The International Cricket Council (ICC) and UNICEF announced Wednesday a five-year partnership to advocate on behalf of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
Every year 5.9 million children die before their fifth birthday from mostly preventable causes; over half a billion children live in extreme poverty; and 59 million primary school-aged children do not go to school.
The partnership aims to raise awareness of these challenges and encourage cricket fans to speak out for the children whose lives are these statistics.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was the most watched event in the history of Indian television, drawing over 635 million viewers. The partnership will use the ICC’s platform to advocate for children in India and other countries where cricket is a popular sport.
An initial focus will be to improve sanitation in India, which has the largest number of people still defecating in the open: more than 595 million.
Poor sanitation can cause diarrhoea, which accounts for 9 per cent of the 1.2 million under-five deaths each year in India. The partnership will also engage with children and young people to inspire them to take up sport.
ICC chief executive, David Richardson said “Investing in initiatives that will improve the health, education, nutrition, protection and sanitation of children is so important to the lives of us all and we are proud to work with UNICEF in bringing these projects to life. ICC and UNICEF together will engage the broader cricketing community in work to empower children and adolescents and will, in particular, during the many ICC Events over the next five years, develop and implement various community outreach programs and initiatives in collaboration with coaches, cricketers and cricketing personalities.”
“Our new partnership will brighten a spotlight on the challenges children face, like hunger, poor sanitation and lack of education, and help transform awareness into action,” said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake. “We are harnessing the power and reach of one of the world’s most popular sports behind the most important cause of all: the lives and futures of children.”
In the picture above: On 21 October 2015 at UNICEF House, (left-right) International Cricket Board Chief Executive David Richardson and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake speak during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a global cricket partnership.
Photo courtesy: UNICEF