Grammy Award-winning musician Youssou N'Dour marked his 20th anniversary as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador this week by calling for a continued push to help save and improve the lives of the most vulnerable children around the world.
“Youssou N’Dour has a powerful voice, and he has used it not only to entertain the world but to help the world’s most vulnerable children,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “For 20 years, he has been a valued partner to UNICEF, a passionate advocate for child rights, and a true friend to children everywhere.”
In his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the world famous Senegalese singer has seen first-hand the struggle of millions of children around the world whose lives have been impacted by poverty, hunger, disease and conflict. A longtime advocate for children, N’Dour joined UNICEF as an Ambassador in 1991 and has continued to use his popularity to support UNICEF’s mission to respect every child’s right to health, education and protection.
“UNICEF and its partners have done tremendous work for children around the world, and we must keep the momentum going in helping to save and improve the lives of children – especially those who are in most need,” said N’Dour, who has long been credited for bringing the sounds of Senegal to the world stage. “I remain as dedicated to my work on behalf of children as ever, and it’s rewarding to know that I can personally contribute to improving their lives and futures through my support of UNICEF.”
Over the past twenty years, the total number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped globally from an estimated 12.4 million per year in 1990 to some 8 million in 2010. Yet some 22,000 children continue to die each day before they reach their fifth birthday. Some 70% of these deaths occur in the first year of the child’s life.
N’Dour has lent his star power and energy in the fight to bring these numbers down, especially through his efforts to combat malaria. Ninety per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Yet, malaria is an easily preventable and treatable disease. Insecticide treated mosquito nets are the fastest way to prevent malaria infections because they create a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur.