World Vision launches Five for 5

  • December 4, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Canada should urge other governments at next summer’s G8 summit to fight child poverty and improve children’s health around the world, says World Vision advocate and Canadian singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane.

“Five years should not be a lifetime for a child,” Cochrane told The Catholic Register.

“We don’t accept that in Canada,” he said at the Nov. 26 launch of World Vision’s Five for 5 campaign in a room designed to look like an African-style clinic at Toronto’s downtown YMCA.

Cochrane said child deaths are preventable through access to clean water and basic health care. According to UNICEF, nearly nine million children under the age of five die each year from lack of access to clean water and basic health services. A majority are from the developing world.

World Vision’s Five for 5 is the first phase of a five-year campaign to improve child health globally and reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. The campaign is asking Canadians to help save a child’s life by taking five minutes to do five things: knowing the causes of child deaths and how they can be stopped, sending a message to one’s local MP, sharing the information with friends and family, joining World Vision’s Justice Network to stay connected to campaign updates and donating to World Vision or other organizations helping children and their families.

World Vision’s new campaign is calling on Canadians to urge the federal government to make child and maternal health the top priority at the June G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont., to significantly increase Canada’s funding support for programs to save the lives of women and children under the age of five and to call upon other countries to follow Canada’s lead.

In 1970, Canada first pledged to increase its foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of its gross national income to help eradicate global poverty. This promise has been re-iterated over the years by different governments. But Cochrane said successive federal governments, no matter their political stripe, have consistently failed to live up to their promise. The current foreign aid level sits at about 0.3 per cent of Canada’s national income.

World Vision president and CEO Dave Toycen says there is also a moral imperative to help children in the developing world, especially during this time of economic crisis, where many families are already coping with fewer resources.

According to a Nov. 26 Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by World Vision, 87 per cent of Canadians say despite the economic downturn Canada should keep its commitment to reduce child mortality.

The study says 91 per cent of Canadians polled believe that “we live in a world that has enough resources that children shouldn’t die of preventable causes.”

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