The 25th Team: Government of Canada partners with UNICEF Canada & 60 Canadian women on multi-million dollar program to save children's lives

COPENHAGEN, May 17, 2016 /CNW/ - Today at the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen, the Government of Canada announced a $5 million commitment to saving the lives of women and children in partnership with UNICEF Canada's The 25th Team. This initiative allows philanthropic Canadian women to leverage their $6 million investment, together with Canada's commitment, to save lives in five countries. Seventeen members of The 25th Team are attending the Women Deliver Conference this week as part of their four-year journey with UNICEF Canada.

A partnership to save women and children:
UNICEF Canada, a team of 60 influential Canadian women, the Government of Canada and the Garrett Family Foundation have come together in an innovative partnership to invest over four years in life-saving projects in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Namibia and Peru.

These projects are building capacity in communities and with governments to save children's lives and model approaches to reach the most vulnerable with life-saving services. The combined investment will help more than 3.8 million women and children.

The legacy of this investment will be multiplied as the impact and results of UNICEF's work leverages further investment by governments and donors to take these programs to scale and make them sustainable beyond the four years of The 25th Team's investment.

The five countries each face a unique gap – an area that requires urgent attention, but has been under resourced – in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). The goal of The 25th Team interventions is to address these gaps in order to improve health outcomes for mothers and children.

"UNICEF and Canada have a long history of partnering to improve the health and well-being of children around the world. Today's announcement further underscores Canada's continued global leadership for the world's most vulnerable children to ensure they are able to survive, thrive and reach their full potential," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "Together, UNICEF and Canada are saving lives."

"The commitment made by Minister Bibeau of $5 million in partnership with The 25th Team marks the next stage in Canada's continued leadership in saving the lives of the world's most vulnerable children and mothers," said Meg French, UNICEF Canada's Chief of International Programs and Public Affairs. "By investing with UNICEF Canada and the women of The 25th Team, Canada is leading the way in innovative financing and partnerships to leverage further investments that will allow us to reach the hardest to reach in support of the Sustainable Development Goals."

"The remarkable women who have joined The 25th Team are committed to leaving a legacy of lives saved and want their investments to have lasting—and multiplied—impact. Canada's partnership in this initiative is a critical step our efforts to help 3.8 million women and children," said Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada's Chief Development Officer. "The 60 Canadian women who are part of The 25th Team are influential, engaged, passionate and intelligent. They have changed the face of philanthropy in Canada and set a new standard for global giving. We are incredibly proud to partner with Canada in this life-saving partnership."

"The opportunity to be part of The 25 Team is a challenge that I felt I could not pass on. Partnering with UNICEF, the world leader in protecting children's rights and the Government of Canada, has provided me with a sense of confidence in our ability to make a significant impact in the lives of mothers and children around the world," said Dr. Liza Murrell, member of UNICEF's The 25th Team. "As the mother of four children, I understand firsthand the magnitude and the importance of maternal and child healthcare—a basic right for all women and children. I am proud to stand with my teammates to make access a reality for millions of women and children around the globe."

About The 25th Team:
The 25th Team is a national giving circle made up of 60 Canadian women who've come together to save women's and children's lives. Their learning journey is partially underwritten by generous support from Teck, a long time UNICEF Canada supporter.

Members of The 25th Team, have opportunities, at their own expense, to:

  • Attend quarterly regional networking and learning events across the country to engage with child survival experts 
  • Attend United Nations General Assembly events to discuss critical global issues for women and children's health in New York City
  • Travel to visit UNICEF programs and see the direct impact of their investments and the results of Canada's support in project countries

The 25th Team investments will be in five countries—Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Namibia, Peru—focused on live-saving interventions in the following areas:

  • Health Systems Strengthening: Strong health systems are needed to deliver and scale up maternal, newborn and child health interventions. However, in each of the project countries, health system conditions vary: from inadequate infrastructure, under-trained health care workers and a lack of basic supplies, to a lack of data to track progress and no refrigeration to store vaccines.
  • Maternal Health: The birth of a healthy child relies on a continual process of care provided to the mother, including prenatal care (before conception), antenatal care (before birth), postnatal care (after birth), and care during the first 28 days of life (the neonatal period).
  • Nutrition: Undernutrition contributes to nearly half of all deaths of children under five. It places children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of infections, contributes to delayed recovery, and can cause permanent damage to a child's physical and mental development. The first 1,000 days – from conception until age two – is a critical period for a child's nutrition requirements.
  • Birth Registration: A name and nationality is every child's right, yet around the world the births of almost one in three children under the age of five have never been recorded. Without a birth certificate, a child may be denied health care or education, it can mean that a child may enter into marriage or the labour market before the legal age. In adulthood, birth certificates may be required to obtain social assistance or a job, to buy or prove the right to inherit property, to vote and to obtain a passport. Birth registration is vital to providing government with data to guide planning and budgeting for services for children. Registering children at birth is the first step in securing their recognition before the law, safeguarding their rights, and ensuring that any violation of these rights does not go unnoticed.


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit


Image with caption: "Baby Main Lisa with her mother Srey Roth in the Stung Meanchey Village of Cambodia. UNICEF Canada, The 25th Team and the Government of Canada have partnered to save the lives of the world’s most vulnerable women and children in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Namibia and Peru. Photo credit: © UNICEF/UNI165022/Lovell (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile),


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