Unicoin - The first currency dedicated to good launched today
TORONTO, June 11, 2015 - Today, the H&M Conscious Foundation in support of UNICEF presents a new currency to the world - the Unicoin. The initiative aims to enable children to support the right for other children around the world to access learning opportunities from an early age. The only way to get hold of a Unicoin is to exchange a child’s drawing at unicoins.org. And the only way to spend it is on educational supplies.
Scientific evidence on brain development shows that the early years of a child’s life - from birth to age 8 years of age - are critical to its ability to learn. Recent advances in neuroscience have improved our understanding of how the brain develops in the first years of life, and a growing body of research has made it increasingly clear that programs that intervene early, especially for the most disadvantaged children, lead to better outcomes for children, their parents and society at large. Still, more than 200 million children under the age of 5 in developing countries are[i] failing to reach their full potential in cognitive development because of poverty, poor health and nutrition, and deficient care.
With this new innovative activity the H&M Conscious Foundation supports UNICEF in raising awareness about the importance of Early Childhood Development and at the same time provides an opportunity for people to contribute.
Together with their parents, children can upload a drawing on unicoins.org, showing what they dream of becoming when they grow up. Then they exchange it for a Unicoin, to support every child’s right to early childhood development, care and pre-primary education. The H&M Conscious Foundation matches each Unicoin with one notebook and pencil. The material is being distributed to children around the world by UNICEF.
“No matter where you live, all children have one thing in common - the ability to dream. By sharing children’s drawings, we can help more children to reach their full learning potential and build a better future for themselves,” says Charlotte Brunnström, Program Manager for Education at the H&M Conscious Foundation.
The Unicoin campaign is part of the Global Program for Education – a collaboration between H&M Conscious Foundation and UNICEF, initiated in 2014. In February 2014, the H&M Conscious Foundation announced a grant to UNICEF of 9,3 million US Dollars over a three year period. This grant enables UNICEF to reach 73 600 children with Early Childhood Development programs as well as influence governments to place Early Childhood Development on the national agenda and commit budgetary resources to address these issues. Few donors or governments prioritize funding for Early Childhood Development, which is why the H&M Conscious Foundation wants to contribute to filling that gap by supporting UNICEF.
"1 out of 3 children in the developing world don’t achieve their full potential before entering primary school due to causes linked to poverty, lack of access to learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition. But together we can change this by providing the most disadvantaged children with access to early childhood care and education. At UNICEF and H&M Conscious Foundation we believe that it is possible to give every child the best possible start in life. Help us spread the word by joining the Unicoin campaign today,” says Pia R. Britto, Senior Advisor, Chief Early Childhood Development Section, UNICEF Headquarters.
Infographics and images, information about the Unicoin, how to exchange a drawing, and Early Childhood Development can be found at www.unicoins.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
- On unicoins.org you can share your drawing on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. You can also upload it on Instagram and hashtag it #Unicoin. The website is open June 11 – June 24.
- Short facts on Early Childhood Development (Source: UNICEF)
- Early childhood spans the period up to 8 years of age.
- Unsafe conditions and lack of educational opportunities during these early years can lead to irreversible outcomes, which can affect a child’s potential for the remainder of his or her life.
- Investing in Early Childhood Development is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve educational achievement.
- Fifty-eight million children around the world still remain out of school.
- While pre-primary school enrollment has grown by more than 60 percent since 1999, half of the world’s children under the age of 5 are still without access.
- Only 17 percent of children in low-income countries have early education access.
- The goals for the H&M Conscious Foundation´s and UNICEF’s Global Program for Education by 2017:
- 73,600 vulnerable children in 6 countries around the world will benefit from Early Childhood Development programs.
- Three governments will have included Early Childhood Development, in their National Development Agendas, and made sure these are supported by national budgetary resources.
- The first-ever Global Report on Early Childhood Development will be released. The report will be highlighting key early development indicators and help shift global perceptions of the importance of Early Childhood Development.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
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
[i] Grantham-McGregor S, Cheung Y, Cueto S, Glewwe P, Richter L, Strupp B. Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet 2007; 369: 60–70