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Namibia, 30 November 2016: UNICEF launches the 70th anniversary celebrations

Commemorating our work for children over the last 70 years.

SWAKOPMUND, Namibia, 30 November 2016 – Using the opportunities brought forth by the first National AIDS Conference and the visit of the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, Ms. Yvonne Chaka Chaka, UNICEF Namibia launched the 70th Anniversary celebrations today to mark the 70 years of relentless work and long-term support to children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crises, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

Since UNICEF’s inception seven decades ago as a temporary relief agency, its mission has evolved, adapting to realize the rights and meet the needs of children in an ever changing world.

Globally, the number of children dying before their fifth birthday has more than halved in the past 25 years. Hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty. Out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1990 and 2014.

“This launch is an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, reflect on lessons learned, and highlight the work that remains to be done in advancing the rights of every child in Namibia,” said Micaela Marques de Sousa, UNICEF Representative to Namibia.

In Namibia, UNICEF has continued to maintain and strengthen partnerships, relationships and alliances to accelerate the realization of children’s rights. It is through these partnerships that Namibia continues to witness breakthroughs and resounding achievements in increasing immunization coverage, combatting HIV and AIDS, reducing infant mortality, ensuring universal free primary education, better access to clean water, giving every child a fair chance in life, while ensuring that all children are protected from all forms of violence and exploitation.

Speaking at the first ever National AIDS Conference hosted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, commended the Government of Namibia for its relentless fight in addressing HIV and AIDS.

“Namibia has made great strides in ensuring that every HIV positive pregnant woman and people living with HIV all have access to the antiretroviral drugs. This is a huge milestone for the world and indeed for Namibia and I applaud the leadership and the various partners who made this possible,” said Ms. Chaka Chaka.

But despite impressive progress, many children are still being left behind. They are being left behind because of their gender, race, religion, ethnic group or disability; because they live in poverty or in hard-to-reach communities; or simply because they are children. We must recommit ourselves to the goal of seeing all children treated fairly and living free from oppression.

“Unless we recognize that young girls, especially those from poor households are most vulnerable, and we do something about our social and cultural beliefs that are harmful to women and girls, we are never going to defeat this pandemic,” said Ms. Chaka Chaka. “We might have won the battle but we have not won the war against HIV and AIDS.”

During this year-long celebration of 70 years of service (celebrated under the theme: For Every Child, There is Hope), UNICEF will also be celebrating the lives that have been changed through the tireless contributions of the men and women working in the field, in collaboration with other United Nations Agencies, UNICEF’s governmental and non-governmental partners, development partners, fearless advocates and supporters in Namibia.

“The challenge is upon us to safeguard the gains of the previous years, to accelerate action to fulfil the unmet promises for children’s rights and to rekindle lost hope, Namibia is on the right direction. Together we can make it happen,” said Micaela Marques de Sousa.

UNICEF in Namibia will dedicate the year 2017 towards reinforcing the call for different stakeholders to do more and ensure that “For every child in Namibia, there is hope.”

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About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information, please contact:
Judy Matjila, Chief of Communications, Cell: +264 811275963, jmatjila@unicef.org
Rochelle van Wyk, Communication Assistant, Cell: +264 81 606 7803, rvanwyk@unicef.org

 

 
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