Stars and leaders around the world joined children and young people to reimagine a better post-pandemic world on UNICEF's annual World Children’s Day.
World Children’s Day – celebrated on 20 November and now in its fourth year – aims to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that are denied their right to adequate health care, nutrition, education and protection, and to give a platform to children themselves to speak up for their rights.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption across the globe, many events and activities took place virtually and online, including:
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Ishmael Beah, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Millie Bobby Brown, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, UNICEF USA Ambassador Halima Aden, UNICEF South Asia Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar and UNICEF Supporters Gemma Chan, Liam Payne, Alejandro Sanz and Thalia took part in conversations with children and young people about issues that matter to them, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and education, and how they would reimagine a better future. UNICEF East Asia Ambassador Siwon Choi and UNICEF China Ambassador Wang Yuan (Roy Wang) also showed their support with recorded video messages to inspire young people.
In countries around the world, children met with the Presidents of Madagascar, Malawi and Suriname, and the Prime Ministers of Côte d’Ivoire and Ireland to discuss their views and the need for their participation in post-pandemic recovery plans. Ministers or other parliamentarians met with children in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In a World Children’s Day tradition, iconic landmarks around the world turned blue, including Rashtrapati Bhavan in India, Petra in Jordan, the Dragon Bridge in Viet Nam and landmarks across Afghanistan, Argentina, Denmark, Georgia, Malawi, Pakistan, Sweden, Timor-Leste, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
Businesses and organizations showed their support to help children reimagine a better future, including Amadeus, Beko, FC Barcelona, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation, Louis Vuitton, Moncler, Novo Nordisk, jewellery brand Pandora, Sesame Workshop and Vivendi, brand owners of the iconic bear Paddington.
In Democratic Republic of the Congo, Romania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, children took over newsrooms, newspapers and broadcast studios to report on issues that matter to them.
As part of a World Children’s Day global illustration challenge launched in October by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Millie Bobby Brown, hundreds of young people from over 35 countries shared illustrations to reimagine a better world for every child. A selection of drawings can be found on the Voices of Youth website and Instagram account.
A number of UNICEF Youth Advocates were appointed around the world to help raise children and young people’s voices, including:
- Argentina: Nicole Becker, 19
- Belize: Renata Samuels, 24
- Canada: Alexander Reed, 19; Olivia Lam, 20; Reeana Tazreean, 18; Saara Chaudry, 16; Abram Ilcisin, 17; Alexis John, 15
- Morocco: Meriam Amjoune, 11; Chef Omar, 15
- Sudan: Enas Yousif, 20; Makhtoum Abdalla, 17; Monzir Mohammed Awad, 17
- Tanzania: Abigail Chamungwana, 17; Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka, 17; Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka, 17
- Togo: Abra Rosaline Tsekpuia, 22; Rahile Mijiyawa, 22; Nihade Assoumanou, 22; Komlavi Donald Adzonou, 23
- Trinidad and Tobago: Priyanka Lalla, 14
- Zimbabwe: Nkosilathi (Nkosi) Nyathi
“2020 has been especially difficult for children and young people as they grapple with the effects of COVID-19,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director of Partnerships Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. “Throughout, they have not had enough of a voice in helping to shape today’s responses for what will continue to be tomorrow’s challenges. We hope this World Children’s Day is not just a day for children to speak up but helps spark a dialogue that gives children a greater voice now and for the crucial years to come.”