youth activist Gitanjali Rao

If news headlines get you down sometimes, I’ve got the antidote: it’s youth activist Gitanjali Rao.  

At just 15, Miss Rao was Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year in 2021 – in recognition of her success in solving problems through science. 

She was in Geneva for the Youth Activists Summit, which is where UN News’s Daniel Johnson caught up with her.

Big changes start small. The impact of COVID-19, climate change and conflict affect us all. Don't give up on adults, only together can we change the world.


More about UNICEF's work.

child with Zika hugged by siblings

The number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million, according to UNICEF’s most comprehensive statistical analysis to date. “This new research confirms what we already knew: Children with disabilities face multiple and often compounding challenges in realizing their rights,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. The report includes data from 42 countries and covers more than 60 indicators of child well-being – from nutrition and health, to access to water and sanitation, protection from violence, and education. 

girl on beach holding school book

“When there are floods, we take our shoes and socks off and put them in our school bags,” says Fathimath. “We have to wade through the water to our classrooms.” Fathimath’s school is on a small island about a 45-minute boat ride from Male, the capital of Maldives – and just 30 metres from the ocean. The only thing protecting the school from rising sea levels are a handful of coconut palms, some of which have already collapsed into the sea, and a line of sandbags packed under the school’s main gate. Even with this precaution, the area still floods a few times a year, covering the school courtyard.

What did you dream of becoming when you were a child?

An astronaut?
A firefighter?
A veterinarian?

Today, 160 million children are trapped in child labour. Most of them in agriculture.

We need to #StopChildLabour so all children can work on their dreams.

Portrait of a boy wearing a rain coat.

The UNICEF report presents the Children’s Climate Risk Index, which uses data showing new global evidence on how many children are currently exposed to climate hazards, shocks and stresses. 

girl's face

How parents can start the mental health conversation with their kids #OnMyMind

child with eggplant

Who says children shouldn’t play in the kitchen? Cooking healthy food starts young in this Touch Smell Taste cooking class in Rome. The hands-on cooking lab, led by Naheda Slayih and supported by volunteers, invites visually impaired children to learn how to become young chefs and have a good time too.

Producers: Megan Williams, Charlotta Lomas, Anais Hotin, Marina Sánchez Castelo, Nina Coates.
Presenter: Megan Williams.
Photo: ©FAO/Cristiano Minichiello.

children's book illustration

The story is a sequel to ‘My Hero is You: how kids can fight COVID-19!’, published in April 2020. The new storybook can be used by parents and teachers in conjunction with a guide entitled ‘Actions for Heroes.’

a little girl sits on a woman’s lap

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children. But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long. The State of the World’s Children 2021 examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health. It focuses on risks and protective factors at critical moments in the life course and delves into the social determinants that shape mental health and well-being. It calls for commitment, communication and action as part of a comprehensive approach to promote good mental health for every child.

child lying down on a bookcase

In collaboration with the renowned Magnum Photos agency, UNICEF presents an in-depth look at the pandemic experiences of children and young people across six countries. We hope you are moved by their stories and join UNICEF in advocating for a renewed global commitment to an inclusive recovery for children everywhere. The future of an entire generation is at stake.

children fishing in a boat

FAO podcast: Tonle Sap Lake in northeast Cambodia is one of the most productive inland fishing waters in the world, due to flooding and monsoon. Fisheries are the backbone of country’s economy, with Tonle Sap contributing over half of the country’s fish production. Yet the lake’s 4.8 million residents are some of the poorest in Asia. Many depend heavily on fish and rice for their livelihoods and have to send their children to work rather than school, in order to survive. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working with the government and partners to get children back to school.

Producers: Charlotta Lomas, Anais Hotin, Marina Sánchez Castelo, Chann Tet, Sophana Sim, Panos Pictures.
Presenter: Charlotta Lomas, FAO.
Photo ©FAO/Tang Chhin Sothy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up all sorts of new challenges for parents. Sesame Street’s Grover and UNICEF USA Ambassador Lucy Liu share tips on taking care of yourself and your little ones. Get more tips at UNICEF’s Parenting Hub, which brings together some of the world’s leading baby experts to help you with top tips and fun facts.

A man carries a smiling baby that reaches out to a camera

Affordable, quality childcare is inaccessible in many of the world’s wealthiest countries, according to a new UNICEF report looking at childcare for children between birth and school age.


Parenting in a pandemic is a challenge like no other. Psychologist and child development expert Dr. Lisa Damour answers your questions on the best ways to take care of yourself and your child’s mental health during COVID-19. Get more tips at UNICEF's Parenting Hub.