Lacey Stone traveled to the Philippines to witness the tremendous efforts that UNICEF is undertaking to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in the country of more than 7,000 islands. Through a partnership with Kiwanis International, UNICEF, along with government and health partners, is reaching the poorest, most neglected women in the Philippines with lifesaving health care.
A child’s fifth birthday is a joyful moment for most parents, a milestone marking the passage out of early childhood into the world of pre-K and grade school and upward and onward. Of course, in much of the world, the fifth birthday marks a different kind of milestone — one sometimes greeted with an entirely different sentiment: “my child survived.” That’s because in so many places, for so many beautiful children, just reaching age five alive is a battle, a battle that many don’t win — 21,000 every day, more than 7 million every year. Raising awareness about these children is a key to reaching the day when zero children die from preventable causes. That’s why we’ve partnered with USAID for a new social media campaign: “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday.” The idea: post a photo of yourself or your kids at age five. Share it. Friends can do the same and find out about the millions of children who never get a chance to celebrate being five.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF had the pleasure of hosting more than 300 board members, volunteers, and donors, along with corporate, foundation and NGO partners, celebrities, and media and U.S. government agency representatives at the 2012 Annual Meeting. Together, we heard from UNICEF experts on the latest trends and technology helping to reduce the gaps in services for millions of children. More than 16 partners from the development community, finance, media, technology, our volunteer corps, and civil society gave snapshot style presentations about their support of UNICEF’s work. Some of the most poignant elements of our annual meeting related to the remembrance of two beloved UNICEF Ambassadors who are no longer with us: Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn. Private citizens, CEOs, and college students alike were on hand to immerse themselves in our mission and our goals for the coming year. All of us believe in zero and will do whatever it takes to make the way for that possibility to become a reality within the next generation.
The auditorium of the high school in the heart of Quito, Ecuador, was sparse. Beyond a regal painting of Simon Bolivar displayed prominently on stage and a few posters, the room was unadorned, belying the incredible scene we were about to witness. We were there on a visit to learn more about UNICEF-supported programs in Ecuador. The eight of us sat in a row at the front of the room, facing dozens of students—mostly 18 years and older—who had previously dropped out of school and were now returning to finish their education. They were participating in a UNICEF-supported Fast Track Initiative, where they were able to complete three years of school in only one rigorous year, helping them catch up to their peers.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is proud to announce the winners of the Campus Challenge for the 2011-2012 academic year. From August 1, 2011 through April 1, 2012, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF partnered with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF in a nationwide fundraising challenge on college campuses. We are proud to report that over 280 colleges and universities generated more than $167,000. for UNICEF in the Campus Challenge this year!
We have been working especially hard to raise awareness of the catastrophic crisis unfolding right now in the Sahel region in Africa. It’s hard to fathom, but a million children could die if they are not given the urgent help they need. The response from our supporters has been terrific, and we’re especially fortunate to have UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez on our team. The talented actress, recording artist and designer has once again lent her support to UNICEF and spread the word about this crisis. Recently, Selena visited OPSCEN—UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Operations Center—in New York, where she toured UNICEF’s behind-the-scenes operations, and recorded a PSA, urging people to donate to UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts in the Sahel.