The entire £1 million will deliver essential funding for UNICEF’s critical work with children around the world; ensuring that babies and young children in the most vulnerable communities are provided with the services they need to survive the first five years of life. These are the most crucial years because currently:
• every three seconds, today and every day, a child dies from a preventable cause
• malaria is the biggest killer of children under five in Africa and kills approximately one million people every year.
One of the first countries to receive funding from the new £1million commitment will be Senegal, where one child out of eleven dies before its fifth birthday. The partnership will equip 35 child survival centres with everything mums and babies need to ensure a child survives their first five years including providing basic equipment like malaria nets, weighing scales and beds, medication and training for midwives and healthcare staff.
UNICEF Ambassador, Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“If Manchester United and myself can raise awareness of the suffering that children in the world endure, then that can only be beneficial to UNICEF's continual hard work. This partnership benefits our fans, who live all around the world, and millions more children through UNICEF’s work.”
The United for UNICEF partnership has been hugely successful over the last decade, benefitting more than 2.2 million children worldwide. Over the ten years, the Manchester United players have been heavily involved in campaigns that deliver vital health messages to communities. Most recently, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand fronted a billboard campaign promoting safe sex in Sierra Leone, which resulted in a 20% increase in condom use amongst young people. Ryan Giggs recently visited Sierra Leone to see the effect the campaign has had, he said:
‘To travel as a UNICEF Ambassador has been a really great experience, to see the work first hand.’
‘In Sierra Leone I met a young man who told me he had HIV, which in itself is a big thing, to tell a stranger something like that is a big thing, the stigma is still very real, they often don’t tell anyone. But he was in a place where he could be himself, share his problems.’
‘When I was there I recognised our role, every so often we’d be driving through the rural areas and I’d see a billboard about the premiership games. Seeing the impact we can have out there has had a massive effect on me. It’s something I feel passionate about and I am committed to.’
The partnership has been a huge success, long may it continue’
Manchester United will raise the £1 million over the next three years through a variety of activity and with the support of the UK fans and players. The first fundraising event will be the annual star studded United for UNICEF Gala dinner which takes place on November 28. To book a table, call 0161 868 8000 (option 3 then 1) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.