Showing posts with label Charities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charities. Show all posts

13 April 2020

Alight Announces #InOurHands Global Campaign To Create Unity and Share Messaging About COVID-19 [Video Included]

Alight Announces #InOurHands Global Campaign To Create Unity and Share Messaging About COVID-19
Alight Announces #InOurHands Global Campaign To Create Unity and Share Messaging About COVID-19 (image via Alight)
Alight, formerly known as the American Refugee Committee, has announced the global launch of the IN OUR HANDS campaign. 

Developed in conjunction with leading nonprofit design studio,, the campaign aims to unite people during a time of social distancing while also sharing bite-sized, positive messaging derived from World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines as a means to simply and effectively offer uplifting messages. 

Alight is joining forces with influencers, community leaders and partners around the world to help raise awareness and demonstrate how together, hand-in-hand, we can help slow the staggering rate at which COVID-19 continues to spread.
"We work closely with refugees in camps and settlements who don't have the systems in place to be protected from the coronavirus and also haven't necessarily received much information about the virus," says Alight's East Africa Representative Bernad Ochieng Ojwang. "So, as we've been working to prepare the communities of refugees and displaced people we serve every day for COVID-19, we knew we also wanted to create a campaign that could both reach other remote and marginalized communities with information and unite the global community against this global pandemic."
"Designers are looking to apply their creativity and craft to COVID-19 related efforts in this moment where their skills are most needed. We are optimistic that these messages can really shift behaviors and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities in East Africa and around the world," says Jocelyn Wyatt, CEO of
The campaign centers around influencers coming together to express love and solidarity with all of those doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 using #InOurHands. They are writing messages of love and solidarity on the palms of their hands, sharing it and encouraging others to do the same, with the hope to send love to more than 28.7 million people worldwide.

Influencers from all over the world are already participating and posting across their social channels, including international musician, K'naan, along with Natalia Tewa, Millard Ayo, Idris Sultan, Harmonize TZ, Benjamin Fernandes, George Kagwe, Aar Maanta and Ayaan Mohallim.

The Video:

About Alight:

Established in 1978 by founder Neal Ball, Alight, formerly known as American Refugee Committee, provides health care, clean water, shelter, protection and economic opportunities to more than 3.5 million people in 17 countries each year. 

Alight believes in the incredible creativity, potential, and ingenuity of the displaced and works to shine a light on their humanity, the tremendous amount of good that's already happening and the possibilities to do more. 

The organization exists to see and help every person make meaningful change in the world – from displaced and marginalized communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas to...anyone, anywhere. 

Learn more about Alight at
SOURCE: Alight

16 October 2019

Stars Speak up for Working Animals Overseas in New Animated Film for Charity SPANA [Video Included]

Brian Blessed, Deborah Meaden and Peter Egan lend voices to highlight the plight of animals overseas
Brian Blessed, Deborah Meaden and Peter Egan lend voices to highlight the plight of animals overseas
Actor Brian Blessed OBE, Dragons' Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, and Downton Abbey and After Life 2 star Peter Egan, have joined together to speak up for working animals around the world, in a new animated film for the charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).

SPANA improves the welfare of working animals in 26 developing countries worldwide, providing free veterinary treatment, training for owners in how to better look after their animals and humane education for school children.

The film aims to raise awareness of the lives of working animals overseas by showing the solidarity of our own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (voiced by Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (played by Deborah Meaden) are comically shown ignoring their daily duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.
Around the world, more than 200 million working animals, such as horses, donkeys, camels and elephants, support the livelihoods of more than half a billion people in the poorest communities. By transporting food, water, firewood and people, they make it possible for families to earn a small income.

However, these animals often endure terrible working conditions, carrying backbreaking loads in extreme temperatures. In the vast majority of cases, they face short and painful lives, with no access to veterinary care when they are sick or injured.

Brian Blessed
Brian Blessed (image via SPANA)
Brian Blessed said: 'I support SPANA's work wholeheartedly, and it was wonderful to be a part of this new film. In the poorest communities across the world, people work tirelessly to simply put food on the table for their families – and working animals are their lifeline. The lives of these people and animals are unimaginably difficult, but we can help make a considerable difference to them.'

The Video:

  • SPANA worked with award-winning agency Don't Panic to create the awareness-raising film.

