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UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore concludes week-long visit to India


Henrietta Fore concluded her first visit to India as UNICEF Executive Director with an urgent call for increased investments in children and young people.

On Friday, Fore conducted her last public engagement by ringing the closing bell at the National Stock Exchange. While in Mumbai, she met with leaders from top corporations to seek shared-value partnerships and discussed the economic benefits of investing in children.

“The challenges India and other emerging nations face require an all-hands-on-deck approach. We need businesses, governments, civil society, academic institutions and young people working together,” said Fore. “Whether it be enacting mass construction and social mobilizations like ‘Clean India,’ or preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators, corporations possess unique capabilities and expertise for young people in India – and across the globe.”

Fore began her visit with a keynote address on 1 October at the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention in New Delhi, an event that brought together over 45 ministers and experts from around the world. She lauded the country’s flagship Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, a nation-wide campaign that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns and rural areas.

In New Delhi, the Executive Director, along with Niti Aayog, took the lead in catalyzing YuWaah!, a strategic long-term initiative for and by young people to work with government, civil society and the private sector to support adolescents and young people’s learning, skills development and economic participation.

From Delhi, the UNICEF Chief travelled to a village in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, where she visited UNICEF-supported programmes on child and maternal health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation and youth.

She interacted with children at an Aanganwadi, or rural child care, centre, and accompanied an accredited social health activist on her visit to check on a newborn and mother under a UNICEF-supported home-based newborn care programme.

She also spoke with a girls’ youth group that is inspiring adolescents to advocate in their communities. “These girls are ready to lead,” said Fore. “Whether it be stopping child marriage and encouraging others not to get married underage, raising their voices in opposition to violence against women and children, or creating their own solutions to everyday challenges, the young ladies I met in Mirzapur are true champions of change.”

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