World Day News

Doreen Nagle: Nov. 20 is Universal Children's Day

28 Nov 2012  |  News and Press - World Day News

In 1954, the first Universal Children's Day was established to be celebrated every year on Nov. 20. The concept behind the United Nations' project is to promote global awareness about and among children, working toward improving conditions for children and their welfare. UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) coordinates the annual event. While many countries — including Canada and the United Kingdom — officially celebrate Universal Children's Day, the United States does not yet.

You might want to encourage your school, spiritual group or other community organization to honor Universal Children's Day this year.


Many schools create an event around the day. Perhaps you can talk to your child's school or religious teacher about adding a mention of Universal Children's Day to your child's classroom holiday party.

Volunteer to help children in younger elementary classes make drawings of the world and pinpoint at least three countries on their drawings.

Older elementary classes can read about what children's lives are like in other countries with respect to their education, duties, traditions, religious outlooks, community involvement.

Middle-schoolers and older students may want to discuss the differences between the rights children have in different countries.

Other children's celebrations around the globe include:

International Children's Day of Broadcasting. International Children's Day of Broadcasting is celebrated the first Sunday in March, according to UNICEF's website. It is a joint initiative between UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is intended for broadcasters to "tune in to kids" around the world.

Children's Day in Japan. This is a national holiday in Japan celebrated on May 5. Started in 1948, Children's Day is a festive day to celebrate the life of Japanese children. The holiday is believed to have begun in China, where medicinal herbs were hung to ward off childhood diseases. In Japan, it is traditionally celebrated by giving children gifts of kites and hanging streamers.

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Children's Day in India. "Bal Diwas" is celebrated every Nov. 14, which is also "Pandit" (which means scholar and teacher) Nehru's birthday. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India after the country won independence from Great Britain in 1947. It is a day of fun and frolic, celebrating Nehru's love of children.

Tip from the parenting trenches:

Check out World Day of Prayer and Action for Children at Run in conjunction with Universal Children's Day on Nov. 20, the theme this year is "Stop Violence Against Children." Click on the yellow "Take Action" on the home page to find ideas on creating an event or to download "A Note on Positive Parenting and Non-Violent Discipline" (of which I am a big advocate).

Click here to read the original article on the Shreveport Times website.

Statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on World Day of Prayer and Action, 20 November 2012

20 Nov 2012  |  News and Press - World Day News


Message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Chair of The Elders, founders of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage 

Visit: Girls Not Brides and The Elders.

World Day Participates in the GNRC Fourth Forum

3 Jul 2012  |  News and Press - World Day News

The GNRC Fourth Forum took place June 16-18, 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, launching a new interfaith initiative called "Mobilizing Faith-based Resources to End Child Poverty." The global gathering brought together religious leaders, child-rights workers, UN officials and civil society representatives from around the world. This page contains links to all the resources from the Forum.

Mr. Kul Gautam, Convening Chair and Rev. Dr. Hans Ucko, Co-chair addressed the plenary on 18 June.

Read more about the Fourth Forum on the GNRC Website.

Click here to read the Forum Declaration.

No Records Of Existence For About 50% Of African Children- UNICEF

11 Sep 2012  |  News and Press - World Day News

Africa, 4 September 2012 (Leadership) - There are no records of the existence for approximately half of all the children on the African continent, says United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 

The births of these children were never registered, meaning the state knows nothing of their existence and are making no provisions for them, says Cornelius Williams, Regional Adviser: Child Protection at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Williams, from UNICEF's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, is one of the delegates at the 2nd Civil Registration and Vital Statics conference currently underway in Durban, South Africa.

"Could you imagine a child not having an identity, not having an existence written down and so you're born, you live your life, you die and you never existed in any document...It's like you were never there. There's no official record of your existence as a human being," he said.

Birth registrations were particularly poor in countries like Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, Williams added.

Children who were not registered were immediately at a disadvantage because with no record of their existence, planning for their future proved to be difficult.

"Increasingly what we are finding out is that when it comes to planning, government plans don't cover these children, especially if they come from marginalised communities... They don't plan for you and if you are caught breaking the law, you treated like an adult because you don't have a birth certificate to show that you're not an adult. 

"This means the law that protects children will not protect you," he pointed out.

Williams attributed the blame for non-registration to both governments and parents.

"Countries do not have proper systems in place. They are still dealing with outdated, colonial relics - laws that have never been modernised, systems that have not been modernised. You have paper based systems. 

"There is still a country that uses the typewriters. They have two typewriters in their national office that is used to type birth certificates because that's the law and the law is outdated," Williams said.

The civil registration system of such countries could not be digitalised because there was no money for it.

Another barrier was the cost factor of the documents.

"In one African country, we did a calculation and it cost $25 for someone in a rural area to travel all the way to a town centre to register their child and get a certificate. It costs $25 in a poor country where you have majority of people living on less than $1 a day," he pointed out.

With regards to parents, he said that some, particularly those in rural areas, did not see the need for their children to have birth certificates as they were not expected to attend school.

Others only showed urgency in registering their children when the child needed to go to school or access services from the state.

"When the child needs something from the state that requires proof of identity then it kicks in. It's the private use that drives the need for registration."

However, the situation was looking up, with Africa finally beginning to acknowledge the importance of civil registration.

"Proof of that is the Africa countries gathered here...They have recognised they can't have a modern state without civil registration... With this conference we are now seeing a movement. There is a movement and growing recognition that Africa must changes," he added.

Policy makers and political leaders were finally talking about and tackling the issue, Williams noted. 

Fifty-four African Ministers responsible for civil registration and vital statistics are involved in this year's conference, as well as about 500 delegates from African countries including senior civil registration technical experts, development partners, young statisticians and professional associations. 

The Ministerial Conference will get underway on 6 and 7 September and will be chaired by Home Affairs Minister and Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Read the original article on the Leadership website.

World Day Chair Speaks on Child Survival Revolution

22 Jun 2012  |  News and Press - World Day News

Ten Promises to Our Children: A Multi Religious Commitment calls for specific actions to save and improve the lives of children. World Day Chair, Kul Gautam details the impressive history of the Child Survival Revolution which saved an estimated 25 million lives and highlights an ambitious new initiative, Child Survival – A Call to Action which was launched in D.C. on 14 June. 


USAID and UNICEF: A Winning Partnership for Child Survival and Development

by Kul Chandra Gautam·

Distinguished Speakers Series in Celebration of 50th Anniversary of USAID

Washington, DC, 6 June 2012


I feel immensely honoured to be asked to address this impressive gathering as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). And I am particularly thrilled to speak about USAID’s historic contribution and leadership role in what came to be known as a global Child Survival and Development Revolution (CSDR), of which we are celebrating the 30th anniversary this year.  

Read more: World Day Chair Speaks on Child Survival Revolution