|© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1237/Susan Markisz|
|L to R: UNFPA’s Steven Kraus, FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta, WHO Executive Director Andrey V. Pirogov, UNAIDS Director Bertil Linblad and UNICEF HIV/AIDS Chief Jimmy Kolker holding up the official FC Barcelona t-shirt supporting the 2008 'Children and AIDS' report.|
By Roshni Karwal
NEW YORK, USA 1 December 2008 – In celebration of World AIDS Day, Football Club Barcelona participated as UNICEF’s guest of honour at the presentation of its newly-released report ‘Children and AIDS: Third Stocktaking Report, 2008’ at the United Nations today.
The report was jointly prepared by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
‘Children and AIDS’ takes a look at the latest figures and findings around the world within the framework of the UNICEF campaign Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS.
Support for the fight against HIV/AIDS
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman noted that survival rates are approximately 75 per cent higher for newborns who are diagnosed and begin HIV treatment within their first 12 weeks of life.
Football Club Barcelona will donate 10 million dollars over a five-year period to UNICEF to help the fight against HIV/AIDS in Malawi, Angola and Swaziland.
“Football Club Barcelona is giving back to society through UNICEF,” said President of FC Barcelona said Joan Laporta.
Corporate social responsibility
The partnership between UNICEF and FC Barcelona started in 2006 with the objective of carrying out joint projects directed towards vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.
FC Barcelona has pledged a donation of 0.7 per cent of the clubs’ ordinary income to United Nations programmes and projects.
“We decided to implement our corporate social responsibility and to support the MDGs of the United Nations,” said Mr. Laporta. “We were pioneers in the world in football clubs in development of social responsibility. We would like to be a role model for other clubs to follow.”
Supporting vulnerable childen
The first country to benefit from FCB’s donation was Swaziland. UNICEF is currently working on early infant diagnosis and treatment as well as preventing mother-to-child transmission.
UNICEF and FCB have supported the installation of medical equipment in hospitals, staff training and the building of 23 new community support centres that help over 1000 vulnerable children, especially orphans from rural areas.
Recently, FC Barcelona’s alliance with UNICEF has been extended to Malawi and Angola. The project in Malawi will offer support and assistance to children who are orphaned and vulnerable primarily due to AIDS.
In Angola, sport will be used as an awareness-raising tool among young people in an attempt to prevent the spread of AIDS.
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