David Beckham's match for children

David Beckham recently travelled to every continent on Earth to find out how grassroots football brings communities together, for a BBC documentary called For the Love of the Game.

UNICEF
David Beckham gives high-five to kids
UNICEF

14 February 2015

David Beckham recently travelled to every continent on Earth to find out how grassroots football brings communities together, for a BBC documentary called For the Love of the GameHis incredible journey took him from the dense forests of Papua New Guinea to the foothills of the Himalayas. Along the way he visited UNICEF programmes and met some of the children being supported by Unicef and David’s 7 Fund.

David meets a young boy suffering from malnutrition
UNICEF
David meets a young boy suffering from malnutrition.

In Papua New Guinea, David met children who were suffering from malnutrition, which is a major issue in the country. It’s the leading cause of death among children under five, with almost half not getting the nutritious food they need to grow up healthy and strong. The first 1,000 days — from conception to a child’s second birthday — is the most critical time in a child’s development; if they don’t get the right nutrients during this time, it can lead to stunting. Stunting causes irreversible physical and mental damage that can harm health, education and economic productivity for life.

David Beckham with community members in traditional dress in Papua New Guinea
UNICEF
David Beckham with community members in traditional dress in Papua New Guinea.

In Papua New Guinea, the underlying causes of child malnutrition are poverty, a diet lacking in the correct nutrients, and a lack of knowledge of good feeding practices and child nutrition. In the Western Highlands, the region that David visited, these factors have been made worse by a seven-month drought, which has caused crops to fail, resulting in smaller than usual harvests, food shortages and even higher levels of malnutrition in the region.

David Beckham with a little boy
UNICEF
UNICEF is working with David Beckham’s 7 Fund to make sure that children in Papua New Guinea are kept safe from malnutrition.

With the help of the 7 Fund, UNICEF is supporting communities to recognize and treat malnutrition. We’re working to ensure that parents understand the importance of good nutrition, and supporting the treatment and recovery of children suffering from malnutrition by providing fortified milk and sachets of nutritious peanut paste.