Afghanistan 2018

Frequently asked questions

Would you like to learn more about our organization, or do you have a specific question? You will find answers to frequently asked questions on this page.

Who established UNICEF?
UNICEF was established by the United Nations in 1946 as an emergency relief organization for post-war Europe.

What does the name UNICEF mean?
UNICEF is the abbreviation for United Nations Children’s Fund. When it was first established, the name was the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The terms “International” and “Emergency” were later dropped, but the acronym remained unchanged.

What is UNICEF’s objective?
UNICEF aims to make children’s rights a reality for every child. All children should grow up healthy and be able to develop to their full potential, regardless of circumstances such as skin color, religion or ethnicity. The guiding principles are the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What does UNICEF do?
UNICEF has 75 years of experience in development cooperation and emergency response, and works in more than 150 countries to improve living conditions for children and enforce their rights. UNICEF is committed to ensuring that children can survive and grow up safely. Its key tasks include implementing programs in the areas of health, nutrition, education, water and hygiene, and protecting children from abuse, exploitation and violence.

What are the tasks of the Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein?
The Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein is one of 33 national committees in industrialized countries that support UNICEF’s work. UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein was established in 1959. The task of the Committee is to collect donations for UNICEF’s projects around the world, provide information about the situation of children worldwide and UNICEF’s work, and support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under the terms of an agreement with UNICEF International, the Committee is required to make the donations it receives available for international projects and programs within one and a half years.

How is UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein organized?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein is organized as an association. The highest governing body is the Assembly of Delegates. It sets out the general principles of the association’s activities and elects the Board of Directors from among its members. The Executive Board, based in Zurich, is responsible for operational management.

The delegates of the Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein work on an unpaid basis. Effective expenses may be reimbursed. The President of the Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein receives minimal compensation for their work.

The Foundation of the Swiss Committee for UNICEF
Many people make gifts and inheritances out to UNICEF. Such generous donations are often provided with a wish to offer help over the long term. To facilitate this, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein created the Foundation of the Swiss Committee for UNICEF. The Foundation is authorized to accept contributions donated for capital preservation or gifts distributed over a certain period. The Foundation’s income enables the long-term planning and safeguarding of UNICEF programs.

Where does the money for UNICEF’s work come from?
UNICEF is funded exclusively by voluntary contributions from governments, communities, private donors and companies. Two-thirds of the funds come from government contributions. National committees such as UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein contribute around one-third of the funds for UNICEF’s international work. These are collected through appeals, campaigns and fundraising activities, regular contributions from members and the sale of cards.

The Swiss federal government provides around CHF 20 million in funding to UNICEF each year. This is paid directly to UNICEF and not to the national committee. As a result, it does not appear in UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s annual financial statements.

What programs does UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein support?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein funded programs in 39 countries in 2021. The focus is on projects in the areas of education, nutrition, hygiene, health, water, child protection and emergency relief. More information about the programs supported can be found in the annual report.

How does UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein use the donations it receives?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein uses the donations to fund programs in project countries, to provide information about the progress of the projects, to finance calls for donations, and to cover the costs of infrastructure and donor support. They are also used to fund work to provide information and raise awareness of issues relating to children.

UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s generated income from fundraising of CHF 49.92 million in 2021.

  • 78.07 percent was used for international and national program work and advocacy
  • 15.23 percent was spent on fundraising (material and printing costs, postage and shipping, etc.)
  • 6.7 percent was spent on administration and quality assurance

What are UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s administrative costs?
Administrative expenses accounted for 6.7 percent of income in 2021. This includes costs for IT, office supplies, printed materials, telephone, postage, corporate and legal advice, auditors’ fees, insurance, accounting, infrastructure, maintenance and repairs. Detailed information on the use of funds by UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein can be found in the current annual report. UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s lean organization ensures that funds are generated and used efficiently.

How does UNICEF ensure that funds actually reach the project for which they are intended?
UNICEF is seen as one of the UN’s most efficient agencies. Around 78 percent of all funds go toward the projects themselves. UNICEF guarantees that the money donated will be used in the way the donors intend.

UNICEF auditors, and external auditors, inspect the UNICEF country offices on a regular basis. They document the progress made and intervene if anything is unclear. Project funds are managed centrally from New York. This protects against local banking risks, currency losses and corruption. Project funds are disbursed gradually, only as much as is needed at any given time. Before a partner receives further funds, it must document the use of funds and the progress made with the project. Each disbursement is precisely documented and monitored in the UNICEF financial system. Project officers in the UNICEF country offices report to the national committees on project progress and document the use of funds on a regular basis.

UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein is ISO-certified. What does this mean?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein sets the highest standards for efficiency and transparency in its organization. It has therefore had its operations certified by SQS according to the ISO 9001 standard. The ISO certificate applies to the entire organization and certifies UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s high level of quality awareness. It also states that all processes, such as fundraising for UNICEF projects, the administration of donations and sales processes, are structured in a way that is effective and transparent. To ensure that quality is guaranteed in the long term, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein submits to regular audits by SQS.

Does UNICEF have the Zewo quality seal?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein has not yet applied for the quality seal of the Zewo certification body for charitable fundraising organizations. The committees for UNICEF, which exist in 33 countries, are integrated into the structure of the United Nations and are accountable to the UNICEF umbrella organization with regard to their activities and financial circumstances. The annual financial statements are also audited by an independent audit firm (BDO AG).

