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Press release

45,000 children reached with early childhood development support through UNICEF/H&M Conscious Foundation partnership

© UNICEF/PFPG2014-1241/ Park

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 26 October 2015 – More than 45,000 children have benefited from early childhood development (ECD) and education programmes during the first year of the UNICEF/H&M Conscious Foundation partnership.

The partnership supports community-based early childhood development programmes, educational media, integrated early stimulation and nutrition programmes, and other early learning opportunities for children up to six years old in Benin, Lao PDR, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, and Timor Leste. Parenting courses are available to 600 caregivers in Mali on the importance of psychosocial stimulation, and educational television programmes are broadcast on national TV reaching tens of thousands of households in Lao PDR

“We know that during the first few years of a child’s life their brain grows at a rapid rate determining their cognitive, emotional and social development, their capacity to learn and their future success,” said Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF’s Chief of Early Childhood Development. “The support provided by the H&M Conscious Foundation is providing tens of thousands of children with positive, safe and healthy environments during these critical formative years.”

In addition to services for children and families, the H&M Conscious Foundation is supporting UNICEF’s work influencing governments to put ECD on their national agendas and commit financial resources into services that support their youngest citizens. New evidence and data is being gathered for the first ever Global Report on Early Childhood Development. The report will be released next year and used as a tool for decision makers to promote children´s rights

“The case for investing in early childhood development is clear. It has a multiplier effect with benefits not only for later health, learning, and well-being of the child, but can break the cycle of poverty, creating more productive, peaceful and equal societies. ,” said Charlotte Brunnström, Program Manager for Education at the H&M Conscious Foundation. ”We look forward to working with UNICEF to reach even more boys and girls with  early development and learning opportunities as every child deserves a fair start in life.”
More than 200 million children under the age of five in low and middle income countries fail to reach their potential in cognitive development because of poverty, poor health and nutrition and a lack of stimulation and care during their earliest years. The implications go well beyond individual children to families and society as a whole.

UNICEF and the H&M Conscious Foundation launched their partnership last year with the aim of reaching nearly 75,000 children in six countries with critical ECD programmes over the course of three years.

With decades of experience working to improve the lives of the world’s youngest children, UNICEF has supported governments in approximately 50 countries to establish robust ECD policies and place early childhood development at the core of their national agendas.


About H&M Conscious Foundation
The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation, initiated by H&M. The mission of the Foundation is to create long lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in communities, people and innovative ideas. Through partnerships with prominent organizations around the globe, the Foundation drives change within three focus areas, as chosen by H&M employees and customers: Education, Clean Water and Strengthening Women. To further improve living conditions the Foundation supports innovative ideas that contribute to safeguarding the earth’s natural resources, and it can also provide emergency relief in countries where H&M operates. Today, the Foundation is funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and the main owners of H&M. For further information, visit hm.com/consciousfoundation

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. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org 

Learn more about UNICEF and the H&M Conscious Foundation partnership.

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For further information please contact:
Ingeborg Ekblom, Press, Swedish National Committee for UNICEF ingeborg.ekblom@unicef.se
Melanie Sharpe, UNICEF New York, +1917-251-7670 msharpe@unicef.org
Malin Björne, Communications Responsible at H&M Conscious Foundation +46 (0)70 796 39 75 malin.bjorne@hm.com





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