We support UNICEF’s child protection work in Zambia

We are proud to announce our commitment to supporting UNICEF’s Child Protection programme in Zambia with 300,000 euros during the next three years.

“Our support is not a donation. It is an investment in the future of humanity,” says Maria Bondestam, our Chairman of the Board.

Our Foundation has supported UNICEF’s work for the children of the world already since 2011. Previously, we funded programmes in the areas where the Ahlström family-owned companies had their business operations. So far, the family business has not been engaged in any operations in Africa.

Why has attention been turned to the African continent now?

“The continent needs a huge investment in children. Otherwise there is a risk of falling into a cycle of poverty and inequality which, in addition to human suffering, will also cause instability, more refugees and migration,” says Maria Bondestam from the Eva Ahlström Foundation.

The population of Zambia is increasing rapidly, and the country is in need of considerable efforts in order to decrease poverty and inequality in spite of the population growth. The target is also to curb the population growth.

The new Agreement will allow the Eva Ahlström to become the first Finnish foundation to join the UNICEF International Council. Members of the Council receive first-hand information on the situation of the children in the world, are able to engage in discussions and make a difference along with UNICEF’s other significant cooperation partners.

“Due to our long-term cooperation, we know that the Eva Ahlström Foundation is a strong advocate for the work of UNICEF. We are also happy that the Foundation’s support is aimed at child protection – the area of UNICEF’s work, for which it is difficult to raise funds,” says Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director of UNICEF Finland.

Solutions for the root causes

UNICEF’s Child Protection programme in Zambia aims to increase registration of children at birth, and to reduce child marriages and sexual violence against girls.

The programme is also targeted at improvement of the way in which children are handled in the legal system and treated in various institutions and at homes.

“By investing in child protection, we are involved in promoting the wellbeing of children and their ability to go to school, as well as breaking the vicious cycle of poverty,” Bondestam continues.

She believes that this will also affect the root causes behind the violation of children’s rights to protection, for example, migration and social instability.

“When children get education and have possibilities in their life, later on, they will have no need to grab onto the promises of extremist groups or human traffickers.

“If you want to have an impact, invest in UNICEF’s work!”

Previously, the Eva Ahlström Foundation provided support for UNICEF’s water and sanitation projects in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in India. Both pilot projects in India were a success, as the states applied the knowledge gained during the implementation of the projects extensively throughout the entire state.

The Foundation has also granted support for emergency aid provided by UNICEF. In 2015, the Foundation made a significant donation to support children affected by refugee crises. In 2017, it made donations for the benefit of Syrian children, and encouraged its stakeholders to do the same.

In addition, in 2016, the Foundation of August Ludvig Hartwall sr., the Eva Ahlström Foundation and the Paulig family committed themselves to supporting UNICEF’s work in Vietnam. The funds have been used for a program to support education for children with disabilities. The three-year program lasts until February 2019.

After six years of cooperation, Maria Bondestam says that she is convinced by UNICEF’s good work.

“Due to the United Nations’ mandate, UNICEF has the right to influence governments. If you want to have an impact, invest in UNICEF’s work!

It’s not a donation but an investment in the future of humanity.”

The term ‘donation’ is not preferred at the Eva Ahlström Foundation. Instead, they talk about making investments.

“This is investing in the future of humanity. It promotes the implementation of human rights. At the same time, it promotes business operations, as a more stable world is a better place to make business.