Manchester United has committed to raise at least £1million to help save the lives of some the world’s most vulnerable children.
The club's partnership with global charity UNICEF has been hugely successful over the last decade, benefitting more than 2.2million children worldwide. This additional £1million commitment is the latest stage of a long-term partnership that will continue to ensure children’s rights are upheld. United has over 300 million fans and 250 million of these live in Asia and Africa, many of them surviving without access to basic healthcare. This partnership enables United to give something back to those communities all around the world that have long supported the club.
The new commitment will go a long way towards ensuring children in the poorest countries have the same chance of a healthy life as the club’s supporters in the UK. The entire £1million will deliver essential funding for UNICEF’s critical work with children around the world. The £1million will be spent on ensuring 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
The club will also continue to use the power of United to deliver vital health messages to communities worldwide. In Sierra Leone, for example, the players have recently been part of a billboard campaign promoting safe sex, which resulted in a 20 per cent increase in condom use among young people. It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide have been reached with key UNICEF messages thanks to the powerful voice of the players.
One of the first countries to receive funding from the new £1million commitment will be Senegal, where one child out of 11 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 Ryan Giggs said: "Last year I travelled with UNICEF to Sierra Leone and I saw how hard it is for