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

© 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.