19 August 2019

US: Thousands of Be Bold Be Bald! Activists to Stand in Solidarity Against Cancer on October 18th

Be Bold Be Bald! (image via
On October 18, 2019, thousands of people across the U.S. will show their support for those affected by cancer and raise money for cancer charities as a part of National Be Bold, Be Bald! Day. 

Founded in 2009, Be Bold, Be Bald! is a social movement where participating individuals rock a bald cap throughout the day and get others to sponsor them for their bold move. Since inception, the movement has swept the nation, becoming a show of strength for anyone touched by the terrible disease. 

To date, Be Bold, Be Bald! has raised over $1.35MM to fight cancer. Be Bold, Be Bald! supports over fifty beneficiaries of all sizes including the American Cancer Society, Boston Medical Center, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and many, many more.
"For the last decade, we have been fighting against cancer to support our many beneficiaries," says Jeff Freedman, founder of the movement and owner of Boston-based advertising agency Small Army, a Finn Partners company. "We're excited to celebrate this 10th Year Anniversary and continue to create awareness and increase the number of participants in this year's Be Bold, Be Bald! Day."
In 2007, the Small Army family was hit with a tragic blow when co-founder and Creative Principal, Mike Connell, lost his battle with cancer. Faced with their grief, the Small Army team channeled Mike's courage and strength, and dedicated themselves to continuing his fight against cancer. 

In Mike's honor, they started the 510c3, Small Army for a Cause, and the annual Be Bold, Be Bald! event. "Witnessing Mike's heroic, two-year fight, we saw firsthand the courage and strength cancer patients have," says Freedman. "He inspired us to continue that fight ourselves – and to do so in a way that would truly represent the boldness of Mike and his ideas."

Beginning August 19th, 2019 anyone can join the Be Bold, Be Bald! movement. Survivors, individuals, families, businesses, and even celebrities have all showed support by rocking a bald cap, including television hosts Maria Menounos and Joan Lunden, actresses Jessica Szohr and BK Cannon, rocker Peter Wolf, sports stars from the New England Revolution, New England Patriots' stud Julian Edelman and many more.

Those looking to get involved in Be Bold, Be Bald! can do so in three ways: 

  • Sport a bald cap in solidarity on October 18 and get others to support you. 
  • Support the fight by making a donation or sponsoring someone going bald. 
  • Spread the word about the movement through your various social networks.

The Video:

SOURCE: Finn Partners

19 June 2019

'Incognito Doritos' Unveiled To Help Spider-Man Conceal His Iconic Suit

Spider-Man: Far From Home And Doritos Join Forces to Design “Incognito Doritos” Bags that Covertly Transform into Official Replica of the Spider-Man Suit
Spider-Man: Far From Home And Doritos Join Forces to Design “Incognito Doritos” Bags that Covertly Transform into Official Replica of the Spider-Man Suit
In the technological feat of the century, Doritos has completed production on "Incognito Doritos," state-of-the-art, traditional-looking Doritos bags that covertly transform into an official replica suit from Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters on July 2, 2019. 

The Spidey-suit allows Peter Parker to be a hero, even far from home, completely undetected with his Spider-Man identity kept safe. And luckily for select fans, an official replica suit is now available for a limited time and a noble cause.

Through a global promotional partnership with Columbia Pictures' upcoming summer release Spider-Man: Far From Home, in association with Marvel Studios, the "revolutionary" Incognito Doritos "chip bags" conceal the full-size Spider-Man suit… but not just any suit. It is the official replica of the "Black & Red" edition made by Spider-Man's official suit maker Shafton Inc. that will make its debut in the upcoming film, marking the first time fans can get their hands on one.

"Teaming up with Spider-Man, we knew we had to deliver something epic and iconic to fans around the world," said Leslie Vesper, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. "So we thought in a humorous way we could help Peter Parker keep his identity secret. We also know that there's a strong overlap between our core Doritos consumers and Spider-Man fans, so we wanted to create something fun that truly brings both worlds together and for a good cause."
"We're excited to collaborate with Doritos on this innovative campaign in support of Spider-Man: Far From Home," said Jeffrey Godsick, EVP, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group. "This unique promotional partnership perfectly ties in with the themes of the film, and we are excited to see the never-been-done before replica of the Spider-Man suit camouflaged in a Doritos bag. No doubt this will get people talking."
Incognito Doritos will only be available via a social giveaway sweepstakes sponsored by Doritos, and one special-edition version will be auctioned off on eBay to benefit Capes4Heroes, which creates personalized superhero capes for kids with disabilities or illnesses or who just need to feel empowered. Doritos will also make a separate donation.