As part of the Swiss representation on the Executive Board of UNICEF International, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein has influence over the use of funds. Regular project reports also provide information on the use of donations from Switzerland and Liechtenstein. UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein conducts periodic project visits to get an exact picture of implementation on the ground. Since 2007, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein has published its annual financial statements in accordance with the Swiss GAAP FER Accounting and Reporting Recommendations, the standard that Zewo requires of its members.

How can I support UNICEF?
There are various ways to support UNICEF. You can make a donation, become a member, take on a project sponsorship, become a Global Parent, make out an inheritance or a gift in a will to UNICEF, enter into a corporate partnership, participate in Star Weeks, collect donations yourself, buy cards, or tell UNICEF about your idea to provide effective help to children. You can donate online or by using the PostFinance donation account 80-7211-9. We will also be happy to send you a deposit slip. Cards are available from specialist retailers and department stores. You can also donate via text message by sending the keyword UNICEF followed by the donation amount (from CHF 1 to CHF 99) to the number 330, e.g. “UNICEF 50”. The Terms and Conditions of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein apply.

Can I specify the purpose of the donation myself?
UNICEF donors are free to decide which UNICEF project they would like to donate to. Specific donations can be used to provide targeted support for program work in individual countries. 

Non-specific donations are used for UNICEF program work based on defined indicators that apply worldwide. These include a high child mortality rate, low per-capita income, and a high proportion of children measured against the total population. In this way, UNICEF ensures that aid is not provided on the basis of personal preferences. Instead, it uses the situation of children as the benchmark for its work and directs its funds where they can have an impact for everyone’s benefit. Non-specific donations are also used for current emergency relief, where rapid and decisive action is needed. In addition, UNICEF can use these funds to strengthen underfunded countries that are not necessarily favored by donors. You can find information about the different projects on our website, or just give us a call.

How much of my donation goes directly to the project?
How much money goes directly to the project depends on the costs incurred for fundraising and for generating donations. One important figure is administrative expenses, which accounted for 6.7 percent of our income in 2021. 78.07 percent of the donations received went on global program work or were used to fund our activities for children in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Detailed information can be found in UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s current annual report.

Will I receive information about the project’s progress?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein regularly provides information about its program activities, for example on the website, in the annual report and in annual brochures about project sponsorships.

Will I receive a donation receipt?
For donations of CHF 20 or more, you will receive a donation receipt by mail the following January, which you can enclose with your tax return. Donations to UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein are tax-deductible in all cantons. We send a written thank-you note for donations of CHF 100 or more. We are also happy to send a thank-you note for smaller amounts, but we try to keep administrative costs as low as possible.

Can I also sponsor an individual child?
Like many other organizations, UNICEF does not offer individual sponsorships, but instead seeks sponsors to support entire projects. By taking on a project sponsorship, you can remain loyal to your chosen project for three years and thus enable long-term planning. Project sponsorships offer the guarantee of improving children’s life prospects over the long term, without favoring individual children. Project sponsorships also enable us to address problems in their full complexity and better monitor the concentration of funds.

Does UNICEF accept donations in kind?
UNICEF cannot accept donations in kind, as the organization does not have the infrastructure and logistics to forward them. In the case of emergency relief, the materials used are specifically designed for the specific needs in question and must also meet all safety and security requirements. Most emergency supplies are handled by UNICEF through its central warehouses in Copenhagen and Dubai. For example, UNICEF supplies tents, bed sheets, water purification tablets, medical supplies and special supplementary food for malnourished children. This centralized organization ensures that UNICEF can provide immediate assistance under major time pressure and in extremely difficult conditions, even in huge disaster zones. UNICEF also ensures that the necessary emergency supplies and materials are purchased in the project countries wherever possible.

Does UNICEF arrange child adoptions from abroad?
Adoption placement is not one of UNICEF’s tasks. The United Nations Children’s Fund is committed to family reunification and care through extended families. For UNICEF, the first priority is to help children in the countries themselves. Adoption in another country is only considered if no suitable care options or foster families can be found for children in their home countries.

UNICEF adheres to the provisions of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. In UNICEF’s view, a child may only be placed abroad by state agencies or state-authorized organizations. The rights of the child must be given priority when doing so. Further information and contacts who can inform and advise couples willing to adopt are available at the PACH Pflege- und Adoptivkinder Schweiz foster child and adoption association or on the website of the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

Are UNICEF Ambassadors and Spokespersons paid?
UNICEF Ambassadors and Spokespersons stand up for disadvantaged children, create awareness for the situation of children worldwide and appear at events. They work for UNICEF on a voluntary basis and do not receive any payment. They are only reimbursed for actual expenditure, such as travel expenses. However, project trips are rare. These are partly financed by major donors and partner companies (such as the media) and partly by UNICEF itself.

Can I work in a UNICEF project?
As UNICEF mainly uses local staff, there is only a limited need for international professionals. UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein does not arrange foreign assignments. However, you will find a list of relevant links here.

Vacancies at UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein are advertised publicly and on the website here.

Can I do an internship at UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein?
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein offers internship positions if the applicant’s area of expertise matches the organization’s current needs. Questions regarding internship positions should be directed to the Human Resources Department.

Can I volunteer for UNICEF?
Unlike other organizations, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein does not operate a volunteer network or any regional groups. However, volunteers do provide support for individual fundraising events such as Star Weeks and for activities accompanying campaigns.

If you would like to organize your own campaigns, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein can provide you with collection ideas, information material and collection boxes. These can be ordered at info(at) or by calling +41 44 317 22 66.


Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Pfingstweidstrasse 10
8005 Zurich, Switzerland
Telephone +41 44 317 22 66
Fax +41 44 317 22 77