UNICEF and CBRE announced a new partnership today that will help protect the lives of thousands of children in Madagascar.

In recent years, an increasing number of devastating cyclones have hit Madagascar's shores as a result of climate change.

CBRE is the first company in the property sector to partner with UNICEF’s climate change adaption programme, Climate Positive.

The initiative helps businesses to respond to the effect that global carbon emissions are having on children in vulnerable communities, by giving them the opportunity to support projects which help them to become more resilient to the effects of climate change.

"When a child goes to school they shouldn’t have to worry about whether a cyclone is going to hit half way through a math lesson," said Lucy Stone, UNICEF UK climate change specialist. "But this is the reality for the thousands of children living in Madagascar."

CBRE will provide UNICEF with funding to help rebuild schools that have been damaged during recent cyclones in the Analanjirofo region of North-East Madagascar.

The schools will be rebuilt using environmentally friendly construction methods and will be cyclone-proof to withstand the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns afflicting the country.

Children – and the wider community - will also be taught how best to respond to cyclones when they occur and given access to greatly improved WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) facilities.

Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, is one of the poorest countries in the world with nearly 70 per cent of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day, and well over one million children out of school.

"The UNICEF Climate Positive initiative is a natural fit for our business as it directly aligns with our commitment to help protect the environment and improve society," said Mike Strong, the Chairman of CBRE in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "We are proud to be involved in such an important project and look forward to working in close partnership with UNICEF."

The project will provide vital, robust classrooms to ensure that children can go to school whatever the weather and remain safe when they do so.

 
Madagasacar © UNICEF 2011/Hannah Barrett
Gaetan Clermont (CEO of CBRE Belgium & Luxembourg) and the children from the first grade class at Ampihaonana Public Primary School, which is yet to be cyclone proofed.© UNICEF 2011/Hannah Barrett
Gaetan Clermont inside a second grade classroom at the Ampihaonana Public Primary School  © UNICEF 2011/Hannah Barrett
Gaetan Clermont inside a second grade classroom at the Ampihaonana Public Primary School © UNICEF 2011/Hannah Barrett