UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children.
UNICEF’s global income is primarily drawn from government sources (57%) with the bulk of the remainder coming from the private sector and NGOs (32%) as well as inter-organisational arrangements (10%). In 2010 UNICEF had a global income of $3,682 million. Total programme assistance spent in 2010 was $3,355 million with the remainder on project coordination, support and administration.
Since the early 2000s VSO has been working with UNICEF to promote inclusive education in a number of countries such as Cambodia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi, where VSO is currently contributing to the realisation of UNICEF Child-Friendly School Programme.
In Cameroon, VSO has been running the Birth Certificate Campaign. In Cambodia, with the support of UNICEF, VSO has implemented a project aimed at strengthening healthcare in the north-east region as well as supported the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport through the placement of experienced volunteers.
VSO also actively supports advocacy and policy initiatives of United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) of which UNICEF is the lead agency and secretariat. VSO participated in the UNGEI E4 Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality conference in Dakar and presented a paper on working in partnership to address gender equality in education.