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I am writing to this board to present this school with the opportunity to affect great change in the lives of thousands of children in many countries. I have found my inspiration from The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, the United Nations and UNICEF’s goals for global health. These shared goals are labeled using differing names, but at their core are all of one purpose; improve global health. According to The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, Goal one is to “Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty (The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, 2011).” This goal has three parts, and we can directly impact part three, which is “By 2015, reduce by half (compared to 1990) the proportion of people who suffer from hunger (The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, 2011).”
It has often been heard “You need to finish what is on your plate. There are kids starving in Africa.” This is only partially true and does not really affect the change that I think it should. Students can sit at their lunch tables every school day and eat their fill, even going back for seconds and throw away unwanted food. They enjoy the benefits of proper clothing, proper immunizations, clean and plentiful drinking water, more than adequate sanitation, and the list goes on. Let me share with you that in stark contrast to this; “Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5 (UNICEF Millennium Development Goals, n.d.).” And that “between 1995/97 and 2000/02, the number of undernourished people in the developing countries increased by 18 million (Pingali, Stamoulis, & Stringer, Janu).”
Starvation affects children most. It directly impacts their environment in ways that threaten their physical development, their mental growth and their emotional state of being. This causes a domino effect that will ultimately affect their survival, education, participation and protection from harm and exploitation. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy reports that “in Angola, almost 3 in 10 children die before they reach the age of five (Geldof & Ironside, Dece).” One statistic the UN has published is that “in 2005, 1.4 billion people lived on US$1.25 or less a day. 10 million die every year of hunger and hunger-related diseases. Rising food prices may push 100 million people deeper into poverty (United Nations, 2007).” These statistics are only a miniscule portion of the great need. More than “1 billion children are severely deprived of at least one of the essential goods and services they require to survive, grow and develop (UNICEF Millennium Development Goals, n.d.).”
By coming together as a group to make a change, we can eliminate the deprivation that has catastrophic effect on other areas of these children’s lives. The first few years of a child’s life are vital to their “ability to achieve their full potential, contributing to a society’s cycle of endless poverty and hunger (UNICEF Millennium Development Goals, n.d.).” UNICEF incorporates many areas of health to impact children. Along with an impact on their nutritional needs, they provide child immunizations and vaccinations, provide families with clean drinking water and sanitation, help protect children against malaria, participate in the fight against AIDS, work to protect children from abuse, aiming to stop child exploitation and trafficking, and strive to provide access to a quality education for all children (UNICEF United States Fund, Marc). According to the United Nations “Revitalizing efforts against pneumonia and diarrhea, while bolstering nutrition, could save millions of children (United Nations, n.d.).” UNICEF maintains that healthy children become healthy adults.
These adults are the people who create better lives for themselves, their communities and their countries. Working to improve child survival rates is how they promote this change (UNICEF Millennium Development Goals, n.d.). Helping the world’s children survive and flourish is a core UNICEF activity, and immunization is central to that. A global leader in vaccine supply, UNICEF purchases and helps distribute vaccines to over 40 per cent of children in developing countries. Immunization programs usually include other cost-effective health initiatives, like micronutrient supplementation to fight disabling malnutrition and insecticide-treated bed nets to fight malaria.
Although the childhood death rates are decreasing they are not decreasing fast enough to reach the 2015 goal. The childhood death rates have more than halved since 1990 in Northern Africa, Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, but the countries with high mortality rates such as sub-Saharan Africa have made no progress in recent years. The under-five mortality rate has declined by 22 percent since 1990, but the high fertility rates and the slow pace of reducing deaths mean the number of children who have died has actually increased from 4 million to 4.4 million in 2008. One fifth of the world’s children under five live in Africa and they account for half of their death rate of 8.8 million (United Nations, n.d.). I propose that we work together with the parents, staff and community contributors to implement a pizza day on Fridays and a pancake breakfast monthly on Sunday morning. Each Friday there could be someone from the PTA responsible to pick up pizza from a pizzeria locally and bring it to the school for lunch time.
Then, in addition to this, each month on a Sunday, there would be a pancake breakfast hosted by the PTA. The proceeds could be donated to the UNICEF’s Believe in Zero project. This monthly donation will impact children all over the world and help continue the impact that UNICEF has already begun. They report that “over the last 50 years, UNICEF and its partners have helped reduce the worldwide child mortality rate by more than 1/2 (UNICEF United States Fund, 2011).” We could seek suppliers in the area that are interested in donating or discounting their goods to help in this effort and therefore decrease our cost on increase donations. Also, we can work with local contributors that we already know have an interest in the goals of this school and inform them of the additional impact they can make by increasing their giving. In conclusion, I know that we can impact thousands of lives by working together with the PTA, community businesses, parents and those that already have proven their commitment to this school with the contributions of time and money. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Geldof, L., & Ironside, A. (December 2000). UNICEF launches appeal for at-risk children. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/newsline/00pr71.htm Pingali, P., Stamoulis, K., & Stringer, R. (January 2006). Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger:. Retrieved from ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/af839e/af839e00.pdf The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. (2011). The Honor Society of
Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International : Global Action : STTI and the UN. Retrieved from http://www.nursingsociety.org/GlobalAction/UnitedNations/Pages/STTIandtheUN.aspx UNICEF Mellenium Development Goals. (n.d.). Goal: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Retrieved from http://http://www.unicef.org/mdg/poverty.html UNICEF United States Fund. (2011). Achieving Zero. Retrieved from http://www.unicefusa.org/campaigns/believe-in-zero/ UNICEF United States Fund. (March 2011). UNICEF’s Work. Retrieved from http://www.unicefusa.org/work/ United Nations. (2007). Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger. Retrieved from http://www.mdgmonitor.org/goal1.cfm United Nations. (n.d.). We can end poverty 2015. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtm