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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

IKEA & UNICEF Partner to Give 74 Million Indian Children Better Lives

The partnership between IKEA and UNICEF has worked towards providing a better live for over 74 million children in India. The partnership was launched with a campaign in the state of Uttar Pradesh to promote children's welfare. This was expanded to include the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2006, especially targeting the cotton industry to end child labour. According to CSRwire, in 2008, the partnership expanded to fifteen states with the aim to promote child rights, survival, growth and development. It is estimated that more than 28 million children are engaged in child labour and an estimated 4,700 children under the age of five die every day.
The CEO of the IKEA Foundation has said, “By working together for the past 10 years, and contributing more than €100 million ($125 million US*) to UNICEF projects in India so far, we have created opportunities for more than 74 million children. By thinking long-term and teaming up with UNICEF, we’re giving hope to many millions of families.”
This month is the ten year anniversary of the partnership. The philanthropic arm of IKEA, the IKEA Foundation is the largest corporate cash donor to the 65-year-old United Nations humanitarian program. UNICEF has said that the partnership with IKEA has made a big difference to their projects in India by providing children with better sanitation, education and protection from illegal labour. In the past ten years, these are some highlights of the partnership:
  • 370,000 children screened for malnourishment, and 56,500 children treated.
  • 2.14 million women were  taught the benefits of breastfeeding their children.
  • 32 million homes now have  toilets, and 67 percent of schools have access to toilets, improved  drinking water and hand washing facilities.
  • Children in 13,120 schools benefit from newly trained teachers and better curriculum.
  • 15,000 children in India’s cotton and carpet belts now go to normal schools after being taught basic reading, writing and math skills in bridge schools.
  • 600 new Child Protection Committees set up to end child labor practices.
  • More than 500,000 leaders, community members and officials trained to protect children
The work of the IKEA Foundation in India is even more remarkable when you consider that they do not yet retail their products in the country. They are yet to open a store in that country, although this might be changing soon.  Image Credit: Mosmas, Wikimedia Commons
Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshotAkhila Vijayaraghavan

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

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