UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow visits Guinea to highlight plight of children
Conakry, GUINEA 4 May 2010 – Internationally acclaimed actress, humanitarian and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is traveling to Guinea this Wednesday ahead of scheduled elections next month to witness how children have been among the most seriously affected by political and economic turmoil in the country.
The repeated shocks since 2006 have weakened basic social services, making children in the country even more vulnerable. "The resurgence of deadly childhood diseases and the rise in the number of school drop outs are storm warnings", said UNICEF Representative in Guinea, Julien Harneis. "The future for children in this country will be even worse if there is not more investment, and bigger efforts to respond to their needs."
During her five-day mission to Guinea, which will take her to the capital city Conakry and Nzerekore, Kissidougou and Koyoma in Forest Guinea, Farrow will visit a number of health facilities to highlight the need for sustained investment in maternal and child health. She will also deliver new medicine kits to the Ministry of Health as part of efforts to ensure that essential drugs are available at primary health care centres.
Ahead of the pending Presidential elections Ms. Farrow, who focuses on children impacted by conflict, will also meet youth groups and launch the Peace Building Fund, a broader UN initiative supported by UNICEF and the NGO ‘Search for Common Ground’. The project aims to encourage young people to find peaceful ways to resolve conflicts and lessen the risk of them being caught up in violence. Too many people in Guinea have experienced violence at first hand, and it is intended that the visit will also include meetings with women who have experienced sexual and domestic violence.
Another focus of Farrow’s visit will be education. She will witness how the lack of investment in the past years has led to overcrowding in class rooms and will see some of the solutions available to ensure active learning.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.