Saturday, 25 November 2017

UNICEF should begin charity at home



This morning when I opened the internet, the first thing I saw an advertisement of the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) that informs the readers that:

“1.15 million children under the age of five die each year. This is equal to 3150 deaths each day, 131 deaths each hour, 2.1 deaths each minute, one death every 30 seconds.” The message was accompanied by an appeal to donate to the UNICEF.”

Well, no one can deny the fact of high rate of child mortality, in large number of developing countries including India. The UNICEF was set up to save the world from this calamity.

However, the million dollar question is, “Is the UNICEF really sincere and dedicated?”

I am raising this question because a good part of contributions to the UNICEF is used for paying tax free fat salaries to its expatriate employees. Not just that, in India I have seen incompetent persons sent by the head office who were appointed not on the basis of their dedication to the cause but on other extraneous considerations. Not just that, retired senior government officers or appointed as consultants not because of their dedication to the cause or for their known contributions in the field. All the UN organisations, UNICEF included, have a practice of paying higher salary to the expatriates, compared to the salaries paid to the local employees.

People should always be encouraged to contribute to such a noble cause but it is equally necessary to reduce the cost of maintaining the UNICEF office everywhere. If the UNICEF is really sincere and dedicated to the cause, it must reduce its expenses on salaries to its employees and fees to the consultants. One sure way to improve the financial position of the organisation is to recruit only local persons on reasonable salaries. This will result in huge savings equal to contributions of large number of people. Moreover, the expatriates cannot feel as deeply about the children of another country as local employees can. Let this practice be applied to all countries where UNICEF is operating.

True, in actual practice all the local employees may not be so sympathetic to the cause but it is always possible to find suitable persons. In India we have large number of NGOs doing very good service in the field. Sincere persons like Noble laureate Kailash Satyarthy   may be consulted to provide a good team for the Indian branch of the UNICEF.

Devendra Narain

November 26, 2017