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IKEA Social Initiative adds $48 million to UNICEF's child health programme - at $180 Million, largest corporate donor to UNICEF

New York, 25 February 2009: UNICEF announced that IKEA, through its corporate philanthropy arm, IKEA Social Initiative, is further expanding its support for children with a $48 million donation for UNICEF programmes in India.

This most recent donation will support UNICEF programmes aimed at improving the health and survival of tens of millions of women and children in some of India’s most deprived areas.

UNICEF also announced on Monday that, with this donation, IKEA Social Initiative has become the agency’s biggest corporate partner, with total commitments of more than $180 million. Approximately $120 million has been allocated for UNICEF India’s child health and protection programme from 2000 to 2015. The additional funds are being used to implement women's empowerment projects in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh by UNDP and to promote UNICEF’s child survival and protection programmes in Pakistan.

UNICEF also announced on Monday that, with this donation, IKEA Social Initiative has become the agency’s biggest corporate partner, with total commitments of more than $180 million. Approximately $120 million has been allocated for UNICEF India’s child health and protection programme from 2000 to 2015. The additional funds are being used to implement women's empowerment projects in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh by UNDP and to promote UNICEF’s child survival and protection programmes in Pakistan.

“The IKEA Social Initiative makes a serious corporate commitment toward improving the living conditions in countries where it is working,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Saad Houry. “IKEA’s investment in children’s wellbeing, despite the downturn in the global economy, sets a high standard for corporate partnership.”

In 2000, UNICEF, IKEA and the Government of India created a partnership aimed at addressing the root causes of child labour in the carpet belt of India such as debt, poverty, the lack of access to education, disability and ill health. It was implemented in 500 villages in Eastern Uttar Pradesh region of India. This programme made it possible for 80,000 out of school children to get an education and 140,000 children and 150,000 women were immunized. The programme also empowered more than 22,000 women to create sustainable economic opportunities through self-help groups.

The partnership between UNICEF and IKEA Social Initiative has bloomed over the past decade into a multi-faceted long term association that is delivering tangible benefits in health, education and protection for millions of children and women not only in India, but also elsewhere in Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.

In India, one woman dies every seven minutes from causes related to pregnancy, and childbirth, 43 percent of children under five years of age are malnourished and nearly one million newborn babies die every year.

The extended commitment of IKEA Social Initiative will allow UNICEF to provide additional support for national and state-led strategic and integrated programmes to improve the health of women and children in India. These programmes will address the causes of high mortality among children and mothers and improve children’s nutritional status.

The donation will contribute to health, nutrition, clean water and sanitation projects; e.g. by providing infants with immunisation and vitamin A supplements, as well as advocating for breastfeeding and the importance of nutritious food for children under the age of 24 months; by creating a healthy environment for children at home and in school; and by ensuring water safety and better sanitation, such as better access to toilets and learning about basic hygiene.The donation will contribute to health, nutrition, clean water and sanitation projects; e.g. by providing infants with immunisation and vitamin A supplements, as well as advocating for breastfeeding and the importance of nutritious food for children under the age of 24 months; by creating a healthy environment for children at home and in school; and by ensuring water safety and better sanitation, such as better access to toilets and learning about basic hygiene.

“The resources being provided will allow us to implement critical long-term programmes that seek to improve child survival, development and protection,” said UNICEF India Country Representative from New Delhi, Karin Hulshof. “IKEA Social Initiative has chosen to concentrate its long-term commitments on South Asia, where the needs of children and women are great, and where IKEA has long business experience.”

The announcement was made on the occasion of International Corporate Philanthropy day, celebrated at the ECOSOC Chambers at the United Nations in New York. Read more about IKEA’s work at http://www.unicef.org

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About UNICEF:

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

About IKEA Social Initiative:

IKEA Social Initiative manages social involvements on a global level. The mission of IKEA Social Initiative is to improve the rights and life opportunities of the many children - fighting for children's rights to a healthy and secure childhood with access to quality education. UNICEF and Save the Children are the main partners; with a range of projects take a holistic approach for creating a substantial and lasting change: improving the health of mothers and children, enabling access to a quality education for children, and empowering women to create a better future for themselves and their communities.

For more information, and interviews, please contact:

Angela Walker, Chief of Communication, UNICEF India
Tel: +91-98-1810-6093, E-mail: awalker@unicef.org

Geetanjali Master, Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
Tel: +91-98-1810- 5861, Email: gmaster@unicef.org

Sonia Sarkar, Communication Officer, UNICEF India
Tel: +91-98-9186-1445; E-mail: ssarkar@unicef.org

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