UNICEF: over two million children are threatened by crisis in the Horn of Africa

NAIROBI/GENEVA/NEW YORK, (July 8, 2011) — UNICEF estimates that over two million young children are malnourished and in need of urgent lifesaving actions, if they are to survive conditions in drought-affected countries in the Horn of Africa. Half a million of those children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions, with long lasting consequences to their physical and mental development.

Kiwanis International pledges to raise $110 million to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus

GENEVA, Switzerland (July 7, 2011) — Kiwanis International is mobilizing its Kiwanis members across the globe to provide a much needed push to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Tetanus is a painful disease that kills one baby every nine minutes, or 160 newborns each day.

Junior Chamber International Summit

I recently attended the JCI Global Partnership Summit in New York. Junior Chambers International is a member-based organization with over 200,000 members. More than 350 attendees participated in the summit which focused on how civil society, business and government can work together to create positive change through the framework of the UN Millennium Development Goals

MLS goalies go for ZERO!

Our friends at Major League Soccer are big Believers in Zero, and help spread the word about the effort to bring the number of preventable deaths each day among children under five from 22,000 to ZERO. Five star keepers have united to put Zero front and center for soccer fans. The Red Bulls' Bouna Coundoul, Earthquakes' Jon Busch, FC Dallas' Kevin Hartman, Chivas USA's Zach Thornton, and Kasey Keller of the Seattle Sounders are carrying the ZERO message to stadiums and screens across the country with their new PSA informing fans of the challenge of child survival, and inviting fans to share our goal of ending preventable child deaths.

Drawing "A Circle of Protection" around the most vulnerable

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.

UNICEF concerned about impact of drought on children in the Horn of Africa

NAIROBI/NEW YORK  (June 29, 2011) —With a major food and refugee crisis looming in the Horn of Africa due to a deadly combination of drought, on-going conflict and escalating food prices, UNICEF calls on local governments and donors to lead a rapid humanitarian response. According to UNICEF, millions of children and women are at risk from death and disease unless a rapid and speedy response is put into action.

Polio eradication: "almost" is not good enough

POLIO: when the word is spoken aloud--alone and unconnected--it causes many to think of some ancient and forgotten disease. "Long since eradicated from the world," many might say. Yet the reality, unfortunately, is very different: Polio is still here and it strikes fear in many parts of the world. Because this horrifying disease still cripples children around the globe.

Disney Friends for Change Games - Let the games begin!

Let the Games Begin! That was the cheer of our friends over at Disney's Friends for Change. because today marks the premiere of "Disney's Friends for Change Games," where more than 30 Disney Channel and Disney XD stars from around the globe will compete in a series of fun, physical challenges inspired by everyday "green" acts.

Over five weeks, four teams will play Olympic style, eco-themed games similar to the online Energy Dance Battle, which I've become addicted to (anyone remember Simon?? It's like that, but with dancing). As part of the games, Disney will make a $125,000 donation to each charity the teams are representing. Plus, the winning team's charity will receive an additional $100,000 donation from Disney. Disney's support will benefit UNICEF's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs around the globe; through WASH programs, UNICEF is giving young people what they need to protect natural resources and their own health.

Asking Congress to make getting to "zero" a priority

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.

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.
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.