  • Starting now, fans can tweet @Doritos to tell us what super power Doritos gives them using #IncognitoDoritos and #entry…before they disappear on June 30. And starting on June 20 and continuing through June 27, fans can also join in on the superhero action by bidding in the eBay auction at
Incognito Doritos are part of the brand's overall partnership with the upcoming film Spider-Man: Far From Home. The collaboration also includes specially marked bags of Doritos that contain codes that can be entered for an opportunity to win unique Spider-Man: Far From Home inspired prizes, including a grand prize European trip for two. 

Consumers can enter on-pack codes at and participate in the "Spidey-Sense Challenge," an online game where users playing as Spider-Man will run a series of web shooter training courses in various cities. 
Spider-Man: Far From Home And Doritos Join Forces to Design “Incognito Doritos” Bags that Covertly Transform into Official Replica of the Spider-Man Suit
Spider-Man: Far From Home And Doritos Join Forces to Design “Incognito Doritos” Bags that Covertly Transform into Official Replica of the Spider-Man Suit

About Spider-Man: Far From Home

"Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever."

  • Directed by Jon Watts. Written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. 
  • Based on the MARVEL Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. 
  • Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. 
  • Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Thomas M. Hammel, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O'Connor, Stan Lee, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach serve as executive producers. 
  • The film stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.

About Capes4Heroes

Capes4Heroes makes personalized superhero capes for kids with disabilities, kids with life threatening illnesses, and kids who just need to feel empowered. These capes give deserving kids an extra boost of strength and courage and make them feel like the superheroes they truly are!

"Our Heroes" - Capes4Heroes
Our Heroes (image via Capes4Heroes)
Founded in 2008 by Barbara Casados, Capes4Heroes is headquartered in Danville, California. To date, Capes4Heroes has personalized and delivered over 25,000 capes to children all over the United States. 

With support from partners and sponsors, heroes have received their capes at superhero parties, camps, Children's hospitals and through their online nomination process. 

  • Their goal is to distribute capes to 5,000 more children during their 2019 East Coast Cape Crusade. 

9 June 2019

UNICEF Ramps Up Its Humanitarian Assistance To Children In Venezuela

A boy begs on the streets of Caracas. UNICEF is concerned that the current situation in Venezuela has reduced children’s access to essential services and increased their vulnerability, rolling back decades of progress.
A boy begs on the streets of Caracas. UNICEF is concerned that the current situation in Venezuela has reduced children’s access to essential services and increased their vulnerability, rolling back decades of progress. (© UNICEF/UN0318609/Velasquez)
Fifty-five tons of UNICEF health supplies have reached Venezuela since the beginning of the year, the United Nations children's organization said today. The items were distributed in 25 hospitals in the most affected states of Caracas, Miranda, Zulia, Bolivar and Táchira. They include midwifery kits, antibiotics and malaria treatment.
"One third of children in Venezuela need help accessing basic nutrition, health and education services, according to preliminary UN estimates," said Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Director of Communication, who has just finished a three-day trip to the country. "UNICEF has been working in Venezuela for almost 30 years. As the country grapples with the impact of a devastating economic and political crisis, we will continue to provide its most vulnerable children, wherever they are, with the humanitarian support they need. Children's needs must always remain above politics."
UNICEF is concerned that the current situation in Venezuela has reduced children's access to essential services and increased their vulnerability, rolling back decades of progress. 

According to United Nations estimates based on official and other sources:
  • Some 3.2 million children – or 1 in 3 – need humanitarian assistance;
  • Under-five child mortality increased by more than half between 2014 and 2017;
  • 190 suspected cases of diphtheria and 558 suspected cases of measles have been recorded since the beginning of the year.
At a health care center in the outskirts of Caracas, Escudero met with health workers and mothers who spoke of the daily challenges of giving, and receiving, medical care.
"People I spoke to painted a very grim picture of the health situation in the country," Escudero said. "Many doctors and nurses have left the country. Medical centers are functioning at minimum capacity due to the shortage of medicine. Lack of spare parts has grounded mobile health units and ambulances. Pregnant women, many of them too young and anemic, are struggling to get the care they need. With worsening fuel shortages, they are sometimes not even able to get to the health centers. Women in labour need to bring their own midwifery supplies when they check into the hospital. For a country that made remarkable progress for decades on the quality of its health care, this is quite dramatic."
The recent shipments of heath supplies raise to nearly 200 tons UNICEF's humanitarian assistance in the country in the past year. Working with partners on both sides of the political spectrum, UNICEF has, so far this year, provided:
  • Over 400,000 people with access to safe drinking water and an additional 25,300 people with water, sanitation and hygiene services in health centers, schools and other learning and child-friendly spaces.
  • Nearly 75,000 children under 5 with micronutrient supplementation and an extra 3,500 with outpatient treatment for acute malnutrition.
  • Deworming tablets for 4.3 million children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Nearly 9 million doses of the diphtheria vaccine, 176,000 doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and 260,000 doses of the yellow fever vaccine for a national immunization campaign.
  • More than 260 education kits for 150,000 children in public schools.
  • Psychosocial support for nearly 10,000 children and young people.
"We are barely scratching the surface," Escudero said. "Millions of children need to be immunized, go to school, drink safe water and feel protected. We have plans in place to further scale up our response, but we need increased flexible funding that would allow us to reach the children in need with the services they need."
UNICEF has strengthened its presence on the ground, with offices close to the borders with Colombia and Brazil, making it one of the agencies with the biggest operational footprint in the country.

UNICEF's funding requirements have increased, with plans to provide more vaccines, rehabilitate the water and sanitation system, provide malnutrition treatment and medical supplies, and make sure that children have the education and protection support that are essential to their future and well-being.
"We are committed to making sure that we reach children in need with quality support in a timely manner and we rely on our donors' support while we continue to increase our response and strengthen our monitoring mechanisms on the ground," Escudero said.
A health center in las Minas de Baruta, a neighborhood in the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela
A health center in las Minas de Baruta, a neighborhood in the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela. (© UNICEF/UN0318587/Velasquez)

Related Stories:

5 April 2019

'Avengers: Endgame' Stars and Disney 'Team of Heroes' Unite to Support $5 Million Donation to Benefit Children's Hospitals

Paul Rudd, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Bob Iger, Brie Larson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner attend Avengers Universe Unites, a charity event to celebrate the donation of more than $5 million in cash and toys to nonprofits supporting children with critical illnesses, at Disney California Adventure Park on April 5, 2019 in Anaheim, California.
Paul Rudd, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Bob Iger, Brie Larson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner attend Avengers Universe Unites, a charity event to celebrate the donation of more than $5 million in cash and toys to nonprofits supporting children with critical illnesses, at Disney California Adventure Park on April 5, 2019 in Anaheim, California.
The stars of Avengers: Endgame today visited the Disneyland Resort to launch Avengers Universe Unites, a charity event that supports The Walt Disney Company's signature philanthropic commitment, Disney Team of Heroes, which delivers comfort and inspiration to seriously ill children around the world

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd and Brie Larson were on hand at Disney California Adventure Park to celebrate the donation of more than $5 million to nonprofits supporting children with critical illnesses, including $1 million in cash from Disney to Starlight Children's Foundation

  • The LEGO Group, Hasbro, Funko and Amazon together donated over $4 million in Avengers: Endgame toys and products which will be sent to hundreds of children's hospitals throughout the country, as well as Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort in central Florida.
"The superheroes in Avengers personify traits like courage, perseverance, bravery and hope – the same traits countless kids and their families in children's hospitals exhibit every day," said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, who joined the kickoff celebration. "We are grateful to have the Avengers cast take time out of their day to be a part of this effort to lift spirits and bring comfort to children during a difficult time." 
The Avengers stars joined kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim and Garden Grove to play at a larger-than-life LEGO build at The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney and were treated to a visit by Amazon's Treasure Truck stocked with Avengers: Endgame toys., including Hasbro action figures, Iron Man MK50 robots by UBTECH and Funko POP! vinyl figures.
"Nobody understands magical experiences better than Disney, and we've been proud to partner with them in bringing those experiences to kids in children's hospitals for more than 20 years," says Adam Garone, CEO, Starlight Children's Foundation. "From delivering hospital care packages, to storytelling through Starlight Xperience virtual reality, to our recent Disney-themed Starlight Gowns, millions of seriously ill children have benefited from our amazing relationship together. And with this donation, even more kids will get to experience the magic of Disney."
Avengers: Endgame - Poster
Avengers: Endgame - Poster

About Avengers: Endgame

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films, "Avengers: Endgame."

Kevin Feige produces "Avengers: Endgame," and Anthony and Joe Russo are the directors. Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, James Gunn and Stan Lee are the executive producers, and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay. "Avengers: Endgame" is in U.S. theaters on April 26, 2019.

SOURCE: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

26 March 2019

#NutsForAHealthierWorld's Campaign from INC Raises €47,800 to Fight Against Child Malnutrition

The INC and Save the Children join forces to fight child malnutrition
The INC and Save the Children join forces to fight child malnutrition. (PRNewsfoto/INC International Nut and Dried)
Since January, €47,800 has been raised for the international NGO Save the Children through Nuts for a Healthier World Campaign. INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council's global campaign has exceeded the initial €40,000 goal. 

With this achievement, Save the Children can provide a monthly supply of nutritional packs to more than 2,041 severely malnourished children from Mauritania, South Sudan and Bangladesh.

Last year, the INC created a video campaign to raise awareness of the Project, and at the beginning of 2019, Save the Children joined forces and turned all video shares into physical aid. 

  • The INC also asked members to join the project by donating, and further empowering the campaign. 
The main video has been shared over 43,000 times, with other content totalling over 1.1 million views. While the campaign visibility through all media and platforms has reached more than 43 million people.

Since the partnership with Save the Children boosted the fundraiser, companies such as Starline Global Trade Inc., Bösch Boden Spies GMBH and Co. KG, Noberasco SPA, Tomra Sorting Solutions, Campos Brothers Farms, John B. Sanfilippo and Son, Inc., MWT Foods, QiaQia Food Co. Ltd., Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., ShoEi Foods Corporation, Samsons Traders and CWS Ingredients, have become the cause's most prominent flag-bearers.
Goretti Guasch, INC Executive Director, has expressed: "I am delighted to see the nut and dried fruit industry come together again to support such an important cause." As for Save the Children's Director of International Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, David del Campo, "Nuts have much to offer in most situations of malnutrition and this campaign has helped us to ensure that pregnant women and young children have access to an accurate treatment."
  • The INC thanks the INC members, the INC community and above all, Save the Children for joining the campaign.

The Video:

SOURCE: INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council

1 March 2019

UNICEF: 'Alarming Global Surge Of Measles Cases A Growing Threat To Children '

On 9 February 2019 in Yemen, children vaccinated in Aden during a mobile Measles and Rubella vaccination campaign
On 9 February 2019 in Yemen, children vaccinated in Aden during a mobile Measles and Rubella vaccination campaign. © UNICEF/UN0284426/Fadhel (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)
UNICEF warned today that global cases of measles are surging to alarmingly high levels, led by ten countries accounting for more than 74 per cent of the total increase, and several others that had previously been declared measles free.

Countries with ten highest increases in cases between 2017 & 2018

  1. Ukraine: 30,338
  2. Philippines: 13,192
  3. Brazil: 10,262
  4. Yemen: 6,641
  5. Venezuela: 4,916
  6. Serbia: 4,355
  7. Madagascar: 4,307
  8. Sudan: 3,496
  9. Thailand: 2,758
  10. France: 2,269  
Globally, 98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared to 2017, eroding progress against this highly preventable, but potentially deadly disease.
"Vaccines work. They save millions of lives a year and are an important reason why more children today survive," said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.
Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil saw the largest increases in measles cases from 2017 to 2018. In Ukraine alone, there were 35,120 cases of measles in 2018. According to the government, another 24,042 people were infected just in the first two months of 2019. In the Philippines so far this year, there have been 12,736 measles cases and 203 deaths, compared to 15,599 cases in the whole of 2018.
"This is a wake-up call. We have a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine against a highly contagious disease – a vaccine that has saved almost a million lives every year over the last two decades," said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF's Executive Director. "These cases haven't happened overnight. Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow."
Measles is highly contagious, more so than Ebola, tuberculosis or influenza. The virus can be contracted by someone up to two hours after an infected person has left a room. It spreads through air and infects the respiratory tract, potentially killing malnourished children or babies too young to be vaccinated. Once infected, there is no specific treatment for measles, so vaccination is a life-saving tool for children.
In response to a recent outbreak of measles in British Columbia, Morley added: "Canada must invest in comprehensive monitoring and reporting to close the data gap in vaccination rates and identify populations at risk during outbreaks. We applaud the commitment in mid-February by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, to tackle misinformation around vaccinations."

UNICEFs global response

In response to these outbreaks, UNICEF and its partners are supporting governments to urgently reach millions of children in countries around the globe. For example:
  • In Ukraine, UNICEF has provided ongoing support to accelerate routine immunization across the country and address vaccine hesitancy, including additional efforts to stop the most recent outbreak that has claimed 30 lives since 2017. In February, the Ministry of Health, with UNICEF's support, launched an immunization drive at schools and clinics in the worst-hit Lviv region in western Ukraine, where negative attitudes toward immunization, and previous shortages in vaccine supply, have resulted in low vaccination rates.
  • In the Philippines, the government, with support from UNICEF and partners, will conduct a campaign to vaccinate 9 million children against measles across 17 regions. Using social media, campaigners plan to encourage apprehensive parents, and health workers.
  • In Brazil, from August to September 2018, the government carried out a campaign against polio and measles, targeting more than 11 million children under five. UNICEF encouraged people to get vaccinated, and trained health monitors working in migrant shelters for Venezuelans. UNICEF has included the measles vaccine as part of the Municipal Seal programme that covers 1,924 municipalities.
  • In Yemen, where years of conflict led to an outbreak, local authorities with support from UNICEF, WHO and GAVI vaccinated more than 11.5 million children in February.
  • In Madagascar, from 3 September to 21 February, 76,871 people were infected by measles and 928 died, a majority of which were children. In January, the government, with support of partners including UNICEF, launched an immunization campaign to target all 114 districts. Over 2 million children were immunized in 25 districts. In February, 1.4 million children were vaccinated, with another 3.9 million more to follow in March.
"As one of the largest donors of vaccines in the world, Canada has long shown its leadership for immunizing children, which plays a key role in preventing life-threatening illnesses such as polio, pneumonia, tetanus and diarrheal disease," added Morley.

Notable reported measles cases in 2018 in countries with no reported cases in 2017

  • Brazil: 10,262
  • Moldova: 312
  • Montenegro: 203
  • Colombia: 188
  • Timor-Leste: 59
  • Peru: 38
  • Chile: 23
  • Uzbekistan: 17
Poor health infrastructure, civil strife, low community awareness, complacency and vaccine hesitancy in some cases have led to these outbreaks in both developed and developing countries. For example, in the United States, the number of measles cases increased six-fold between 2017 and 2018, reaching 791 cases. More recently, the U.S. has seen outbreaks in New York and Washington state.
"Almost all of these cases are preventable, and yet children are getting infected even in places where there is simply no excuse," said Fore. "Measles may be the disease, but, all too often, the real infection is misinformation, mistrust and complacency. We must do more to accurately inform every parent, to help us safely vaccinate every child."

To fight measles, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, health care providers, and parents to do more to contain the disease by:

  • Understanding that vaccines are safe and effective and can save a child's life
  • Vaccinating all children between the ages of six months to five years during outbreaks
  • Training and equipping health workers so they can provide quality services
  • Strengthening immunization programmes to deliver all life-saving vaccines

About the Measles and Rubella Initiative:

UNICEF is part of the Measles and Rubella Initiative, a private-public partnership of five global partners including WHO, CDC, United Nations Foundation and American Red Cross that has been spearheading a global push towards measles and rubella elimination.


Related Video:

31 January 2019

UNICEF: Nearly 3,000 Children Crossed From Guatemala To Mexico Since Mid-January

Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Director of Communication, visits migrant families waiting at the Mexico-Guatemala border to apply for a humanitarian visas in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on January 29, 2019
Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Director of Communication, visits migrant families waiting at the Mexico-Guatemala border to apply for a humanitarian visas in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on January 29, 2019. © UNICEF/UN0277464/Bindra (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)
More than 12,000 people, including 3,000 children, have crossed from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, to Tapachula, Mexico, since January 17, UNICEF said today. It is critical to uphold special protection for these children, particularly those among them traveling alone, the children's agency said. 

