DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC), through its Cricket for Good initiative, Thursday launched a fundraising campaign to support UNICEF’s emergency COVID-19 response in South Asia.
The campaign was launched ahead of the inaugural World Test Championship final being played in Southampton between India and New Zealand from Friday, June 18th, through to June 22.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on South Asia, which is home to nearly 2 billion people, and more than a quarter of the world’s children. The sheer scale and speed of the latest surge of COVID-19 across the region has outstripped countries’ abilities to provide life-saving treatment and essential services.
The region has to date recorded more than 30 million COVID-19 cases and over 400,000 deaths. The virus has had a direct impact on children, with many more falling ill than before. Children are losing parents and caregivers to the virus, leaving many of them vulnerable and without parental care. Learning and protection issues continue to be a cause of concern, with lockdowns and closure of schools. The essential health services that women and children rely on are also at risk of being compromised: during the first wave of the pandemic, an estimated 228,000 children across South Asia died due to disruptions in health services.
As part of its COVID-19 response, UNICEF works closely with governments and partners in the region reaching families with information and technical support on health, child protection and education, water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as support in vaccine rollout.
ICC’s support to UNICEF at this critical time will harness the power and reach of cricket, one of the world’s most popular sports, to safeguard the lives and futures of children. As part of the campaign, ICC will leverage its audience base on its digital channels to contribute to UNICEF. ICC with UNICEF shall display joint appeals on its digital platforms, LED perimeter boards and replay screens at the venue, for its broadcast audiences to donate directly to UNICEF’s donation platform: https://help.unicef.org/icc.
In-game commentary will also reach out to audiences for their support.
George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia said: “The sheer speed and scale of infection across South Asia has been alarming, and fragile health systems have been pushed to the brink. UNICEF is on the ground with partners to deliver lifesaving support and ensure essential health services for children and women continue operating. ICC’s Cricket for Good initiative will allow us to raise vital funds to continue delivering lifesaving supplies and services to children and families in South Asia.”
Geoff Allardice, acting CEO International Cricket Council, said: “The devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in South Asia has been heart breaking with vulnerable children among the most affected. By partnering with UNICEF to support their COVID 19 relief work, we can use the global platform provided by the inaugural World Test Championship Final to raise urgent funds that can make a real difference. We appeal to cricket fans around the world to come together to show their support for the work of UNICEF at such a difficult time and donate to such a worthwhile cause.”
All funds raised through the fundraising campaign and received by UNICEF will be used for the UNICEF COVID-19 emergency response in South Asia. By partnering together, UNICEF and International Cricket Council will support communities and marginalized people to weather this storm and prevent further disruptions to essential health services for women and children.
In addition, ICC along with Tech Mahindra, the merchandise partner for the World Test Championship final, have launched a special COVID-19 relief range for the inaugural ICC WTC final and 10% of the proceeds will go to UNICEF’s relief work in South Asia.
Fans can purchase this merchandise on https://icccricketshop.com/