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UNICEF launches groundbreaking initiative to make Canada the best country for kids

2017-11-20

TORONTO, 20 November 2017- Today, National Child Day, UNICEF Canada officially launches One Youth, an initiative to make Canada the best country in the world to grow up in by 2030. Millions of children and youth across Canada are falling through the cracks and not reaching their full potential. UNICEF Report Card 14 revealed that Canada’s children rank 29th out of 41 rich countries in terms of overall well-being. No generation should have to settle rather than to dream. With One Youth, UNICEF Canada will work with children and partners to measure the well-being of Canada’s children and youth, design with children the kinds of solutions that can create change and influence decision makers to implement these ideas.

“National Child Day is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the concerns of Canada’s children, to help advance their rights and well-being and to champion children’s meaningful participation in society. Most importantly, it is a chance to listen, and have children’s voices be truly heard, and that’s what One Youth is all about,” said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “Together, we’re going to collect the data, develop the tools and amplify the voices – the very loud voices – we need to improve kids’ well-being in Canada.”

On November 20, also World Children’s Day, children across the world will take over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to speak out on the issues that matter most to them, help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help shape their own future. This will be a day by children, for children, in a global takeover event stewarded by UNICEF globally, and to mark the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“We are the youngest generation, and the decisions adults are making are affecting us for better and worse,” said Yasmin, a 16-year-old girl who is taking over the role of UNICEF Canada President and CEO for the day. “We want to be part of the discussion, and part of the solutions. That's why we should get involved with Kids Takeover Day, it's a day that allows us to be heard.” Her first official duty as President and CEO will be to launch One Youth.

In over 130 countries, children will be joining key personalities and demanding a better future for every child. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will support World Children’s Day, and in New York, Basel Alrashdan, an 11-year-old Syrian refugee who resettled with his family in Prince Edward Island last year, will speak at the United Nations.

“We invite Canadians to join us in making the most of National Child Day,” said Morley. “Canadians from across the country are also invited to join One Youth. To add to the conversation and contribute to making Canada the best country to grow up in by 2030. Working together, Canadians can focus the country’s attention on the power, imagination and rights of children.”

About UNICEF

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.

For further information:

Marie-Hélène Bachand, Communications Manager, 416 482-6552 x8425 / 514-232-4510, mbachand@unicef.ca

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