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KUDAI and MTV visit Kuna Yala, invited by UNICEF, to be advocates for Excluded Populations

© UNICEF Panamá/Anamarie Eskildsen

“Indigenous boys and girls suffer from triple exclusion: because they are poor, because of their ethnic origin and because they are children”, says Mark Connolly, UNICEF´s Representative a.i. in Panama

PANAMA, November 24, 2008 - Kudai, the famous Latin American pop group, and MTV, visited Kuna Yala, an autonomous Indigenous Territory in the Republic of Panama, to spend time with the Kunas and be advocates for Excluded Populations. Kudai, formed by Pablo, Bárbara, Tomás and Gabriela, together with MTV and UNICEF, spent three days with Kuna boys, girls and youth leaders to explore the concept of exclusion and what it means for the communities and themselves. 

 The visit will be broadcasted by MTV Latin America, framed by a partnership between MTV and UNICEF TACRO. More than 20 million viewers will watch Kudai through MTV News or online, in www.MTVrevolution.com, www.MySpace.com/mtvagentesdecambio.com and in the Kudai webpage, www.kudai.com.mx. For 2009, MTV will produce a videodiary of Kudai´s visits to different Excluded Populations in the region, for advocacy purposes.

Gabriela Villalba, singer, was impressed on the way the Kunas preserve their culture and their environment. “And because they are matriarchal society, where women play an important role”.

Pablo Vega, Kudai´s manager, emphasized the importance of understanding Excluded Populations and for them to conserve their traditions. “A better understanding of their culture will reduce discrimination”, he said.

© UNICEF Panamá/Anamarie Eskildsen

Mark Connolly, UNICEF´s representative in Panama, pointed out that this first encounter with Kudai and Panama is part of a strategic communication strategy newly developed to advocate and put in the spotlight Excluded Populations. “With MTV as a partner, million of  viewers, mostly youth, will have a better understanding of the concept of exclusion, and how it is affecting our boys and girls throughout the region, and Panama”, he said. Connolly expressed great respect for Pablo, Gabriela, Bárbara and Tomás, for their way of communicating with youth. “It´s teens like them who are changing our world, and making it a better place to live and grow up”, he adds.

On exclusion, Connolly emphasized that “data speaks for itself. Indigenous populations in Latin America and Panama, especially boys and girls, are the ones that benefit the less from development, and the ones whose most rights are violated, such as education and health. Opportunities for the youth to reach out for their dreams are very limited. And most of the time Indigenous boys and girls suffer from triple exclusion: because they are poor, because of their ethnic origin and because they are children”.

For Connolly, it is “Unacceptable that the rights of boys, girls and teens of Excluded Populations are not fulfilled; thus UNICEF has to movilize the necessary wills to change these realities”.

For more information
Marti Ostrander, mostrander@unicef.org, UNICEF Panama

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About Kudai
Kudai  is a Latin American pop group with four members between the ages of 19 and 24. They won several MTV Latin Video Music Awards in 2008 and were nomitated for the Latin Grammys for their album “Nadha”.

About MTV
MTV Latin America hassome 20 million viwers, mostly between 13 and 40.

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, good 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.

 

 
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