Omo’s new initiative to help 10 million children
‘Learning for Tomorrow’ providing access to quality education
The right to an education was enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Yet despite this international recognition of a child’s unalienable right to a primary education, 58 million school-aged children today still have no access to school. Another 130 million who stay in education until grade four (aged 9–10) will fail to gain the basic reading, writing and maths skills they need to reach their full potential.
It’s this that Omo (known as Persil in the UK and Surf Excel in India) is addressing through its new Learning for Tomorrow initiative, which will give millions of children access to quality education for the first time.
Investing in the future
Launched this summer in partnership with UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, the Learning for Tomorrow initiative is funded with an initial €1.4 million donation from Omo and Unilever Global Partnerships, which will contribute to UNICEF’s education programmes around the world.
“For much of its history, Omo has helped parents prepare their children for the future by encouraging them to learn and develop by exploration and experimentation, with no worries of getting dirty. Child development has always been at the heart of our brand,” says Aline Santos, Global Senior Vice President for Omo. “The Omo Learning for Tomorrow initiative with UNICEF is part of our commitment to ensure every child has the chance to experience quality education, broaden their life skills and begin building their own bright future.”
The initial phase will focus on providing help across Brazil, India and Vietnam before expanding to further markets in 2016 and beyond.
“Education is a human right. It is also one of the most powerful tools for creating economic growth,” says Jorge Olague, UNICEF Head of Private Sector Fundraising. “But childhood learning is facing a crisis. Millions of children are out of school and for many, they sit in a classroom each day but do not receive the quality education they need to attain their full potential.
"Access to education of poor quality is tantamount to no education at all. UNICEF welcomes this partnership as a means of advancing childhood development through quality education and helping us ensure that no child is left behind.”
No child left behind
Learning for Tomorrow will focus not only on getting children into school for longer, but also on ensuring that the education they get there is of the best possible quality. The wide range of projects supported by Learning for Tomorrow aims to create long-lasting improvements in education through a variety of schemes including teacher training, literacy activities and child inclusion programmes tailored to meet the specific needs of the country’s children.
In Brazil, social mobilisation and communication campaigns will address the challenge of out-of-school children, and a programme in the Amazon will promote a child’s right to education in the area. In India, programmes will promote inclusion and gender equality amongst students, as well as improve teacher training and retention in remote areas. And in Vietnam, programmes will provide national education planning, and support disadvantaged children.
“Every child has the right to a quality education and the life opportunities it can bring,” says Nitin Paranjpe, President of Home Care Business for Unilever. “Working with UNICEF on the Learning for Tomorrow initiative is a way for us to help every child get in school and feel ready to build a bright and secure future for themselves. It is also another example of how Unilever is using partnerships with other organisations to make a positive and lasting social impact all over the world.”