17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday announced that she was donating $100,00 in prize money she had received from the Danish NGO Human Act to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support their work helping children hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis,” Thunberg said in the UNICEF statement.
“It will affect all children, now and in the long term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most. I’m asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health and continue education,” Thunberg said.
According to UNICEF, Human Act will be matching Thunberg’s donation, putting the total amount raised to $200,000. The amount will go towards a newly-launched campaign by UNICEF and its partners to “reach millions of children who are out of school with educational resources, social protection and ongoing essential healthcare” in over 190 countries. The proceeds will go directly towards UNICEF's emergency programmes to fight COVID-19, including the provision of soap, masks, gloves, hygience kits, protective equipment, life-saving information and other support to healthcare systems, the UNICEF press release said.
“Greta Thunberg received the Human Act Award 2020 on Earth Day, 22 April 2020, along with a donation of US$100,000 to her foundation, which it will donate to UNICEF. Human Act is doubling Greta's donation—and the total sum of US$200,000 has been donated to support UNICEF’s ongoing work fighting coronavirus,” UNICEF said.
UNICEF executive director Henrietta H. Foe tweeted in support of Thunberg, saying “@GretaThunberg has proven that young people are ready to take a stand & lead change in the world. @UNICEF is very pleased that Greta & her supporters have not only chosen to take a stand against the #COVID19 pandemic, but to do so in partnership with us.”
UNICEF has called the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic a “double emergency” because of the effect the virus and subsequent national lockdowns have had on children already living through conflict and struggling to access essential services.
In an April 20 press release, the heads of multiple UN agencies including UNESCO called for funding of $2 billion for the UN’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan announced in March to boost the global response against the virus, including humanitarian aid and support programmes like the World Food Programme.
Thunberg has continued to advocate against climate change, taking her weekly Fridays for Future rallies online, warning that global warming "is not slowing down".