A €60 million contribution from the IKEA Foundation will allow the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to reach millions of vulnerable children and women through health and education programmes, the world body announced today.
“Five million infants and five million mothers in marginalized communities can receive better access to health, nutrition, water and sanitation services” said UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake. “And 7 million more children can stay in school and receive a quality education.”
Since 2002, UNICEF programmes funded by the IKEA Foundation have impacted the lives of over 74 million people living in 15 states in India. The expanded support announced today will enable UNICEF to continue to assist the Government of India’s efforts to improve the chances of survival, development and growth of all children.
One grant of €39.5 million (approximately $53.3 million) will help infants and mothers to reduce mortality and malnutrition rates across 13 states. A second grant of €20.7 million ($28 million) will enable children across 10 states to receive quality education and benefit from a Government scheme that provides a safe environment for children living in difficult circumstances.
A child born in India joins an estimated population of 1.2 billion, of which nearly 40 per cent are under the age of 18.
The circumstances children face in the country can be harrowing. India alone accounts for more than 20 per cent of the child deaths and 38 per cent of the chronically undernourished children in the world. This is largely due to a lack of access to good quality, essential health services, and insufficient nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene services for children under two and their mothers. In addition, more than 80 million children drop out before completing eight years of schooling and over 8 million children are out of school.
Founded in 1982, the IKEA Foundation was started by the Swedish home furnishings company of the same name and according to its website it aims to address “the root causes of child labour as well as endeavours with major partners to promote child rights and education.”
The contribution today brings IKEA Foundation’s total investment in UNICEF’s work in India to €158 million ($213 million) and aims at achieving results for children by 2018.