UNICEF boosted innovation in 2012 to reach most vulnerable

The United Nations Children's Fund capitalized on innovation last year to develop partnerships and programs to reach the world's most disadvantaged individuals, according to a recently released report.

UNICEF announced the results of the Our Story 2012 report on Tuesday and highlighted the use of technology and innovation. The agency used mobile phone texting to register births in Uganda and Nigeria, employed a RapidSMS program to quickly diagnose and treat HIV-infected infants in Zambia and partnered with organizations like the U.N. Population Fund to allow women and children to access life-saving health interventions.

The report said that UNICEF made significant progress in the areas of more children surviving and thriving past their fifth birthdays, more girls attending school, improved access to nutrition and clean water, the near eradication of polio, increased immunizations and declining poverty rates.

"But these results are no excuse for rest," Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, said. "Our goal is to reach every child, everywhere, no matter how distant or remote, no matter what barriers stand in the way."

The report found the agency and its partners responded to 286 humanitarian situations in 79 countries last year. UNICEF also helped to provide access to uninterrupted education for close to 80,000 children, supported measles vaccination for more than 1.4 million children and gave psychosocial care to an estimated 47,000 children.

"The organization remains both a world leader in the procurement of supplies for children and the world's largest provider of vaccines to developing countries," the report said.

The report said that cash contributions increased more than eight percent in 2012, demonstrating donor trust in the agency's ability to leverage its broad partnerships, technical know-how, expertise and global reach.