UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué today thanked hundreds of thousands of fans for taking part in their interactive World Baby Shower and buying life-saving items for vulnerable children in support of UNICEF’s work around the world.
“We are thrilled by the generosity that has been shown by the visitors to our World Baby Shower site,” said Shakira, who in January gave birth to the couple’s first child, Milan. “Thanks to you, over 80,000 children will be protected from polio, almost 200,000 oral rehydration salts sachets will be distributed in times of need, the 3.8 tons of therapeutic food collected will save many children from severe acute malnutrition, among other life-saving tools that were purchased to protect babies and children.”
Polio is a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease that often leaves children crippled, while the oral rehydration salts are a simple cost-effective way to treat diarrhoea, the second leading cause of death in children aged under five.
When Shakira and Gerard became new parents last month they shared the moment by using innovative social media tools to host an online baby shower with UNICEF from 16 January to 15 February. This unique event engaged fans by welcoming them into the virtual living room of Shakira and Gerard. There, guests learned about the many challenges around child survival and were able to purchase ‘Inspired Gifts’ to help give babies around the world a healthy start to life.
“This virtual baby shower has been truly innovative and was only possible in a digital world where fans could not just follow but become a real part of the couple’s philanthropic initiative,” said Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Spokesperson for the Executive Director. “We are indeed grateful for the generosity – in spirit and in kind – of Shakira and Gerard and their fans.”
The many fans who visited the site also bought over 1,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect children from malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. The bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against deadly malaria-carrying mosquitoes that bite at night and can greatly reduce malaria transmissions.
In addition, the generous donations included the purchase of over 150 portable scales to weigh babies and toddlers to help early detection of malnutrition and illness. One of the best ways to make sure malnutrition and illness are diagnosed early in very young children is to monitor their weight. The earlier the diagnosis the better chance the child has of survival.
UNICEF will now begin to distribute these real, life-saving and life-changing items to children and communities in some of the poorest corners of the globe.