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8 Million Europeans lend their voices in support of children in emergencies together with the EU and UNICEF

ROME Italy, 2 October 2014 –  ‘Voices of Children in Emergencies’, a joint campaign of the EU and UNICEF for children in emergencies was introduced to EU member states in Rome today during an informal meeting of the working group on humanitarian assistance of the EU Council. The ceremony was hosted by the Italian EU Presidency, taking place at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.

“To date, 8 million European citizens have shared the voices of these children through their own digital networks. The campaign has already reached over 143 million people through other media, which exceeds all our expectations” commented Mr. Philippe Cori, Director, UNICEF Brussels EU Office, who attended the ceremony.

Commenting on the EU perspective, Claus Sorensen, Director General of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) said: "The EU and UNICEF have become strategic global partners in providing humanitarian aid. Yet, in order to maintain this life-saving collaboration, we must invest in keeping the strong support we currently enjoy from the EU public. That is why I am thrilled by the outstanding success of this campaign".

The ceremony's host, Mr. Giampaolo Cantini, Director General for Development Cooperation, added: "The ‘Voices of Children’ should be the ‘voices of innocence’ and not the ‘voices of war’. The EU-UNICEF Campaign presents the atrocity of war, through the stories of boys and girls suffering all kind of brutality. We must protect them and stop the violence, which is threatening the future of an entire generation."

The ‘Voices of Children in Emergencies’ campaign gives children affected by natural disasters and conflict the opportunity to express themselves and to tell their stories to a global audience. Amplified through national celebrities and brought to the public across six dedicated websites, social networks and traditional media, the public could amplify the ‘voices of children’ by 'lending' their facebook profiles to one of the children of the campaign.

The campaign, launched on 15 May 2014, was implemented in partnership with UNICEF, the European Commission and six European UNICEF National Committees (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain) and their Goodwill Ambassadors.   

The special focus of the campaign rests on three children: Aya (from Syria), Michel (from the Philippines) and Chamsia (from Chad) where the EU and UNICEF partner in bringing much needed humanitarian relief. The main campaign videos start with the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, reciting part of the child’s story that she/he has been teamed up with.

European celebrities such as Ewan McGregor (United Kingdom), Gaia Amaral (Italy), Pau Gasol (Spain), Imanol Arias (Spain), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Evanna Lynch (Ireland), Boštjan Nachbar (Slovenia), and Pavlos Tsimas (Greece) have been actively involved in the campaign, promoting the children's stories. Citizens worldwide have been sharing those stories through their own social media networks, in support of those children’s brave struggles. 

Visit www.voicesofchildren.eu and lend your voice!

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing 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.

To know more about the EU-UNICEF Partnership for Children visit www.unicef.org/eu/ 

About the European Union
The European Commission funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts around the world. The Commission's assistance relies on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. The European Commission is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2013 alone, it provided almost €100 million for UNICEF projects to help children.

The EU has been working closely with UNICEF for over 20 years to extend immediate assistance to children and women affected by humanitarian crises. The strong partnership has benefitted millions in over 55 countries with nutrition, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene services, child protection in emergencies, cash transfers, education, disaster risk reduction, preparedness and resilience building.

For more information:
Dan Sobovitz, Tel.: +32 2 29 65 9 53 dan.sobovitz@ext.ec.europa.eu
European Commission's Humanitarian and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

Rebekka Opfermann, Tel.: +32 2 5050 106, ropfermann@unicef.org
UNICEF Brussels





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