KAMPALA / UGANDA, 9 July 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is traveling to Uganda this Wednesday to meet with children impacted by years of conflict and to participate in the first ever African Youth Forum.
Her three-day trip will include a visit to Gulu, a post conflict-affected area in the North where she will speak with children once held captive by the rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). She will also visit Kotido in the Northeastern region of Karamoja where children are faced with ongoing violence caused by local tensions.
Northern Uganda has experienced decades of civil war and unrest between the Government and the LRA. The rebel group is widely known for using children as soldiers and terrorizing civilians, recently also in neighbouring countries of Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, the Karamoja region has become a place where children are targeted by the increasing violence due to insecurity on the ground.
Despite growing confidence in the peace process in the North and disarmament in the North-East, the remnants of civil strife lingers, including higher levels of poverty, malnutrition, under five mortality and children out of school.
On Saturday, 17 July, Ms. Farrow will also attend the opening of the African Youth Forum (AYF) in Entebbe, which is organized in cooperation with the African Union Commission and the Government of Uganda. The African Youth Forum will take place one week before the 2010 African Union Summit.
The focus of the AYF and AU Summit is on maternal and child health and development, with youth participants preparing key recommendations for consideration by Heads of States attending the Summit. In addition, there are a number of cross-cutting issues that will be covered including HIV/AIDS, child rights and access to quality education.
"In the region that I work, on average, every five minutes a woman dies because of complications related to pregnancy or birth,” said Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “And when a mother dies, the chances of a child surviving reduce significantly.”
Mr. Sy will join Ms. Farrow in addressing the 124 young delegates attending the first ever African Youth Forum from across the Continent.
Ms. Farrow, internationally acclaimed actress and humanitarian activist, was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in September 2000. As a powerful advocate for children, she campaigns tirelessly for their rights around the world, with a special focus on children impacted by armed conflict. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Farrow has visited Angola, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gaza and the West Bank, Guinea, Haiti, Nigeria and Sudan.
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. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Uganda; + 256 7 17171 1110; firstname.lastname@example.org