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Press centre

Media advisory

The power of faith and tradition in saving children’s lives

A Pan-African Forum Sponsored by UNICEF and World Council on Religions for Peace

Who:  Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
Muslim and Christian Leaders from across Africa
Traditional Chiefs from across Africa
Senior Media Representatives from across Africa
H.E. Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal
H.E. Alpha Konare, President, Commission of the African Union
Dr. William F. Vendley, SG, World Conf. on Religions for Peace
Rima Salah, UNICEF Regional Director for West & Central Africa
Per Engebak, UNICEF Regional Director for East & Southern Africa

When:  Monday-Wednesday, 18-20 October 2004

Where:  Hotel Meridien-Presidente, Dakar, Senegal 

What: Pan-African Forum on Building Trust for Immunization & Child Survival:
Partnering With Religious and Traditional Leaders and the Media

Why: General immunization and child survival rates across Africa have been faltering for the last decade.  To turn the tide, invigorated partnerships at the ground level are needed.

The Pan-African Forum brings together some 200 hundred religious leaders, traditional chiefs, and media representatives from across the continent to jointly embrace the goal of child survival in Africa.  Through immunization and other basic services, millions more lives could be saved each year.  But success depends on reaching every child, especially in the most remote and marginalized communities.

Religious and traditional leaders in Africa command tremendous trust in their communities.  UNICEF believes these leaders have an irreplaceable role to play in reaching the un-reached – and building trust in, and demand for, life-saving health care for children.

A unique gathering aimed at empowering local leaders to play an even greater part in the protection of children and the betterment of their communities.

Sponsored by UNICEF and the World Council of Religions for Peace, the Pan-African Forum will be opened by President Wade of Senegal.

Media Opportunities:  The meeting is open to the media.

A press conference will be held at noon on Monday, 18 October with some of the key participants listed above.

One-on-one interviews with UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy, and other key players will be available.  Interviews with influential religious & traditional chiefs can also be arranged, including for overseas media. 

The conference and its diverse attendees offer striking photo and video opportunities. 

* * * *

For further information, please contact:

Alfred Ironside, UNICEF New York: 1-212-326-7261,
Heidi Larson, UNICEF New York: 1-212-326-7762,
Damien Personnaz, UNICEF Geneva:  41 22 909 5716,
Kent Page, UNICEF Dakar: 221-869-5876,
Pat Lone, UNICEF Nairobi: 254-20-622-214, 
Anis Salem, UNICEF Amman: 962-6-553-9977 (x 407)




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