NEW YORK (March 6, 2012) — Lenny Kravitz—GRAMMY award-winning singer-songwriter, record producer and actor—is using his voice and talent to do more than dazzle the stage and screen. He is throwing his support behind the global push by UNICEF and its partners to help save and improve the lives of millions of children and their families around the world by providing them with access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
"I was born in New York City and have always taken access to clean water as a given," said Kravitz. "No child should die of diarrhea from drinking dirty water. That thousands of children under the age of five continue to die every day because they lack clean water and basic sanitation is simply unacceptable."
Earlier today UNICEF announced that the world has met the Millennium Development Goal for drinking water, with 89% of the global population now with access. However, that still leaves more than 780 million people, mainly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, without access. In addition, around 2.5 billion people—almost half the developing world’s population—lack access to improved sanitation. This all adds up to bad news for the children who are being left behind.
Kravitz will be appearing in Public Service Announcements and take to Twitter and Facebook with a message that all children can—and must—have access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Kravitz, who recently released the album Black and White America, and who will be starring in The Hunger Games later this month, is joining forces with UNICEF to help mark World Water Day (March 22) and will send a global message of the importance of investing in children and providing them with clean water and sanitation.
In the United States, Kravitz will be lending his support for the UNICEF Tap Project by encouraging his fans and dining patrons across the country to pay $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free during World Water Week, March 19-25. With $1, UNICEF can provide a child with access to clean, safe water for 40 days, or 40 children with access to safe water for one day. Funds raised through the 2012 UNICEF Tap Project will provide children and families with clean drinking water in Viet Nam, Togo, Mauritania and Cameroon.
Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have serious repercussions on a child's health, often causing diarrhea and other easily preventable diseases. Children, particularly girls, often miss school, because they are responsible for gathering water for their families, which can require many hours of their time. In addition, many schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities for girls, causing them to drop out of school. Without safe water, sanitation, and good hygiene, sustainable development is difficult to achieve.
Since 1990, UNICEF, governments and partners, have helped more than 2 billion people gain access to improved water sources and 1.8 billion people gain access to improved sanitation facilities. The efforts include drilling wells and installing water pumps, helping communities build latrines and teaching lifesaving hygiene to schoolchildren and mothers, and providing safe water and sanitation to communities during emergencies.
Attention broadcasters: PSAs and B-roll will be available free of charge at: www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.