In 2019 Ahlstrom-Munksjö asked its employees to suggest projects or organizations that the company could support. One of the eight selected was UNICEF’S Child Protection Program in Zambia – an initiative put forward by HR Manager Karen Volz.
The UNICEF Child protection program contributes to the creation of a child protection system to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Some of the initiative's objectives include the reduction of sexual violence against girls, child marriage and the increase of birth registrations.
Birth registration is the first acknowledgment of a child’s existence and identity so in Zambia, where only 11% of children under the age of five have registered births, increasing the registration rate is a key priority. It not only contributes towards ensuring lifelong protection but is also a prerequisite to all other rights.
UNICEF’S Child Protection Program in Zambia is a shared initiative together with the Eva Ahlström Foundation, which was founded and managed by Ahlstrom family members. It has been proudly supporting UNICEF’s initiatives and work around the world.
“Our support to UNICEF is not a donation, it is an investment in the future of humanity. The continent needs a huge investment in children – otherwise there is a risk of it falling into a cycle of poverty and inequality which, in addition to human suffering, will also cause instability, more refugees and migration. By investing in child protection, we are involved in promoting the wellbeing of children and their ability to attend school, as well as breaking the vicious cycle of poverty,” says Maria Ahlström-Bondestam, Chair of the Eva Ahlström Foundation.
“Investments in child protection are crucial for achieving more sustainable societies. We are happy that Ahlstrom-Munksjö recognized this important focus area of our work,” says Nina Vähäpassi, Corporate Partnerships Manager at UNICEF Finland.
Images by: UNICEF/ Schermbrucker