Global icon marks 10 years as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with new drive to put children first 

9 February 2015 – David Beckham and UNICEF are today launching a groundbreaking initiative, 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, to protect millions of children around the world from danger.

Marking Beckham’s 10th year as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, ‘7’ is David’s personal commitment over the next decade to helping the world’s most vulnerable children. Through ‘7’, David will use his powerful global voice, influence and connections to raise vital funds and encourage world leaders to create lasting positive change for children. 

David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, said: “I’ve been a Goodwill Ambassador for 10 years now and I feel so honoured to be part of UNICEF’s amazing work for children.”

“Today, the need to help children has never been greater and since retiring I have more time and I want to do so much more. That’s why I am setting up this new fund with UNICEF. 7 represents my ongoing commitment to helping children who need it most around the world. This is me stepping up my support - because I can, because I want to, because the outcome will help change the lives of millions of children. Everything I have done, my football career, my family, has led to this point – this is the moment for me to do what I can to help children in every corner of the world. This is something I want my own children to be proud of.” 

“Over the coming years I am going to work with UNICEF to raise millions and speak out for children all over the world. I am planning numerous fundraising initiatives and I also hope to travel much more - meeting children, UNICEF staff and world leaders to help raise awareness and increase the pace of change. There are some very exciting plans ahead and I am so proud to be part of this.” 

The launch of ‘7’, named in honour of Beckham’s lucky number on his famous England and Manchester United F.C. shirts, comes after one of the most devastating years for children on record. 

More than 15 million children were exposed to extreme violence in major conflicts in 2014, while millions more were hit by natural disasters and thousands were left orphaned and out of school as a result of the devastating Ebola epidemic.  Beyond emergencies, children were also at serious risk – with 168 million children across the globe engaged in child labour and many others victims of sexual violence, trafficking and female genital mutilation.

‘7’ aims to harness the hope and potential of 2015 - a year in which international leaders will agree new global goals that will change children’s lives for years to come. Through 7, David Beckham will raise vital funds and advocate for change to ensure that UNICEF and its partners can deliver results for children - whether in education, water and sanitation, health care or social protection - and reach the children who need it most. 

UNICEF has identified key places, across seven regions of the world, where urgent funding is required to help save and change children’s lives in the next three years. Some are programmes in towns and villages, some are nationwide programmes across a whole country and some across a whole region. All are places where children are living in danger right now - from violence, abuse or disease – places where, to date, the lack of funding has meant children remain vulnerable. 

By funding these programmes over the next three years, ‘7’ could help UNICEF to:

Provide child protection services and counselling support to children in El Salvador, the country with the highest homicide rate among children in the world.

Provide water pumps and train communities to maintain them in Burkina Faso, where currently 1 in 5 child deaths are caused by diarrhea. 

Support breastfeeding mothers to give children the best start in life in Papua New Guinea, where child malnutrition has caused stunted growth in nearly half of all children under the age of five.

Today when launching ‘7’, Beckham also asked the public and his fans to join him in taking action for children. He asked the public to back his call to world leaders to put children first and help end violence, preventable death and poverty for every child as they negotiate a fresh roadmap for global development – by adding their name to his international campaign.

“David Beckham has dedicated his 10 years as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to speaking up for those who need it most – the world’s most vulnerable children,” said Paloma Escudero, from UNICEF’s Global Management Team. 

“David has raised awareness of major dangers facing children – including malnutrition, Ebola and AIDS - and has travelled with UNICEF to Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand and most recently the Philippines, where he helped raise vital funds for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Through 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, we can act together to drive positive change for children.” 

Beckham’s long-term business partner and friend, Simon Fuller added, “David is so passionate about his work with UNICEF and the welfare and health of the world’s most vulnerable children.  He has a unique connection to children, it is something quite extraordinary that I have witnessed for many years. Now that David is moving into the next phase of his professional life as a successful entrepreneur, he wants to be even more focused on making a difference. Since retiring from professional sports he has more time available to devote to his charitable work. He is serious about making a difference and I am very proud to see him with this much focus and positive intent for such an incredibly worthwhile cause.” 

In 2015 the world will agree new global goals that could change children’s lives for years to come. Join David Beckham and UNICEF in calling on global leaders to #putchildrenfirst. Together, we can help end violence, preventable death and poverty for every child. Add your voice now at 7.org

#Beckham7

#putchildrenfirst

Photos and videos are available for download here: http://uni.cf/1zga7yw

--ENDS--

Notes for editors

Over the past 10 years, David Beckham has played a crucial role in UNICEF’s work to save and improve the lives of children.  Key Highlights include: 

In 2005, David Beckham helped launch an appeal and pack emergency supplies for children affected by the Tsunami at UNICEF’s supply division in Copenhagen.

In 2008 David visited Sierra Leone to launch UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report to focus global attention on children dying before their fifth birthday. 

In 2009 David visited South Africa to see UNICEF’s work with children and families living with HIV and AIDS

In 2011 David helped launch UNICEF UK’s appeal for the East African food crisis

In 2012 David delivered an open letter with over 50 high profile signatories to UK Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a global hunger summit – helping to secure a commitment by world leaders to reduce child malnutrition by 2016.

David helped to launch UNICEF’s appeal for Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, in which 1.7 million children were displaced and many lost their lives. David also travelled to the Philippines to meet children and families affected by the typhoon.  

In 2014 David recorded a video message supporting UNICEF’s fight to beat Ebola, which was broadcast across Sierra Leone, one of the worst-affected countries, reaching over 2 million people.

For more information, please contact the Unicef UK press office on 020 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk