Brazil

‘UNICEF Seal’ initiative saves and transforms children’s lives in Brazil’s semi-arid region

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Brazil/2006/Bonacini
This girl is just one of more than 10 million children benefiting from reduced infant mortality rates and increased access to school in Brazil's semi-arid region.

By Pedro Alcantara and Flavia Ribas

BRASILIA, Brazil, 6 December 2006 – UNICEF Brazil is awarding 146 municipalities in the country’s semi-arid region with the ‘Seal of Approved Municipality’, recognizing their achievements in improving the lives of children and adolescents over the past two years.

“Among all municipalities participating in the Seal initiative, there have been important reductions in the infant mortality rates and in malnutrition indicators,” said UNICEF Representative in Brazil Marie-Pierre Poirier. “We have also observed the increase in access to school for Brazilian children up to six years old.”

For the past two years, UNICEF has monitored various social indicators – including the health, education and social participation – of children in Brazil’s impoverished semi-arid region. The 1,179 municipalities participating in the Seal of Approved Municipality project committed to promoting health, education and protection for more than 10 million girls and boys.

Gains in survival, nutrition and education

“The commitment of these municipalities – together with the help of civil society organisations, children’s rights councils and the engagement of millions of people, families and mayors who led this joint effort – has achieved significant progress for children that will contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Brazil,” said Ms. Poirier.

Among the achievements of the UNICEF Seal initiative:

  • The average infant mortality rate in 1,179 municipalities has dropped from 25.6 to 21.9 deaths per 1,000 live births
  • The proportion of malnourished children up to two years of age decreased from 9.2 per cent in 2003 to 6.8 per cent in 2005
  • Access to early childhood education has increased; in 2004, 56 out of 100 children aged four to six were enrolled in pre-schools, and now 63.5 out of 100 go to school.
UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Brazil/2006/Petrillo
Millions of Brazilian children like this boy are benefiting from improved health, education and social participation through the UNICEF ‘Seal of Approved Municipality’ project.

13 million children and adolescents

In addition, 170 new Children’s Rights Councils have been created in the municipalities involved in the UNICEF Seal mobilization.

Some 1.3 million children and adolescents have been involved in environmental education activities and in the cultural mapping of the municipalities. Their work is part of an exhibition on display at the Brazilian Presidential Palace.

Brazil’s semi-arid region, which has the country’s lowest social indicators, is home to 33 million people, of whom 13 million are children and adolescents. UNICEF Brazil works in partnership with municipal, state and federal governments, civil society groups (such as ASA, Resab and ANDI) and other partners, including Petrobras, Foundation Abrinq and Frente Parlementar.


 

 

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