A boost for maternal health programs in Asia, Africa

A mother and her baby in Malawi. Unilever will contribute €15 million to a maternal and child health campaign by Save the Children. Lindsay Mgbor / Department for International Development / CC BY

Multinational consumer goods firm Unilever is contributing €15 million ($19.7 million) to a maternal and child health campaign spearheaded by international nongovernmental organization Save the Children.

The donation will be staggered over three years for Save the Children programs in China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Kenya under the “Every One” campaign. The campaign is a global initiative led by Save the Children U.K. in support of the fourth and fifth U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Save the Children USA has a similar campaign dubbed “Every Beat Matters.”

The Unilever donation will fund program operations, consumer outreach, cause-related marketing and employee engagement. For instance, some €1.8 million will go toward Save the Children programs in China focusing on promoting children’s health, nutrition and childhood development. The Village Early Education Center project in Sichuan is among expected beneficiaries.

The rest of the money will be spent on maternal health programs and health worker training initiatives in Jigawa and Lagos, Nigeria, and child nutrition programs and health worker training in Bangladesh’s Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet districts. In Kenya, focus programs of the partnership include awareness campaigns to provide more information and mobilize support for efforts to reduce child deaths from preventable causes.

This partnership between Unilever and Save the Children is on trend with the international development community’s growing engagement with the private sector. Unilever, for one, has existing partnerships with other major players in the community — such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and Oxfam International, which has recently explained it approaches such partnerships with private firms on a “case-to-case” basis.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.