Partners to improve the lives of women and children
Zonta International’s partnership with UNICEF USA began nearly 50 years ago with six mobile medical units in Ghana. It was one of Zonta’s earliest international service projects and the first time Zonta and the UNICEF USA came together to help women and children in need.
Recognizing even then the lack of basic facilities in the rural areas of developing countries, Zonta International worked with the UNICEF USA to establish six mobile pediatric medical units to serve the health needs of mothers and children in remote areas of Ghana from 1972 to 1974. The units were staffed by physicians, nurses and other paramedic personnel and visited six villages a week, providing pre- and post-natal care, information on nutrition and family planning, and treatment of diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, trachoma and leprosy.
Zonta International’s support for UNICEF USA and its efforts to improve the lives of mothers and children globally has only continued to grow since that first project in Ghana. To date, Zonta International has provided nearly US$9 million to UNICEF USA to support projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Columbia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Partnering to educate and empower girls in Madagascar
In 2016, Zonta International began supporting UNICEF’s Let Us Learn program in Madagascar, which creates opportunities for vulnerable and excluded girls to realize their rights to an education in a secure and protective environment. From 2016 to 2018, about 400 girls who had dropped out of school participated in catch-up classes and 573 students benefited from literacy classes. More than 13,000 girls benefited from pedagogical kits and materials and 615 teachers received training. Zonta International is continuing to support the Let Us Learn Madagascar program from 2018 to 2020 and expects to reach more than 20,000 additional girls by 2020.
Ending child marriage
Zonta International expanded its partnership with UNICEF USA in 2018 to support the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, which brings together governments, civil society, families and young people in a collective effort to prevent girls from marrying too young and to support those already married as girls. Operating in 12 countries, the program is turning commitment into tangible action to effect meaningful and lasting change in girls’ lives. Zonta International is helping fund the initial phase, which has the potential to reach 2.5 million girls by the end of 2019.