"The Mexican government and people have been mostly welcoming towards the thousands of children and families crossing the border every day," said Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Director of Communication at the end of a two-day visit to Tapachula. "Whether these children stay in Mexico or head further up north, it is crucial that they remain with their families, that they are kept out of detention centres and that their best interests are protected throughout the journey."
According to government statistics, more than 30,000 children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were temporarily held in detention centres in 2018.

Although Mexico is increasingly implementing measures to safeguard children's rights while in transit or seeking asylum in the country, challenges persist. At the Tapachula migration station, which holds close to 1,000 men, women and children, Escudero spoke with mothers and young women kept at the station while their asylum claims or deportation orders are processed.
"Although people staying in the centre have access to food, health and recreational services, the conditions are inadequate," Escudero said. "I saw mothers and small children sleeping on the floor in the hallways. Many told me that they were unsure what would happen to them next or when they might be allowed to leave."
The new Mexican Government has officially committed to end detention of all child migrants and is presently working to fulfill this new policy. UNICEF and other organizations are closely supporting these efforts by helping develop alternatives to detention.
"Many of these children and young people are trading the trauma of violence and poverty back home for the trauma of displacement and uncertainty while on the move," Escudero said. "The hope of a better, safer future that keeps them going is getting further and further out of reach." 
In Mexico, UNICEF continues to work with the Government and its partners to ensure that migrant children receive the support and services they need and that their rights are upheld. Through its teams in Tapachula, UNICEF is giving direct support to children arriving at the migration office in Ciudad Hidalgo, providing them with information about their migratory options. The children's agency is also providing direct technical assistance to the Social Welfare Agency and Child Protection Authorities to ensure unaccompanied children are duly processed and receive appropriate care.

UNICEF is advocating with its Government partners to build on the country's existing successful programmes for children on the move, keeping the best interests of the child above all other considerations.
"UNICEF has been working with the government to identify and implement alternative solutions, including humanitarian visas, open shelters and day centres, that can keep families and children safe and protected while their claims are being processed," Escudero said. "We look forward to seeing more of these programmes along the Mexico migration route. After all, migration is not a crime and should not be treated as such."

22 November 2018

Award Winning Charity Reveals Travel Associations Could Do More to Protect Wildlife

Baby elephant tied up, waiting to entertain tourists at a venue in Thailand. After brutal training as youngsters, elephants like this one spend their lives forced into unnatural interactions with tourists
Baby elephant tied up, waiting to entertain tourists at a venue in Thailand. After brutal training as youngsters, elephants like this one spend their lives forced into unnatural interactions with tourists. (Photo: World Animal Protection)
Just over half a million captive wild animals globally are suffering to entertain tourists, including elephants, sloths, tigers and dolphins. Many animals are beaten, chained up, isolated and forced to perform tricks. These experiences often cause the animals pain and psychological trauma. Many tourists are animal lovers who don't realize these attractions harm animals.
Travel trade associations, for the most part, are looking the other way. World Animal Protection commissioned the University of Surrey to review 62 travel associations on whether they provide their members with animal welfare guidelines and require them to be met. 

The research shows only three of the 62 associations provide guidelines (TA (UK), ANVR (Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators) and GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) and only one (ANVR) is monitoring its members' progress in implementing the guidelines.
The research also states that around 110 million people annually visit cruel wildlife attractions, either independently or through tour operators or travel agents.
Not only is all this harmful to animals but there are also major safety risks to tourists participating in wild animal attractions. In Thailand, 17 fatalities and 21 serious injuries were reported in venues with captive elephants between 2010 and 2016.
"We hope travel associations will consider the research findings, step up, show leadership and take action to protect animals," says Melissa Matlow, the Senior Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection. "Some travel companies have committed to not selling cruel attractions, but many still do. There will be a big impact on animals' lives if travel companies align with tourist values on animal welfare."
Strong views on wildlife protection are especially common in younger generations. Research firm, Northstar, recently conducted a series of traveller focus groups for World Animal Protection that showed people under 35 are more aware of animal cruelty issues. They prefer seeing animals in their natural habitats rather than in forced interactions.
World Animal Protection is also working with various travel companies in Canada, including G Adventures and World Expeditions.
G Adventures is shifting tourist demand towards more ethical wildlife tourism. They are also part of CEWT (The Coalition for Ethical Wildlife Tourism) along with World Animal Protection. 

