|Seated with other girls in an outdoor class of grade one, two girls share a textbook in a non-formal girls' school in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 26 July 2006 - The Government of Norway has announced a contribution of $87 million to boost UNICEF programmes for children around the world.
UNICEF Deputy Director of the Programme Funding Office, Gary Stahl says it is the largest thematic contribution UNICEF has ever received from a single donor.
“Thematic funding is the most flexible funding that we can possibly receive,” said Mr. Stahl. “That means UNICEF will allocate funds as we see fit and where we can best achieve results based on our strategic plan.”
A large portion of the amount, some $71 million, will be used in the areas of basic education and gender equality. Another $6.4 million and 5.6 million will help improve conditions of water, sanitation and environment in many communities, as well as strengthen the protection of children from violence. Finally, about $3.2 million will be used to fight HIV/AIDS.
Norway was the second largest donor to UNICEF in 2005, and has made a multi-year, multi-million dollar pledge to UNICEF. In the past, they have made contributions to support primary education in Angola and Madagascar among other countries, as well as contributions towards a global immunization campaign.
“They are huge supporters of education and gender equality in education. The Government believes strongly that the best investment any government can make is the investment in children,” remarked Mr. Stahl.
In September this year, Norway will help UNICEF organize a high-level symposium to discuss child survival. UNICEF feels “extremely appreciative”, and “will allocate and use the contribution wisely and efficiently,” said Mr. Stahl.