|BEN MULRONEY TO LAUNCH EMSB UNICEF CAMPAIGN AT NESBITT OCTOBER 16|
MONTREAL, OCTOBER 4, 2006- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) will formally launch its participation in the annual UNICEF campaign on Mon. October 16 (9:30 a.m.) quite fittingly at Nesbitt Elementary School in Rosemount which has a longstanding tradition of supporting this charity.
Television star Ben Mulroney, a National Ambassador for UNICEF Canada, will be on hand as a special guest to address the students. Joining him will be Flavia Mutamutega, communications officer for UNICEF Rwanda. Ms. Mutamutega will report on the progress made in Rwanda thanks in part to the involvement from EMSB schools and her first hand account will showcase the wonderful results that can be achieved when Canadian students work together to help the world’s most vulnerable children. Ms Mutamutega will be in Montreal visiting schools all week. Funds raised as part of last year’s Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign helped educational programs in Rwanda, as part of the Schools for Africa program. This year Canadian children will be helping their peers at schools in Malawi as part of a redesigned UNICEF campaign.
As the host of the hugely popular CTV shows Canadian Idol and eTalk, Mulroney is one of Canada's most-recognized personalities. As the host of eTalk, Mulroney covers everything entertainment, from interviewing the world's highest-profile celebrities to covering the Red Carpet at the Oscars and The Juno Awards.
Holding degrees in law and history, and with his family background in politics, Mulroney is well-versed in national and global issues and passionate about leveraging his celebrity appeal to make a difference for the world's children.
"When UNICEF Canada approached me with this opportunity, I jumped at the chance," said Mulroney. "UNICEF has been working in Canada for more than 50 years to help connect Canadians to children in developing nations around the world. I am committed to doing whatever I can to help UNICEF in its work to restore childhoods and build futures for children around the world."
One of Mulroney's first responsibilities as a UNICEF Canada National Ambassador will be to serve as national spokesperson for this year's revitalized Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, in which Canadian kids will engage in fundraising and educational activities to help give children in Malawi the chance to go to school.
UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in 155 countries and territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, promotes quality basic education, protects children from violence, exploitation and AIDS, and is the world's largest provider of vaccines for developing nations. A global leader in emergencies with six decades of on-the-ground experience, UNICEF saves and rebuilds children's lives in natural disasters and conflict. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, schools, associations and governments.
With 50 years of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF partnerships and campaign management under its belt as the organizer of one of Canada’s oldest school fundraising traditions, UNICEF Canada undertook a thorough process of consultation in redesigning the campaign. UNICEF has been working closely with schools since the campaign began, helping to educate Canadian kids about international development issues and raising funds for the world’s most vulnerable children. To redesign the campaign, educators were consulted through Northstar, a third-party research firm, providing valuable feedback. Advertising agency BBDO assisted greatly in the development of the campaign’s fundraising strategy and the development of engaging campaign materials for schools across Canada.
In place of its previous focus on children collecting coins door-to-door, the campaign promotes new ways for children, schools and Canadians of all ages to participate, from organizing Halloween-themed fundraising events at school to kids raising funds at home. Schools have undertaken such initiatives with great success for years as part of their Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaigns, and serve as inspirational models for their peers across the country as the 2006 campaign gets underway.
By setting fundraising goals that correspond to the purchase price of school materials, such as desks and sports equipment, children will be able to view how their efforts are directly helping children in Malawi. Each classroom participating in the campaign will receive a fundraising thermometer shaped like a school, to which students will affix a paper brick for every $20 raised. In recognition of their fundraising efforts throughout October, children will receive reflective UNICEF trick-or-treat bags to use on Halloween night.
To help teach students about the work they are supporting, UNICEF will send each school a Trick-or-Treat programme DVD that provides an overview of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF programme and UNICEF’s work worldwide, focusing on how Canadian children can help their peers at schools in Malawi. Children will also be more fully engaged as global citizens through the 2006 campaign as they learn about global issues from their teachers and UNICEF’s national team of dynamic speakers.
The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Web site at www.unicef.ca/tot features engaging games and educational resources.
Anyone can Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF
Halloween parties, haunted houses and fundraising challenges organized by family, friends or colleagues become valuable fundraising initiatives when guests’ donations are sent to UNICEF. Anyone can participate in the Click-or-Treat challenge, an on-line fundraising platform where individuals, families or groups can trick-or-treat virtually by setting their own fundraising targets, then challenging family and friends to support them in their effort to meet the target. Homeowners who will no longer shell out donations at the door on Halloween night and families whose children are not participating through school are also encouraged to support the campaign by participating in Click-or-Treat or by making an on-line donation to the campaign. More information is available at www.unicef.ca/tot. Individuals making a donation of $20 or more on-line can receive a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF bag.
UNICEF Dare-to-Wear Costume Challenge
This year, UNICEF brings the spirit of Halloween to the workplace with the new UNICEF Dare-to-Wear Costume Challenge. Created to give organizations a fun way to improve the lives of children, the Costume Challenge encourages individuals or groups to set fundraising targets, then challenge a colleague - or even a CEO - to wear a Halloween costume at work on October 31 if colleagues’ pledges reach the target.
Schools for Africa - Malawi
While the campaign continues to fund UNICEF’s many programmes worldwide, 50 per cent of proceeds from this year’s campaign will benefit schools in Malawi as part of the Schools for Africa programme, a joint initiative between UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The Schools for Africa programme supports the construction and rehabilitation of schools in six African countries including Malawi, and provides educational materials and teacher training to improve children’s quality of education. "Attending school is something that many Canadians take for granted. I am astounded by the staggering number of children in the world who have no access to education," said Mulroney. "The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign is an opportunity for Canadians of all ages to help stop the cycle of poverty that is perpetuated by lack of access to education."
Mulroney will make a late-October field visit to Malawi to witness the program in person. He will return to Canada to speak about his experience on October 31 - National UNICEF Day.
Michael J. Cohen