This coalition was created to encourage stronger industry standards and legislation to phase out using wild animals for tourist entertainment.
"Travel trade associations have a very important role to play in educating their members about responsible travel," says Jamie Sweeting, Vice President for Social Enterprise and Responsible Travel at G Adventures, "Too many animals continue to be harmed by tourism and we call on travel trade associations globally to do more to work with their members to put a stop to this cruel and unnecessary behaviour."
Several recommendations from World Animal Protection were put forward from the report. Vague language – such as 'good conditions' and 'natural behaviour' – should be avoided within any animal welfare guidelines. Elephant riding and other direct visitor interaction and forced performances with wild animals must be classed as unacceptable.

Many animals like monkeys, tigers and elephants endure painful training to force them to do unnatural things like give people rides, perform tricks and allow people to get close to them for a photo.
Many animals like monkeys, tigers and elephants endure painful training to force them to do unnatural things like give people rides, perform tricks and allow people to get close to them for a photo. (Image via World Animal Protection)
Although it's clear more work needs to be done, the mission of World Animal Protection is not going unnoticed. It was recently announced that the charity grabbed the top spot in the "Best for Wildlife" category at the World Travel Market, in London, U.K, based on the success of its global Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign to improve animal welfare and wildlife conservation. The charity now has over 200 travel companies no longer selling captive elephant entertainment.
Over 1.6 million people have signed World Animal Protection's animal friendly travel pledge. This signals there is a demand to phase out cruel wildlife attractions, like elephant riding, dolphinariums, and tiger selfies once and for all.

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14 November 2018

Regal Welcomes Aquaman Star Patrick Wilson to Knoxville

"Aquaman" - Patrick Wilson as King Orm
"Aquaman" - Patrick Wilson as King Orm (PRNewsfoto/Regal)
Regal (a leading motion picture exhibitor operating one of the largest theatre circuits in the United States) will host Aquaman star Patrick Wilson at the movie's exclusive advance screening on Thursday, December 13, benefiting Variety – The Children's Charity of Eastern Tennessee
In partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures, Regal is bringing Wilson to the Pinnacle theatre in Knoxville to meet fans and promote the deserving charity.
"We are excited to welcome Patrick Wilson to Knoxville for a benefit screening of this highly anticipated film," said Ken Thewes, CMO at Regal. "As a Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Award nominee, Wilson is an incredibly talented performer, and we cannot wait for his return to the big screen with Aquaman. We are grateful to our friends at Warner Bros. for making this screening possible and helping raise funds for Variety's special needs children."
Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson (Via The Hollywood Reporter)
Variety – the Children's Charity is a multi-million-dollar philanthropic organization that empowers children with special needs to grow, socialize, and express themselves independently. 
With 43 chapters in 13 countries, Variety makes an impact on both local and national levels through medical equipment donations, specialized therapeutic programs and well-placed donations. 
Regal established the local chapter of Variety in 2001 and has since raised over $10 million to aid children in East Tennessee.
Beginning Friday, November 16, a limited number of tickets will be available for sale to the public at the Regal Pinnacle theatre in Knoxville. Advance tickets are $50 through Thursday, December 6 and will increase to $75 on Friday, December 7 with all proceeds benefiting Variety – the Children's Charity
All event guests will enjoy a catered reception in the Pinnacle lobby before Wilson walks the red carpet. After the red carpet reception, attendees will have the opportunity to be some of the first moviegoers to view the movie.
"Aquaman" (Image via
About Aquaman:
From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa in the title role and Jason Patrick as Orm/Ocean Master. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime—one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be... a king.
The film also stars Amber Heard, Oscar nominee Willem DafoePatrick WilsonDolph LundgrenYahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, as well as Ludi Lin and Temuera Morrison.
Wan directs from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, story by Geoff Johns & James Wan and Will Beall, based on characters created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger for DC.  
The film is produced by Peter Safran and Rob Cowan, with Deborah SnyderZack SnyderJon BergGeoff Johns and Walter Hamada serving as executive producers.
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a Peter Safran Production, a James Wan Film, Aquaman.  The film is set to hit theaters December 21st in 3D and 2D and IMAX, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. 

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