Friday, 23 July 2010

UNICEF UK offices uncovered!

Behind the glossy website and sleek leaflets there is a normal, friendly, biscuit-tin-stashing office…

By Mya Goschalk.

On 20th July my week’s work experience at the UNICEF UK offices began. Starting off flustered and a little late, I got stuck into helping out straight away. I was asked to research UNICEF UK’s latest campaign on sanitation and water and write a synopsis about it for the Tagd e-newsletter. I also completed a similar task a few days later for the UNICEF UK monthly Parliamentary newsletter. I drafted two articles on child rights issues- one on guardianship for child trafficking victims and the other on a campaign to stop sexual violence against children.

During my time at UNICEF UK I was pleasantly surprised at how the tasks I was given to do were genuinely needed and important. Before I went I knew that UNICEF is centred on children’s rights, but I didn’t realise that even on something such as work experience the opinions of a young person like me would be listened to so much! I was flattered at how I was asked to give my thoughts and feedback on different UNICEF UK initiatives, such as-

• The Tagd website and what could be improved about it
• What UNICEF UK should do at the stall at the Underage Festival
• Giving ideas for a project to encourage students, schools and universities to campaign

In doing all of this I really felt that in some small way I was shaping future events and projects held by UNICEF UK.

I learnt about the structure of UNICEF- how the main office in New York is connected to the different sections all over the world, with different functions for those in developed and developing countries.

Spending this time at UNICEF UK has allowed me to see what happens during the process of making campaigns and running the charity. When you see UNICEF stalls or campaigners it is hard to imagine what must happen for it to run smoothly… little did I know that planning a professional-looking stall would consist of sitting round a table chatting about ideas and eating cake!

I would really encourage anyone who is interested in child rights, or development to get involved with UNICEF. There are so many ways to do this, and some ideas are - volunteering, work experience or campaigning on issues from the Tagd website.