Wednesday, July 23, 2008

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Visits Kenya


After a recent visit to Somalia on behalf of UNICEF, Clay Aiken visited camps for internally displaced people in Kenya. There he saw first hand the destruction that resulted from recent civil unrest.

Clay writes in his UNICEF Field Notes...

"Every child has the right to an education. Education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty that so many children are caught in. And an educated child will make sure his or her own children receive an education too. This is just another one of the many amazing ways UNICEF is helping children today, while also building a safer Kenya tomorrow."


Read more here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unicef fieldnotes: Somalia, Where is the Outrage?



Clay Aiken recently returned from Somalia where he visited the troubled East African nation in his role as a celebrity ambassador, particularly committed to supporting UNICEF's education programs.



In UNICEF fieldnotes, Clay writes first hand about his experiences in the field.

"I recently returned from a UNICEF field visit that took me to northwest Somalia. What I saw there was both amazing and heartbreaking. In many ways, the children I was able to meet are doing better than their counterparts in the rest of Somalia. But in other respects, the situation there is still quite serious.

For starters, the lack of a permanent central government has contributed to Somalia's status as one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world. Decades of civil conflict have shattered social structures and exacerbated poverty.

In such conditions—combined with an extremely arid environment and difficult terrain with settlements scattered over vast distances—a Somali child's chances of surviving to adulthood are among the lowest of children anywhere in the world.

Fortunately, UNICEF is there. It has been on the ground since 1972 and is the humanitarian organization with the largest presence in Somalia.

Since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, UNICEF has continued to provide services to children and women in Somalia.

In Hargeisa, I visited UNICEF-supported schools and hospitals, as well as places girls are able to learn about leadership, get life-skills and play sports. I also visited UNICEF-supported maternal and child health clinics to observe some nutritional feeding and immunization activities. The good news is that these programs are working in the northwest and keeping children alive. The bad news is that one in eight children still dies before his or her fifth birthday in Somalia.

One of the most incredible things I learned on my trip is that there are only 350 doctors left in the entire country, mostly because of the violence and insecurity. And many of these doctors are older than the average life expectancy in Somalia, which is only 45. I can't help but wonder, what is going to happen in a couple of years when there are no more doctors? What will happen to the children who struggle to survive?

What disturbs me most about this terrible situation for children is that most of the world has ignored it. Millions of children live in fear and poverty—where is the outrage?

At least we know something can be done. Help UNICEF save and improve the lives of children in Somalia. Donate online, right now."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Survival Project - UNICEF

On Sunday July 6 CNN aired a program called "The Survival Project: One Child At A Time". This program profiled the efforts of Unicef in various parts of the world to better the lives of children. Here is a montage I found on Youtube set to Clay Aikens' "Grace of God". Thank you to gerwhisp for a job well done.



Clay Aiken Appeals to the World to Not Forget Somalia