August 1, 2015 marks the 44th anniversary of George Harrison’s groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh, as well as 10 years since former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan approached the Harrison family and created the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF to formalize UNICEF’s longstanding relationship with the Harrisons. In the tradition established by George and Ravi Shankar, the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF has supported programs in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Angola, Romania, the Horn of Africa and Burma. This year, the Fund brought critical aid to victims of the earthquake in Nepal and invested in a groundbreaking new movement powered by kids called UNICEF Kid Power.
Built for a new generation of global citizens, Kid Power uses the world’s first wearable-for-good to get kids moving by tapping into their inherent desire to help their peers. By joining Kid Power and getting more active, kids take action to fight global malnutrition with every move.
To participate, kids wear Kid Power Bands, which measure their movement and unlock Kid Power Points. The more active they are, the more points they earn. Kid Power Points are then converted into funding by partners, which UNICEF deploys to deliver lifesaving packets of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to severely malnourished children. The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is the founding partner of UNICEF Kid Power and its generous support has allowed the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to pursue this 21st century approach to global citizenship.
Following a seed investment by the George Harrison Fund and a successful city-wide pilot in Sacramento, California, in October, 2014, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF launched Kid Power in New York, Boston and Dallas in March 2015. As of today more than 12,000 American 3rd, 4th and 5th graders have joined the Kid Power movement. They have earned enough “Kid Power Points” to feed and save the lives of more than 1,260 kids in some of the world’s poorest countries.
In addition, Disney and Lucasfilm team up to launch Star Wars Force for Change and the second phase of this campaign focuses on mobilizing Star Wars fans to raise money for Kid Power. None of this would have been possible without this visionary investment by the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
There are plans to expand UNICEF Kid Power to 100,000 American students in 10 cities starting in March 2016. The hope is to eventually get 1,000,000 American kids moving to help save the lives of 1,000,000 kids worldwide.
On April 25, 2015, a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, the country’s deadliest in more than 80 years. Just a few weeks later on May 12, a second earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck. More than 8,800 people died, nearly a third of them children. Another 22,309 people were injured and more than 450,000 people were displaced.
The morning of the quake, both UNICEF and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF responded immediately. The Fund released $500,000 to UNICEF to provide life-saving aid to the more than 1.1 million children who were affected by the events.
This aid provided hundreds of thousands of people with clean water, sanitation facilities and hygiene kits within the first 48 hours. UNICEF set up over 182 Child-Friendly Spaces and 610 Temporary Learning Centers, where children could play and learn while their parents set about rebuilding their homes and lives.
It is a long road ahead for many in Nepal, but UNICEF, with the support of donors like the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, will be there as the people of Nepal work to build back better and stronger. UNICEF thanks the Harrison Family and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF for their faith and action and their ongoing efforts to protect the health, safety and well-being of Nepal’s most vulnerable children and families.