Nwankwo Kanu re-appointed UNICEF Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador
Lagos, June 12 2007 - Nigerian soccer star Nwankwo Kanu today accepted to continue to advocate for Nigerian children as UNICEF renewed his appointment as UNICEF Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador for another two years at a ceremony in Planet One Entertainment, Lagos.
Two years ago Kanu joined the prestigious league of UNICEF Goodwill ambassadors who speak and advocate for children across the world. The appointment is renewable every two years after a review of the Ambassador’s tenure and his availability to continue to work for children.
In the last two years, as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, Nwankwo Kanu has used his fame, resources and personal capacity to promote the cause of children and get the attention of all sectors of society on the need to create a protective environment for children. These past two years, Nwankwo Kanu has been involved in the Children and AIDS campaign, visiting a UNICEF-supported project for orphans and vulnerable children in Enugu and helping to raise funds with private Sector companies during a special corporate football tournament. He joined other celebrities worldwide in a campaign video message that heralded the launch of the Children and AIDS campaign in New York. He also made a public call for children affected by HIV-AIDS at Abuja National Stadium just minutes before the Super Eagles played the World Cup qualifying match against Zimbabwe in October 2005. In June 2006, he joined over 600 children from 52 primary schools Child Rights Clubs to celebrate the Day of the African Child in Lagos.
“In the last ten years I have been working to help children with heart problems through the Kanu Heart Foundation, but my involvement with children in the last two years as a Goodwill Ambassador exposed me to the dire circumstances children face every day in Nigeria. A lot of work needs to be done in the areas of child survival, children infected and affected by AIDS, street children, child trafficking and girls’ education. This is why I am committing myself to continue working as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador”, Kanu said.
UNICEF Country Representative, Ayalew Abai, while reviewing Kanu’s two year tenure as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador said, “I have worked with Kanu closely these past two years. I was with him at an advocacy visit to a Child Friendly school as well as at a fundraising event for the Children and AIDS campaign during which I saw firsthand his passion for children and desire to do something to help. If we find this passion at all levels of our society, Nigerian children will be in a better situation than they are now.”
Nwankwo Kanu plays active football in the English Premier league, and has won the African Footballer of the Year award twice in 1996 and 1999. He holds two national honours, Officer of the Order of the Niger, (OON) and Member of the Order of the Niger, (MON). Before joining his current club, Portsmouth, Kanu has played for Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan, Arsenal and West Brom. He is the captain of the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles.
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