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UNICEF makes its mark in 3 of 10 Yahoo! ‘Inspirations’ for 2007

© Yahoo! News
The Yahoo! News ‘2007 Year in Review’ cited the worldwide reduction in child deaths as one of the top inspirational stories of the year.

NEW YORK, USA, 31 December 2007 – The Yahoo! News ‘Year in Review’ has cited 10 top stories from 2007 “that bring cause for optimism and hope.” And in 3 of these 10 Yahoo! ‘Inspirations’, UNICEF played a key part.

Following are brief summaries of the inspirational stories selected by the online news service, along with their UNICEF connections. Click here to view the Yahoo! New presentation in its entirety.

‘Fewer lives cut short’

The world reached an important milestone on child survival in September, when global statistics revealed for the first time that the number of children dying before the age of five had fallen below 10 million per year.

New survey figures reported by UNICEF showed solid progress, with worldwide child deaths at 9.7 million per year – down from almost 13 million in 1990. “Mosquito nets, breastfeeding and vaccination drives are being credited with the historic low,” Yahoo! reported.

This achievement is expected to add momentum to the push toward the Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2000. Reaching MDG 4 – a two-thirds reduction in the 1990 under-five mortality rate by 2015 – would avert an additional 5.4 million child deaths annually.

‘Child warrior to bestselling author’

More than a decade ago, Ishmael Beah, who fought in Sierra Leone’s civil war as a teenager, was rehabilitated as part of a UNICEF-supported disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program. This year he became a bestselling author with the publication of his memoir, ‘A Long Way Gone’.

As Yahoo! put it, Mr. Beah’s account of the life of a child soldier “has cast a chilling spotlight on the brutality of wars that rage across Africa.”

In November, Mr. Beah was named UNICEF’s first Advocate for Children Affected by War, pledging to give a voice and hope to children whose lives have been scarred by violence.

‘The (roughly) $100 laptop’

“After struggling for years with rising costs, the One Laptop Per Child project began selling its green-and-white XO laptops to the public on Nov. 12,” Yahoo! reported in its year-end review.

The low-priced computers, designed for use by children in some of the world’s poorest nations, were developed with UNICEF’s help. And less than a month after the laptops were unveiled, UNICEF, One Laptop Per Child and Google launched ‘Our Stories’, a new joint initiative.

‘Our Stories’ will collect, preserve and share young people’s stories in hopes of improving understanding across national, cultural, religious, linguistic and generational boundaries. By providing poor children with easy-to-use technology for recording their stories and interviews, the laptops will serve as a foundation to help build this digital archive.



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