UNICEF “Water for Life” Gala celebrates 25 years of raising life-saving funds to provide clean water for children | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content
Publication Date: 2017/10/05

CALGARY, October 5, 2017 – On October 14, Calgary will celebrate a 25-year tradition of supporting UNICEF’s life-saving work for children and families around the world through its annual UNICEF “Water for Life” Gala. This year’s event will feature:

  • An exquisite four-course dinner created especially for the event by Hyatt Regency Calgary’s Executive Chef David Flegel.
  • An inspiring keynote speech by UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone who is now a celebrated author and child rights advocate.
  • More than 160 exceptional auction items including exciting and unique experiences, vacations and works of art donated by generous individuals and businesses in support of UNICEF.

“Clean water is something many of us in Canada might take for granted. However, 2.1 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water at home - that’s three out of every 10 people on the planet,” said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “Children are the most vulnerable among them. Clean water is critical to their health – and to the health of their communities.”

Each year, 361,000 children under five years of age die due to diarrhea. Poor sanitation and contaminated water are also linked to the spread of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

UNICEF provides water, sanitation and hygiene support to 100 million people over last three years

In the last three years, more than 100 million people gained access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services thanks to UNICEF. More than half of these were in emergency contexts, including places like Iraq, Nigeria and Syria. Last year, UNICEF’s support to provide clean water in humanitarian crises was its largest ever, reaching almost 30 million people.

“Access to clean water is a fundamental right. More than that, it’s a basic building block that children need to grow up strong and healthy,” said Morley. “Calgary consistently delivers for kids around the world through the ‘Water for Life Gala’. The true spirit of Calgarians is clear in their dedication and support as we work to reach vulnerable children around the world, and provide safe water for every child.”

Nearly 70,000 people benefitted from 2016 UNICEF Gala

Now in its 25th year, the UNICEF “Water for Life” Gala and Calgarians have together raised more than $12 million to support vulnerable children around the world. Last year’s Gala raised $919,000, which supported the construction of boreholes, water pumps and latrine blocks in schools and health centres in remote villages across Chad, and helped create community-based Water Safety Plans to ensure the ongoing supply of safe drinking water in rural parts of Mongolia.

This year’s goal is to raise $1,000,000 to continue UNICEF’s life-saving support.

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UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our life-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For further information:

Emily O’Connor Communications Manager EOconnor@unicef.ca 416 482-6552 x8866 / 647-500-4230
Marie-Claude Rouillard Communications Manager MRouillard@unicef.ca (514) 288-5134 ext 8425 / 514-232-4510