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We genuinely feel that we as a family can make a difference and see child protection as fundamental and essential work that must be done right for there to be stable societies in the future.

The Eva Ahlstrom Foundation’s long-term collaboration with UNICEF, focusing on child rights and child welfare, has continued, and the Foundation is engaged in several projects with UNICEF. The foundation continues as an active member in UNICEF International Council. The Ahlström Collective Impact gave the partnership with UNICEF Finland a whole new dimension.


©UNICEF UNI213183 Narain 2019

The boys in the photo are not related to the project

UNICEF's child protection project in West Bengal, India

The child welfare project in West Bengal, which is supported by the satellite organization Eva Ahlström Foundation International, focuses on improving conditions and aid in children’s homes and childcare facilities, establishing temporary accommodation, and supporting foster family arrangements to ensure that as many children as possible can grow up and develop in a home environment rather than an institution. There are approximately 20 million children without parents in India today. Of these, fewer than 1% have lost both parents. Most have been abandoned by their parents, fled or been saved from very difficult conditions, such as human trafficking, exploitation and crime. The fate of these children is the usually the consequence of extreme poverty, abuse, maltreatment and health problems. Their chances for growing up and developing to their full potential are very low.

The goal for the end of the project in 2022 is for the state in West Bengal to have better preconditions for providing preventative services for children at risk of abandonment or separation from their families.

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© UNICEF/Zambia/2016

UNICEF’s child protection programme in Zambia

UNICEF contributes via the child welfare program in Zambia to the establishment of a child welfare program which provides integrated, improved and just protection and defends children against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. The project is delivered via close collaboration with the Zambian government and other national and international partners. The results from 2021 include:

  • 116,914 children's births were registered at health centers.  Gaining legal identity helps children to access various basic rights in society throughout life.

  • 6,088 children in formal care now have a case file that aids child protection officials in ensuring protection and care for these children

  • 38,000 vulnerable children were supported with community-level child protection measures. This work was carried out by 1,800 trained community  volunteers

  • The new Child and Family Welfare Framework helps to bring essential social services to those who need them the most.


© UNICEF/UNI110305/Noorani

UNICEF's project to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Rwanda

After a successful, HAPPY supported UNICEF project in Vietnam, collaboration continues in the form of a three-year BF&HAPPY project in Rwanda. From a consortium of three Finnish families (Hartwall, Ahlström and Paulig — HAPPY), collaboration grew to include five families (Berner, Fazer, Hartwall, Ahlström, Paulig).

In 2020–2022 the BF&HAPPY supported project strives to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Rwanda. This happens by educating healthcare personnel working in maternity care and delivery. The project is implemented in 10 selected provinces in the country. The project also focuses on access to vital healthcare equipment for the care of infants. The COVID -19 pandemic caused some delays in the project’s implementation in 2020, but UNICEF’s national office in Rwanda is hopeful that it can catch up with the original schedule in 2021.

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© UNICEF/UNI110305/Noorani

Project WASH: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene in Madhya Pradesh,

India 2011-2014 

The Eva Ahlström Foundation, together with UNICEF Finland and Lindström supported UNICEF India to strengthen and scale up WASH in School programme in the state of Madhya Pradesh. UNICEF provided technical support to GoMP, to accelerate equitable and sustainable access and use of safe water and sanitation facilities in schools, combined with the adoption of critical hygiene behaviours. 


Innovative WASH-in-Schools approaches demonstrated in 150 schools and Anganwadi Centres as “model WASH schools”, benefited about 25,000 school and pre-school children and around 15,000 families. These demonstrations were very successfully used as a learning to influence government to scale up WASH in Schools in the state, using their own resources and institutional mechanism. The positive outcomes of the implementation of this project are not only seen in the 150 target schools but much beyond, at the state level. This project hugely influenced the Government’s priority to create a healthy learning environment in schools. It paved the way for the effective implementation of Child Friendly WASH components (as per the Right to Education act) across the State.  Furthermore, the Finnish NatCom supported project helped improve the enrolment rates of children in selected project schools (based on field report received from Guna and Shivpuri), especially of adolescent girls when reaching puberty, due to the improved, functional, child-friendly and gender-sensitive WASH facilities. Madhya Pradesh is one state where key components of project WASH in schools was  included in the monitoring system of the Government’s Education Department. This model has been much appreciated by Government of India with a request to all states to replicate the same.  The local government of Madhya Pradesh thereafter allocated 102 M USD for the implementation benefitting 10 million children.

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© UNICEF/UNI110305/Noorani

© UNICEF/Casati

Water and sanitation project WASH in Rajastan, India 2014–2017

The WASH project was piloted in 750 schools in two regions, Udaipur and Dungarpur. 93,000 children from 30,000 families benefited including tens of thousands of teachers. The model has also been copied by other regional authorities with a further 28,000 children being reached. The WASH project in Rajasthan and its positive results have convinced the local authorities so far to contribute over $4m (2015) to rolling out the results to other schools in the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign ”Clean India - Clean Schools” has similar aims and it is hoped that around 60,000 schools in Rajasthan will be able to benefit from the WASH-package, consisting of hygiene education, toilets, clean water and water racks.  The pupils are then given the task of spreading their knowledge to their families and their local communities. This has been proven to be the most effective way to disseminate knowledge. The Eva Ahlström Foundation was able to contribute to the project thanks to an earmarked donation of a total of €200,000 from Ahlström-Munksjö Abp over 2014-2017 

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© UNICEF/UNI110305/Noorani

© UNICEF/Casati

UNICEF International Council

The International Council is a global community of individuals and families who have made significant philanthropic commitments to UNICEF. As a select and motivated group of partners, Council Members aim to advance the rights of every child through their combined investment, influence and expertise. 

Being part of this community offers Council Members the opportunity to learn from each other and take on the most pressing challenges facing children to demonstrate how philanthropy can lead to solutions and a positive impact on the most vulnerable children. 

The Council hosts an annual symposium, as well as a mid-year meeting and other convenings around global events that provide Council Members the opportunity to learn from each other and discuss issues and exchange ideas with the UNICEF leadership team. 

Joining the International Council provides ways to become involved and influence a better future for children. The Council is led by a Steering Committee of committed donors who identify opportunities for collaboration such as joint investments and lend a voice to members’ events and convenings. The thematic working groups and priority projects offer individuals the opportunity to be more involved in the leadership and governance of the Council. 

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