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New Delhi, 13 July 2020: UNICEF INDIA today announced its partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI), Socio-Economic Development Foundation (SEDF)to jointly develop UNICEF’s#Reimagine Campaign to support the most vulnerable populations and children during the COVID-19 response and its after-math in India.

FICCI SEDF will reach out to its membership base to garner support for the campaign and leverage its resources like cash and core assets to mobilize funds that can be utilized to help generate support for the most vulnerable population affected due to COVID disruption. The partnership will also help avoid potential long-term damage to business operations and employment pipelines, and their most important resource, their personnel, their children and their families

While children are not the face of this pandemic, they are its hidden victims and remain the most vulnerable to the broader impact of the pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 on children has the potential to be devastating and lifelong. Millions of children will have lost out on crucial cognitive development and learning time, the risk of an increasing number of children and young people facing abuse and exploitation is real, and gains made in the measures of health and nutrition status of children is likely to see a decline. Children in the poorest and most vulnerable segments of societies are at greatest risk,” said Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India.

Speaking about the partnership, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI said, “Concrete action from all stakeholders including businesses, international organizations and civil society is needed to secure a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for all children and ensure that no child is left behind. Key actions need to be taken now and resources leveraged to help the most vulnerable. FICCI SEDF and UNICEF will collectively reimagine initiatives and actions that will benefit all children.”

FICCI and UNICEF will work on an action plan based on the document that is being developed jointly by the International Chambers of Commerce and UNICEF for governments and businesses on the actions they can take to support the post-pandemic recovery. Ogilvy is offering pro bono support in developing the creative narrative for the campaign.

In India, school closures have impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary education[1] and 28 million children who were attending pre-school education in Anganwadi centres.[2] This is in addition to the more than 6 million girls and boys who were already out of school prior to the COVID-19 crisis.[3]

CHILDLINE 1098 responded to a total of 460,000 calls in 21 days, of which 20 percent resulted in interventions for preventing child abuse, trafficking, child marriage and child labour.

According to the newly published study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Lancet Global Health Journal, due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels, disruption in live-saving immunization activities and an increase in child wasting, in next six months up to 300,000 children could die in India alone.