At UNICEF, it’s about measuring what works — innovating to find the simplest and most affordable solutions, partnering with governments, leveraging free market forces to the children’s advantage, doing whatever is most effective. It’s about working harder and smarter — for a day when zero children die from a preventable cause.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake recently shared his thoughts with the Financial Times about the “evidence-based revolution” in humanitarian aid, what makes aid effective, and what makes UNICEF unique in its ability to help children.
Pier 1 has carried UNICEF greeting cards for more than 20 years. During a time of intense competition and pressure for retail outlets to reach sales goals, Pier 1 has provided valuable real estate in its more than 1,000 stores, gratis, for UNICEF greeting cards. Sales of our iconic greeting cards in Pier 1 stores have raised more than $28 million, used to buy lifesaving vaccines, clean water, medicine and education for the world’s poorest children in more than 150 countries.
It is clear that painful cuts are coming in a variety of Federal programs. In the face of this crisis, a diverse coalition of over 40 leaders of international and domestic non-governmental organizations, including President and CEO Caryl M. Stern of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, is calling upon the Administration and Congressional Leadership to protect international and domestic programs that benefit poor and vulnerable families and children from deep budget cuts.
The Congressional Global Health Caucus sponsored a briefing for Congressional aides on “Global Health and Children.” I was asked to provide an overview and moderate the panel which included representatives from Save the Children, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, World Vision, and CARE USA.
|© U.S. Fund for UNICEF/2011
|Global Health and Children panelists with aides to Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Global Health Caucus.
Our collective message to the Hill was that progress is being made to reduce the number of children who die of preventable causes. The funding and leadership provided by the United States Government, in partnership with international organizations like UNICEF, non-governmental organizations, foundations, corporate partners, service clubs, and individual donors have helped cut under-five child mortality rates by a third since 1990. The money raised and implemented is measurably making a difference – but work remains to get the 22,000 children who die each day down to Zero.
Last Sunday night, a new special event called The UNICEF Experience took place in Atlanta’s Lenox Square Luxury Wing, and it raised over half a million dollars!
UNICEF has released the latest child mortality figures, and I am deeply heartened to report that the number of children under age 5 dying every day has dropped yet again: from 24,000 to 22,000.
That number is down from 25,500 four years ago, and means that, since 1990 — when 34,000 died every day — UNICEF and its partners have helped cut the global under-five mortality rate by 1/3.