MSC Cruises—the world’s largest privately owned cruise company and leading cruise line in Europe and South America—has announced today that to date it has raised more than $9.5 million for UNICEF, thanks to the generous contributions of its guests. The funds raised are used to provide malnourished children with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) such as Plumpy’ Nut®. To-date, more than 6.5 million sachets of RUTF have been delivered to children in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, and Malawi.
“We are delighted to have reached this new contribution milestone, thanks to the generosity of our guests. As a family-run Company, we care deeply about the wellbeing of families around the world,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “Through the funds raised on board our ships, thanks to our ‘Get on Board for Children’ initiative, we are able to provide life-saving food to severely malnourished children around the world where and when most needed.”
MSC Cruises and UNICEF have worked in partnership since 2009 and in 2013 together established a global initiative to assist malnourished children in developing countries and those affected by crises. The initiative encourages MSC Cruises’ guests across the fleet to make a contribution to UNICEF.
Between 2013 and 2017, these generous contributions have provided treatment to more than 20,500 children in Somalia, more than 15,700 children in South Sudan, more than 9,400 children in Ethiopia and, most recently, more than 35,000 children in Malawi. With these countries facing multiple challenges such as food shortages, flooding, stagnant economies and prolonged droughts, the need of food aid remains crucial, especially for the lives of children. Through this long-standing partnership, MSC Cruises and UNICEF seek to fight hunger together and have helped to feed nearly 81,150 children and their families since 2013.
Until the end of 2019, in Malawi specifically, MSC Cruises will be the only corporate partner working to support the area, helping UNICEF to reach 45% of the severely malnourished children in all 28 districts. This program, through the support of MSC Cruises, aims to treat and rehabilitate 45,000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition with 685 tons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods as well as therapeutic milk and other nutritional supplies.
The focus on providing aid in Malawi was a conscious decision, as Hans Künzle, Chairman of the Board of UNICEF Switzerland explains, “Over half of the 18.2 million Malawians are under the age of 18 years. About 63 percent of children suffer from multidimensional poverty. Nevertheless, Malawi has made remarkable progress towards child well-being, also thanks to the valuable support of MSC Cruises. It is therefore extremely important that we continue our work in this country. The vision is for all girls and boys in Malawi, especially the most disadvantaged and deprived, to realize their rights.”
In the meantime, to continue to raise awareness on board its ships about UNICEF’s work and the needs of children around the world, MSC Cruises continuously organizes “edutainment” activities for children and their parents. Each week, the program on board each of MSC Cruises’ ships includes a dedicated UNICEF Day with fun games, a children’s parade and a leaflet, distributed to each participating youngster, educating them about malnutrition in the world. They also receive a UNICEF World Citizen passport that is stamped after each educational activity is completed, making them an ambassador for the rights of children worldwide.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, with 70 years’ experience in development co-operation and emergency relief, works towards ensuring the survival and well-being of children worldwide. Its remit includes health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, as well as the protection of children against abuse, exploitation, violence, and AIDS. With its programs, UNICEF is active in more than 190 countries and territories. The newly reached fundraising milestone underlines the ongoing commitment of MSC Cruises and their guests to help continue to make a positive impact through the “Get on Board for Children” initiative.