Making Waves for Children – UNICEF

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UNICEF is the official charity of  the 2019-2020 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, as they were for the previous edition of the Race, in which the UNICEF yacht also raced. Like many of my fellow Race Crew I am raising money for charities close to my heart. I’ve written previously about my personal connection with the National Autistic Society (See Blog 35: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ….. and The Reason I Jump, published 26 Nov 18) and I’ll write more about my other chose charity, Diabetes UK, in subsequent blogs. But, again like many of my fellow racers, I will also be joining in Fleet-wide fund raising efforts for the Race chosen charity – UNICEF – and will have the opportunity to visit UNICEF projects.

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Before my involvement with Clipper I was aware of some of the work undertaken by UNICEF but now I already know so much more and it has been good to listen to speakers from UNICEF at the Little Ships Club in London back in January 2018 and Kate Cotton, the Senior Programme Management Specialist for UNICEF UK, at the Clipper Race Crew and Supporters event at Lord’s cricket ground last month.

UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) was formed on 11 December 1946 to meet the emergency needs of children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East. Soon they were feeding 5 million children in 12 countries. In 1950 their task was broadened to address the long-term needs of children everywhere. In 1965 UNICEF received the Nobel Peace Prize for work in “liberating hundreds of millions of children from ignorance, disease, malnutrition and starvation.”

Still today too many children are in danger because they don’t have the food they need to live and grow. Every 12 seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies because of malnutrition. That’s 25 children in the 5 minutes its going to take you to read this blog to the end. Of those that survive, millions have to live with the effects for the rest of their lives because their bodies and brains haven’t developed the way they should. UNICEF provides 80% of the world’s supply of life-saving food for malnourished children. They help mothers and communities keep their children healthy and well nourished. UNICEF has helped reduce the number of children affected by malnutrition by nearly 100 million since 1990.

In the 1970s UNICEF pioneered training volunteers in local communities to help meet children’s basic needs. In the 1980s, they led the child survival revolution that focused on preventing the deaths of some 15 million children each year from easily preventable illnesses such as measles or diarrhoea.

Too many children are in danger from deadly, yet preventable, diseases. Measles, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, diphtheria and whooping cough – the killer six – are all easily and cheaply preventable by immunisation. UNICEF is the world’s leading supplier of vaccines for children, providing vaccines for one in three of the world’s children. But millions more are still in danger. Every day 16,000 children under 5 die, usually because they don’t gert the health care and life-saving vaccines they need.

In 1989 governments worldwide promised all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention is the basis for all of UNICEF’s work. Every 5 minutes a child dies because of violence. Across the world, in war zones, on the streets of violent cities, in their own homes and schools, children are facing an epidemic of violence. UNICEF helps to provide psychosocial support for children. They also work with governments to strengthen national child protection systems and with communities to make sure that violence against children is considered unacceptable.

In the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, UNICEF again found itself protecting children affected by poverty, disease and war in Europe. From Syria and Iraq to South Sudan and Central African Republic, war and conflict turn millions of children’s lives upside down. Torn from everything they know, they are left vulnerable to dangers, from disease and malnutrition to violence and exploitation. UNICEF provide life-saving food, clean water, medicines, protection and psychosocial support to children whose lives have been devastated by the effects of war and conflict.

When disaster strikes, children are hardest hit. Whether it’s a flood, an earthquake or a typhoon, so many lose everything – their homes, their families, even their lives. In an emergency situation, UNICEF is there to provide everything from life-saving supplies to clean water and sanitation, schooling, nutrition and emotional support. In 2016 UNICEF provided 2.3 million children with psychosocial support to help them overcome trauma.

In the 21st century, UNICEF continues to help protect children in danger and transforms their lives. Whether it is natural disaster, war or poverty, UNICEF works tirelessly to keep every child safe. UNICEF UK raises vital funds for UNICEF’s work to protect children around the world, and works to change government policies and practices that restrict child rights. Their three programmes in the UK work to protect and promote the rights of UNICEF20children and young people. The UK Baby Friendly Initiative http://www.babyfriendly.org.uk works to ensure mothers have the best possible support to breastfeed, and families are supported to develop loving and nurturing relationships with their babies. UNICEF UK’s Child Rights Partners programme http://www.unicef.org.uk/crp works with local government to put children’s rights at the heart of public service. The Rights Respecting Schools Award http://www.unicef.org.uk/rrsa works with thousands of schools across the UK to improve well-being and help all children realise their rights.

There will be an opportunity in just about every stopover for Clipper Race Crew to work to support UNICEF and UNICEF activities. Clipper race crew have raised over £700,000 over the past two editions of the Race and we hope to break the £1M barrier in the 2019-2020 edition. So how can you help?

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For every £1 given to UNICEF, 70p is spent on programmes for children, 29p is spent to raise another £1 and 1p (only 1p) is spent on governance. UNICEF UK relies entirely on gifts from individuals:

http://www.unicef.org.uk/give

and their fundraising work with more than 20 leading companies http://www.unicef.org.uk/corporate. UNICEF receives no money from the UN budget.

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