When the people of Atosale, Ghana were told that a second borehole would be built in their community, they screamed and clapped, smiled and bounced their children up and down on their laps. I recently witnessed this joy when I accompanied a delegation from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to Ghana, where they met with UNICEF staff and saw firsthand the impact that the Foundation’s support for UNICEF’s water programming has had on children’s lives.
Category Archives for "Field Visits"
As an educator, a proud uncle of six nieces and nephews, and as a JFK-based International Purser-Champion for Children, I was honored to represent the 2,700 registered volunteers at American Airlines during my first UNICEF field visit. For years, I have been collecting donations from American Airlines customers through Change for Good, a global UNICEF program that converts travelers’ contributions of foreign currency into lifesaving services for the world’s children.
Kuajok feels like the middle of nowhere.
Our journey began with an hour and half flight from South Sudan’s capital city Juba to the town of Aweil. From Aweil we drove nearly five hours on dusty potholed roads. At times our driver would slow down to 6 miles an hour to maneuver the massive craters.
I was in South Sudan to observe a seven-day immunization campaign supported by UNICEF and partners, including Kiwanis International. The Eliminate Project, a partnership between Kiwanis International and UNICEF, aims to protect women and their future newborns around the world from maternal and neonatal tetanus. The goal is to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide by 2015.
Last week, I had the privilege of visiting one of the most beautiful countries on earth, Rwanda. I was there with delegates from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s longstanding partner, Zonta International—a global organization working to advance the status of women worldwide. Zonta has chosen to invest in the futures of women and children in Rwanda by supporting UNICEF’s work to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and prevent gender-based violence. Together, Zonta International, UNICEF and its many partners are working toward—and are on track to reaching—a generation in Rwanda born free from HIV by 2015.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is in Lebanon to meet refugees from the conflict in Syria, as the needs and numbers of those fleeing continue to rise. She is blogging from the field, and you can follow her posts at http://unicef.tumblr.com/. She will also be participating in a Twitter chat tomorrow. During her visit, Ms. Farrow will travel to two locations close to the Syrian border, and will speak with both refugees and host families. In addition, she will visit UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces, where children who have witnessed the horrors of the conflict receive psychosocial support and counseling.
From the photos that accompany this blog post, you’ll see that I’ve been traveling with a group of really tall men. Last week, NBA greats Dikembe Mutombo, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Nick Collison were on the road with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF on a field visit to UNICEF projects in northern Kenya. They visited refugee camps at Kakuma, medical facilities in Makutano, and children’s shelters in Lodwar.
But what I’ve learned about these men is that it isn’t their extraordinary height that makes them remarkable, or the fact that each can palm an infant as easily as they can palm a basketball—it’s their super-sized hearts.