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.
Tag Archives for "field visit"
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.
It’s amazing how well young people can communicate without relying on language. Children can overcome a language barrier with a warm smile, a cool handshake or a slick dance move. At least that was the case with the kids we meet on a recent field visit we took to Tanzania with NBA and Olympic basketball star Tyson Chandler.
The very tall (7’1”) center for the New York Knicks was fresh off his gold-medal winning performance with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team in London. But instead of heading back to the U.S. for the many celebrations and parties set to get underway for the triumphant team, Tyson opted to travel to Africa and personally experience the work UNICEF is doing to fight for the survival and development of every child in need.
Warmly hosted by the UNICEF Malawi staff, recently a group of U.S. Fund for UNICEF staff and supporters visited the country to see the great breadth of UNICEF’s work and meet the children who are benefitting.
One of the most striking moments was when we visited the schools that UNICEF has helped to develop. By establishing child-friendly schools in the most rural areas of the country, UNICEF is able to demonstrate a commitment to have all kids attend school. The K.I.N.D. Project—Kids In Need of Desks—that was initiated by Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC has proven to be extremely successful.