As supporters of UNICEF, we have access to incredible resources at our fingertips.
Below are a few action items that everyone can explore to get more involved with UNICEF in his or her community. Like you, I am just a regular citizen with an Internet connection, a passion for UNICEF's lifesaving work, and a commitment to support the cause.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Beyond the cross-pollination and exchange of ideas online, there are many ways to get involved with UNICEF on the ground, no matter where you live:
First, you can read the organization's annual flagship publication, The State of the World's Children (SOWC), to understand key issues affecting children. Every year, the report is filled with eye-opening, informative, and helpful statistics and findings based on the most up-to-date research and field work. Since 2016, the report has been available in 5 languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.
For example, did you know that 3 in 5 youth in Africa are offline, compared to only 1 in 25 in Europe? How do we bring more young people into the global conversation, if 346 million youths do not yet have Internet access? The 2017 SOWC dives into the world's growing digital divide, and you can read more about it here.
Check online whether there is a UNICEF office, volunteer corps, or fundraising group nearby. For instance, anybody in America can join UNICEF UNITE today. It is a community resource for anyone looking to host a fundraiser, attend a webinar, or write their member of Congress to advocate on behalf of UNICEF's lifesaving work.
Additionally, students in high school and university can join or start a UNICEF Club. In the United States, these clubs are highly organized bodies with an online registration process. Clubs can tap into various fundraising resources including Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF or even interviews with other chapters.
Young professionals in their 20s and 30s are also eligible to join UNICEF's Next Generation, a group of like-minded individuals who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm to support UNICEF projects. Members study issues that affect children around the world and take action through education, advocacy, skill sharing/remote volunteering and fundraising. While NextGen is most established in the United States presently, there are fledgling chapters in the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway, Thailand, and more.
Remember: There is nothing more powerful than a group of globally-minded citizens working together to advance a shared vision -- for children's rights, for sustainability, for positive change. And you have the power to do just that.
Daria Zhao is a former UNICEF Clubs Chair and a member of UNICEF's Next Generation. This is the second in a series of three posts on how to get more involved with UNICEF in your local communities. Read part one here.