In 2014, we decided to partner with one of the world’s biggest forces for change – UNICEF. UNICEF is a driving force that puts children first, helping them to survive and thrive around the world. We’re proud that in 2014, the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative raised over $4.2 million dollars that will support UNICEF’s innovative and lifesaving work. Disney also committed $1 million to launch the initiative. UNICEF has a network of 12 Innovation Labs that are creating sustainable solutions to critical issues facing children around the world in the areas of child protection, nutrition, water, health, sanitation, and education. Our partnership with UNICEF supports programs that engage and empower youth around the world. Here are some of the results UNICEF has already delivered for children through programs which have been supported by Star Wars: Force for Change:
Engaging and Empowering Youth via U-Report
U-Report is an SMS-based tool that allows young people to speak out on issues that matter to them, while at the same time enabling government and community leaders to identify trends and problems in real-time. U-Report examples include:
Creating Agents for Social Impact with By Youth For Youth (BYFY)
UNICEF’s By Youth For Youth is a youth empowerment program that prepares adolescent boys and girls to become more involved and active members of their communities. BYFY advances an innovative approach to youth empowerment, helping them take an entrepreneurial approach to social change by adapting the hands-on, learn-by-doing elements of a business. BYFY builds resilience and professional readiness, empowering young people in the most marginalized communities to identify and analyze issues and to develop and lead projects in the form of interventions or social ventures that address these issues. Ultimately, the BYFY program enables youth to acquire entrepreneurship and life skills to lead and make change in their own communities. BYFY has been operating in Kosovo since 2011, where it has reached tens of thousands of youth. With the support from Star Wars: Force for Change, UNICEF looks forward to replicating this program to three new countries in 2015.
In addition to the expansion of U-Report and BYFY, Star Wars: Force for Changesupport will enable UNICEF to achieve even more:
Thanks to Star Wars: Force for Change, tens of thousands of youth around the world will be able to have the tools and skills to inspire social change and become leaders in their own communities – developing solutions that save and improve children’s lives. The hope is to have millions of young people engaged in sharing their voices and needs through the initiative.