The FINANCIAL -- ING and UNICEF announced on April 21 the renewal of a decade-long partnership that to date has provided access to better quality education for more than 1 million of the world's hardest-to-reach children.
During the past 10 years, ING has inspired its employees and customers worldwide to raise funds for UNICEF, helping to improve children's access to education in remote communities in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Zambia.
"ING shares UNICEF's deep commitment to improving the lives and well-being of children and young people around the world," said Koos Timmermans, Vice-Chairman ING Bank. "We are united by a conviction that education is a fundamental building block for the development of children and their societies. We are proud that with the support from our customers and employees, the ING-UNICEF partnership has positively affected the lives of 1 million disadvantaged children."
The partnership has trained 17,000 teachers and has been instrumental in the development of new ways to reach marginalised children. In 2006, ING was one of the first investors to support Alternative Basic Education Centres, providing much needed educational opportunities for pastoralist children in Ethiopia. The strategy has now been fully integrated into the country's education system. In Nepal, ING was also the first investor to support the Adolescent Development and Participation programme in 2013, helping to equip young people with social and financial skills, according to ING.
The second phase of the partnership will shift its focus to adolescents. While the world has made remarkable progress for millions of children over the past decades - reducing child mortality, increasing the number of children enrolled in primary school, and expanding access to health care services - far too many of the 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide have been left behind.
"UNICEF is grateful to ING - and especially to its employees and customers - for their commitment to improving children's lives and futures," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. "We are excited that our renewed partnership with ING will focus on reaching adolescents and helping them develop the knowledge and skills they need to build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and the societies in which they live."
For the next three years, the renewed partnership aims to reach 335,000 adolescents in six countries - Indonesia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Nepal, the Philippines and Zambia -enabling them to develop into socially and financially empowered adults and full members of society.