ESCP Students Partner With UNICEF to Tackle Child Poverty |

ESCP Students Partner With UNICEF to Tackle Child Poverty

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated Updated

Over the past few years we’ve seen a spike in the number of business school students making more ethical choices, in both their studies and their careers post-graduation. And ESCP Business School students are no exception.

In October 2020, ESCP Business School’s London campus launched the ‘UNICEF ESCP London Society’ in an effort to take a stand for children’s rights.

Through the society, ESCP works alongside UNICEF to build stronger children's health, education, safety and nutrition, as well as provide water sanitation systems for the future.

TopMBA spoke with Anna Lelorieux, chairwoman of the ESCP Unicef Society, to get some insight into the society and its partnership.

The lowdown

Anna Lelorieux ESCP London UNICEFSince its launch in October 2020, UNICEF ESCP London Society has grown to include 19 members, despite the challenges of having to operate remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Anna (pictured) said: “It is hard to make people sensitive to a cause over distance, but my role has mainly been to motivate my fellows [and show] that what we do changes lives and that we must carry on.

“[Our members] are from six different countries, some have volunteered before, some haven’t. We’re from different backgrounds and cultures but our objective is the same: help every child in danger.”

Anna says by joining the society, members become a children’s champion – a children’s rights ambassador who must be committed to the cause. Anna said: “Each of us belong to a committee and we work with team members to come up with ideas, developing projects to raise funds and awareness.

“We apply four principles: communication, high standards, reactivity and coordination.”

Why launch it?

Anna says the impact of COVID-19 made her realize some children were far more at risk than they were at the start of 2020. She said: “While we, ESCP students, have access to quality learning, hundreds of millions of children are not learning.

“More than 825 million children in the world won’t even achieve secondary level skills. The UNICEF ESCP London society gives us the opportunity to take a stand and raise funds and awareness for every child in danger.

“Due to the UK national lockdowns, the society found it even more important to fight for kids in danger whether they are malnourished, unsafe, unhealthy or not educated well.”

Anna says the society is important as children’s rights matter – and must be protected, as unfortunately, children’s rights aren’t automatic in every country.

She said: “Many of us live in developed countries and don’t realize how critical the situation is in many countries around the world.

“One in five school-aged children are not in school at all, and one in three children are stunted, wasted, malnourished.

“Since the start of the pandemic, children have faced a rise in multidimensional poverty (no access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation or water) by 15 percent. This is not normal.

“Before, I would have cared about the closure of restaurants and shops, now I realize that millions of kids are out there, living in environments that have never been worse. Children are the future of humanity, we must act now to save lives.”

Anna and her fellow society members believe they can change the world one step at a time. She said: “Our generation is the most connected, most outspoken and most open-minded the world has ever seen. By raising awareness and by becoming speakers we can make a better world.”

Expanding knowledge

The society organizes events – like hiking in southern England in October – to engage students and raise funds.

Participants often donate more than asked, which Anna takes as a sign that there’s a real interest and belief in what UNICEF does. Even during uncertain times, students want to give back.

Anna said: “The November national lockdown was hard for us but we still managed to organize many things online.

“We provided exam summaries to ESCP students and it went far above our expectations, spreading to France, Germany, Spain and Italy!

“World Children’s Day, November 20th, was the most important date for us so far. We got the opportunity to raise our voices, to give interviews, and to speak out for children in danger through media campaigns and articles.”

UNICEF doesn’t receive any funding from the United Nations, relying solely on private donations, volunteering campaigns and business partnerships. That’s why partnerships with groups like ESCP are invaluable – as they increase visibility and raise awareness.

In fact, the UNICEF ESCP London team has joined forces with ESCP Biz’ Tech society to offer consulting services in exchange for companies’ donations.

The partnership’s mission

ESCP and UNICEF have made it their mission to ensure all children learn, to close the digital divide, and to ensure access for children to health and nutrition services.

Anna said: “This year has been very difficult for children around the world. More than 2.4 million children (17%) in the UK grow up in food-insecure households.

“For the first time in its 70-year history, UNICEF had to respond to a UK “domestic emergency.

“School meals are often paid by the government, and when the country entered national lockdown, millions of children were deprived of their lunches.”

The UNICEF ESCP London society is trying to see how to partner with local associations to help communities in need. Anna said: “We are more than lucky to get quality education, to be safe and nourished. We must help in one way or another because children are the future of humanity.”

The society’s media campaigns also emphasize the importance of saving the COVID-19 generation.

In 2020, UNICEF launched its largest-ever appeal to help tackle the impact of coronavirus on children and families around the world. With schools closed, UNICEF has already reached 224m children with distance or home-based learning. Anna said: “We are here for children always and we won’t stop now.”

Big plans for the future

The UNICEF ESCP Society launched its Paris branch on January 1, 2021 and the whole society is looking forward to making their mark in the world

Anna said: “We are facing a complicated and psychologically-intense crisis, but we must not forget that we are among the most privileged.

“We want to organize conferences cross campuses to engage students because we all have the power to speak up, and to build a better world together.

“In the future we would like to increase our audience. UNICEF benefits from its huge marketing campaigns but we, as a team, would like to speak directly with people, engage them and make them contribute to a great cause.”

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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