On the eve of International Women’s Day, Malaysia’s favourite twins called on peers to respect and protect girls from violence
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 8 March 2013 – UNICEF Malaysia welcomed Malaysia’s most famous animated cartoon characters, Upin and Ipin, as its new National Ambassadors at a press conference on the eve of International Women’s Day.
|Watch beloved Malaysian cartoon characters and new UNICEF National Ambassadors Upin and Ipin: "Love, care and respect women!"|
UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Wivina Belmonte congratulated them on their first initiative for UNICEF, a public service announcement (PSA) on violence against girls calling on boys to respect, love and care for the girls and women in their lives.
“Today, Upin and Ipin have sent an important message, in their own special way, through this PSA – that real boys don’t bully, hit or hurt girls. It’s not cool, it’s not funny and it’s not right,” said Ms. Belmonte. “In doing so, Upin and Ipin join a global call to end the epidemic of violence against girls and women. I can’t think of a more meaningful way for them to begin their role as National Ambassadors.”
Boys champion girls
Upin and Ipin are the main characters of an award-winning Malaysian animated cartoon series revolving around the lives of a pair of 5-year-old identical twin orphans who live in a fictional village with their elder sister, grandmother and multiethnic friends. Upin and Ipin embody the unique challenges children can face as they grow up.
In line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘A promise is a promise – time for Action to End Violence Against Women’, Upin and Ipin joined UNICEF Malaysia in an initiative to encourage boys to support, protect and speak out on violence against girls. Along with the PSA, the initiative has also been launched on online and social media platforms.
The most common form of violence experienced by girls and women globally is physical violence. Up to 7 in 10 women in the world reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Globally, as many as half of all sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.
In Malaysia, more than 90 per cent of reported cases involved girls.
In the global effort to end the violence against girls and women, men and boys have a crucial role to speak out as friends, brothers, fathers, decision-makers and community and opinion leaders.
|© UNICEF Malaysia/2013/Zahri|
|UNICEF Representative in Malaysia Wivina Belmonte stands with Upin and Ipin, together with their 'voice', Nur Asyeila Putri.|
Upin and Ipin want other boys to also protect, care and respect the girls and women in their lives.
Children champion children
During the press conference, Upin and Ipin said they were very excited to be of service to UNICEF Malaysia, and looked forward to carrying out their duties and roles diligently.
“Even though we are just 5 years old, we are definitely ready to be a voice for girls and boys in Malaysia,” said Upin, to chants of “Betul, betul, betul!”, translated as “Yes, yes, yes!” by Ipin.
Upin and Ipin have the biggest Facebook presence of anyone in Malaysia, with over six million fans. As UNICEF National Ambassadors, they will use their media, social media platforms and special events to promote child-friendly messages and behaviour.
UNICEF Malaysia will work with Les Copaque, the producers of ‘Upin & Ipin’, to create awareness on issues involving children with disabilities, bullying, Internet safety and violence against girls.
“The ‘Upin & Ipin’ series that we’ve produced, now in our sixth year, promotes child participation and social values of mutual respect, a sense of family and community – as well as the strong bond of friendship. We look forward to working with UNICEF Malaysia,” said Head of International Marketing at Les Copaque Karyabudi Mohd Aris.
“Violence against girls and women is a global issue. It is time for men and boys to also stand up and say NO MORE – no more violence against their mothers, sisters, friends and neighbours. Upin and Ipin are leading the way. And UNICEF thanks them for it,” added Ms. Belmonte.
Children can change the world!
In their role as National Ambassadors, Upin and Ipin will continue to be vital voices and wonderful examples to children in Malaysia. Their messages will be anchored in UNICEF Malaysia’s Children4Change initiative, which promotes child participation.