This week, while all eyes are on New York City where world leaders are meeting for the General Assembly of the United Nations, another exciting event is taking place: UNICEF Canada and the women of The 25th Team are also gathered in New York to discuss global issues.
The 25th Team is a group of 60 influential Canadian women who have joined together to save the lives of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. They have committed to invest $6 million over four years in projects in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Peru and Namibia. In Indonesia alone, the program's nutrition initiatives will benefit 50,000 adolescent girls.
Above and beyond money, though, what these women give so generously is their time and energy, and they are proving it once again this week in New York. Their meeting is an opportunity to discuss the key global challenges facing the health of women and children. It is also a time to check in with UNICEF workers on the progress to realize the rights of girls and boys; to learn more about Canada's priorities for supporting communities and countries around the world from Peter Boehm, Deputy Minister for International Development; see Prime Minister Trudeau address the United Nations General Assembly and to discuss with Canadian Stephen Lewis, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the critical need to support the empowerment of women and girls.
Much has been done to improve the lives of girls and boys. In 2015 alone, UNICEF provided 2.8 billion vaccines reaching 45% of the world's children. Our organization treated more than 3 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Unfortunately, more still needs to be done. Last year, nearly 2.7 million infants died within the first 30 days of their all-too-short lives. Fifty-nine million children do not attend primary school. A thousand children die every day because of inadequate access to safe drinking water and poor hygiene conditions.
These numbers may seem grim, but the women of The 25th Team are undeterred. They know women and girls are the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Giving women and girls the tools to succeed has a ripple effect that extends to their families, their communities and the world. This idea is at the heart of The 25th Team's actions.
The 25th Team is a powerful example of Canadian women directly involved in saving the lives of women and children around the world.