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Press release

UNICEF and H&M in partnership for girls' education and HIV/AIDS awareness

UNDER EMBARGO until Tuesday, 6 July 2004

GENEVA/NEW YORK/STOCKHOLM, 6 July 2004 - UNICEF today announced a new partnership and thanked the global fashion company H&M for its donation of $1.5 million toward UNICEF girls’ education programmes worldwide and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes in Cambodia. The donation will be given over a three-year period.

 H&M will support UNICEF’s global initiative for accelerating girls’ education, “25 by 2005”. 121 million children are out of school, most of them are girls. The donation will help thousands of girls obtain the same access to basic education as boys. 

In addition, thousands of adolescents in Cambodia will receive HIV/AIDS awareness training, a toll-free hotline for HIV/AIDS counselling and information will be established, 75 youth club associations will be started, and 2,500 teachers will receive HIV/AIDS prevention training.

“Thanks to H&M’s generous donation, thousands of children’s lives will be changed and improved,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy. “H&M is showing how corporate sponsors can use their resources to work for the good of children.”

For H&M, the alliance with UNICEF highlights the company's supportive and responsible global role.

“The new partnership communicates the importance of social responsibility for H&M, its employees and customers," said Rolf Eriksen, CEO of H&M. “The presence of H&M on four continents makes us sensitive to cultural differences,” said Eriksen.  “For us it means respect for human rights and the responsibility for the effects of our business on the local environment.”

“H&M takes responsibility for the way our products are produced, said Ingrid Schullström, manager environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  “The alliance with UNICEF is an important step forward for H&M’s efforts in the area of CSR. Moreover, it is also in line with our participation in the UN Global Compact."

The Global Compact is a United Nations-driven initiative that seeks to advance responsible corporate citizenship through the power of collective action, so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalisation.
The alliance with H&M marks the UNICEF Sweden’s first global initiative.

“We are indeed very happy for this partnership since corporate support is increasingly important for our work,” said Véronique Lönnerblad,  Executive Director of the Swedish Committee for UNICEF.  “UNICEF is completely dependent on voluntary contributions and assistance from both the public and the private sector is required to achieve development for the most vulnerable children of the world.”

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For further information, please contact:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York 212 326 7452,  kdonovan@unicef.org
Per Westberg, UNICEF Sweden, Head of Fundraising, 46 708 23 16 06, pwestberg@unicef.se
Annacarin Björne, H&M Press Officer, 46 8 796 57 57 or 46 70 796 55 50

For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, 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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