protection and good mental health for every child. And we can strengthen systems to better prevent, respond to, and protect children from crisis. Thank you for joining us in commemorating this milestone for UNICEF and for children’s rights,” he concluded.

Representing the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, the Chief Director at the Ministry, Joseph S. Sinnah, stated that on the 11thDecember 2021 UNICEF offices globally, in line with Governments and partners from the different countries, commemorated 75 years of the existence of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),since it was established as an UN Agency that is responsible for providing humanitarian and development aid to children worldwide.

He congratulated UNICEF for the dedication and commitment to serve the children of the world including the children of Sierra Leone, adding that UNICEF has been a trusted partner of the Government and that the Government of Sierra Leone and UNICEF have partnered in ensuring that child rights are prioritized in Sierra Leone.

The Chief Director reiterated Government’s appreciation of UNICEF especially during periods of health and natural disasters or emergencies, including the Civil War in the 1990s, the response to Ebola in 2014, during the mudslide of 2017 and now in responding to COVID-19.

Giving a goodwill message from the UN Family and the International Community, the UN Resident Co-coordinator (Acting in charge), Nicholas Gardner, noted that UNICEF has over the years made some remarkable results, which include contributions to reduce  child mortality, improving nutrition, scaling up school enrollment, and promoting water and sanitation and hygiene practices.

“Through the poetry, songs, drama and photography, which the children exhibited today, we have seen evidences of how UNICEF also works closely with their main constituency, the children, helping them to unleash their potentials and defend their rights across the world,” he stated.

Nicholas Gardner continued that as a UN Family, they have seen great talents among the children present and importantly they have heard strong voices from the children on the issues which are affecting their survival and development of which he said that some of those messages which have emanated from the children border on the need for child labor to stop, early marriages to come to an end, for every child to be in school learning, for every child to have good access to water and sanitation.

“On behalf of the entire United Nations family and Sierra Leone, I congratulate UNICEF on this occasion to celebrate 75 years of hard work, dedication and commitment to children’s rights and wish you all the best for the next step,” he concluded.


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