UNICEF Australia

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30 August 2021 – UNICEF Australia has opened applications for young people aged 15 – 24 years old to represent their peers, as part of its 2022 Young Ambassador program.

Each year UNICEF Australia (UA) runs a 12-month program for aspiring young leaders, to empower them to advocate on issues they are passionate about, to introduce them to public policy design, and provide the opportunity to meet with key decision makers in government and other stakeholder groups.UA Child & Youth Engagement Manager, Angus Lonergan, said the program is a fantastic learning opportunity for young people interested in public policy and making positive change in their communities.“For young people, it can be very frustrating to be limited to sharing their ideas and views on social media and among their peers or at school. This program exposes the young ambassadors to advocacy pathways through official channels that can drive real change.“One of the most important aspects of the program is the way it enables a variety of youth voices to be heard. Beyond their geographic location of states, cities, regional and remote areas, we’re interested to hear from young people who are diverse in culture and language, gender, and in representing First Nations people and the LGBTQI community,” he said.UNICEF Australia will select Young Ambassadors from each state and territory to advocate for the best interests of children and young people. There are 11 positions available nationwide.Former Young Ambassador, Daphne Fong said, “While experience or a list of achievements may be a bonus, passion, in my opinion, is the most important quality of an UNICEF young ambassador. If you are passionate about child rights and wish to elevate the voices of children and young people in decision making spaces, do not hesitate to apply.”In December, UNICEF celebrates 75 years of safeguarding the best interests of children and young people globally.UNICEF Australia CEO, Tony Stuart said: “We know young people are passionate and have a lot to contribute to solving issues that are affecting them now and into the future.“Young Australians have faced a tremendous amount of challenges over the past couple of years and there has never been a more important time to hear their voices.“This program provides opportunity for the ambassadors to share what they’re hearing from young people in their region and work with us to form policy recommendations that we can present to Government,”he said.Applications are open now and will close on 26 September 2021, with successful applicants to be announced on World Children’s Day, Saturday 20 November 2021.The UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador program is supported by IKEA Australia.To apply, go to www.unicef.org.au

David Beckham dazzles Soccer Aid crowd at Etihad despite Phil Neville plea

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David Beckham turned heads as he often does as he turned up to Soccer Aid 2021 at the Etihad Stadium but Inter Miami boss Phil Neville will be wishing he’d stayed in Florida

David Beckham has taken centre stage at Soccer Aid 2021 despite not lacing up his boots.

The former Manchester United star will watch on at the Etihad Stadium as the fundraising event takes place for a fourth straight year.

Beckham, himself a UNICEF ambassador, rocked a black suit with a white shirt and red tie.

As is often the case, the England legend received a huge cheer when he popped up on the big screen at the Etihad.

His presence in England will leave Phil Neville a little nervous however.

Beckham owns MLS side Inter Miami nowadays and earlier this year employed Neville, his former United team-mate, as head coach.

The Florida-based side have added the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi as they aim to make a swift impact across the Atlantic.

Neville joked that he didn’t want Beckham leaving Miami due to the positive influence he had in and around the club.

“His is presence in and around is massive,” Neville told The Miami Herald.

“We’re going to ban him from going home to England. He needs to get his green card as soon as possible.

“We’re going to close all airports in Florida because the longer he’s here, we keep winning.”

Inter Miami have seen results improve in recent weeks, losing just one of their last five.

Neville has presided over wins against CF Montreal, Nashville and the Chicago Fire.

He will be nervous however knowing his owner is away ahead of the game at Cincinnati tonight.

The Inter Miami coach’s brother, Gary, is one of several former stars playing for England against the World XI.

He admits the lure of playing alongside Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes was a huge reason he volunteered himself.

He said: “This is all about raising money for UNICEF, let’s be really clear!

“There is no other good bit of Gary Neville playing football. If you watched me play, it was a struggle at the age of 36 and I’m now 46! I have done it a couple of times over the last 10 years and it’s always for causes like this.

“The work UNICEF does around the world is off the scale. It was one of the great partners of Manchester United when I was there, we used to have a dinner every single year.

“It’s the 10th year of Soccer Aid and partnership with UNICEF who do incredible work, much needed work that isn’t delivered by a government, it’s delivered by this amazing charity.

“And that is a huge positive that makes it worthwhile for me to come and play. The work that has been done over the years with Soccer Aid and UNICEF is fantastic.

“I’ve always watched it but never thought I wanted to play in it. I finally got persuaded because it meant I could play in a team with Rooney and Scholes again and this hopefully means I’m on the winning team.”

UNICEF Philippines National Ambassador Anne Curtis’ breastfeeding journey

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Anne Curtis and daughter Dahlia

Actress Anne Curtis’ new role is her best, yet most challenging part yet – that of a first-time mother, determined to give daughter Dahlia the best possible start in life.

For her, this means breastfeeding.

Anne shared her breastfeeding journey with UNICEF in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month as well as the 10th Anniversary of the Breastfeeding TSEK! (Tama, Sapat, Eksklusibo/Correct, Enough and Exclusive) Campaign by the Department of Health (DOH), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Anne is among the wide range of celebrities, influencers and other partners that UNICEF collaborates with in the Philippines to realize the rights of every adolescent, mother and child to survive, live a healthy life, and thrive.

According to Anne, it was her work as a UNICEF Philippines National Ambassador that strengthened her resolve to breastfeed.

“I would go on field visits with UNICEF, and they would really educate me about the importance of breastmilk for newborn and child’s health. It’s a beautiful journey for you and the child, but aside from that, the benefits of breastmilk are mindblowing!”

Breastmilk can act as the baby’s “first vaccine,” protecting against many common childhood diseases, according to UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov.

“Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for six months, the introduction of age-appropriate complementary foods at six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond offer a powerful line of defense against all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting and obesity.”

Mothers also benefit, with multiple studies linking breastfeeding with a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer – two leading causes of death among women.

“The more I learned about it,” Anne enthuses, “it made me decide I really want to persevere and breastfeed my first baby.”

A Shared Responsibility

Anne admits that there is a learning curve with breastfeeding – one made even more challenging by the pandemic and her isolation from most family and friends.

Thankfully, Anne had the support of her mother and husband Erwan Heussaff, who were able to stay with her in lockdown.

“Because your hands are so full with the newborn, parang lahat ng oras mo, doon nakatutok. Iba yung energy na nawawala sayo pag nagbebreastfeed ka.” (It’s like all your time is focused on that. The energy drained from you during breastfeeding is something else.)

“Maswerte ako sa asawa ko (I’m lucky to have my husband). Because he knew that I was passing nutrients on to my baby, he made sure that what the mother was eating was good for the baby as well.”

According to Anne, the most important help was the emotional support her family gave her when she was breastfeeding.

“At one point mafifeel mo na parang ‘am I failing? Am I not doing it right?’ Pero I think yung support and warmth of the words and telling me na parang ‘kaya mo yan’ – that really helped me.” (At one point, you feel like ‘am I failing? Am I not doing it right? But I think the support and warmth of their words and their saying things like ‘you can do it’ – that really helped me.)

Anne says she was also able to develop a wider support network – even in the time of social distancing.

“I was in Australia when I gave birth. Meron silang binuo na parang ‘mother and child’ group na kasabay mo in your area na nanganak (They formed a ‘mother and child’ group in our area with other women who gave birth around the same time).

So I was able to make a new friend, and we were really speaking to each other. It really helped having someone who could relate with what I was going through as a mother, and ask for advice.”

Support Systems

While Anne was able to get adequate support during the lockdown, UNICEF acknowledges many others might not be so lucky.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic causing disruptions in breastfeeding support services while increasing the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition, prioritizing breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies is becoming even more urgent,” says Dendevnorov.

In the Philippines, UNICEF works with the DOH, National Nutrition Council, Local Government Units, and relevant agencies to strengthen research, policies, capacity, and evidence-based planning to develop and implement effective and efficient health and nutrition policies and programmes.

UNICEF also uses evidence-informed advocacy to increase Government investment in nutrition services and engages with communities to improve awareness and skills on good nutrition and feeding practices.

Anne staged the “Dahlia Turns 1 Birthday Fundraiser” for UNICEF, which collected PHP 1.8 Million for interventions to improve vulnerable children’s access to health services during their critical first 1,000 days of life.

You’re Not Alone

A year on, Anne says it’s still critical to seek out information to figure out what’s best for Dahlia.

This included getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine upon the advice of her doctor. “It’s important is to protect yourself so you can protect your baby.”

From pregnancy to weaning, Anne attests that the breastfeeding journey can be tough. She therefore encourages other mothers to not be ashamed of the changes happening in their bodies.

“Feel free to speak to other mothers about it, speak to your pedia about it, read up about it – but just know that it happens. Don’t feel so bad about it because it is a normal process.”

Just don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it’s just for someone to listen to you.”