The acclaimed actress Mia Farrow leaves for Guinea tomorrow in her real-life role as United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador to boost funding for maternal and child health in a country where youngsters are among those most seriously hurt by recent political and economic turmoil.
The resurgence of deadly childhood diseases and the rise in the number of school drop-outs are storm warnings, " UNICEF country representative Julien Harneis said ahead of Ms. Farrow`s five-day visit. The future for children in this country will be even worse if there is not more investment, and bigger efforts to respond to their needs. "
Repeated shocks since 2006 have weakened basic social services, making children even more vulnerable. Presidential elections are now scheduled for 27 June as part of an effort to restore stability after the most recent unrest when military forces, which seized power in a 2008 coup after the death of long-time president Lansana ContÃ©, opened fire on unarmed protesters at a rally last year, killing at least 150 people.
During her mission, which will take her to Conakry, the capital, and Nzerekore, Kissidougou and Koyoma in the Forest Guinea region, Ms. Farrow will visit a number of health facilities to highlight the need for sustained investment in maternal and child health. She will also deliver new medicine kits to the health ministry to help efforts to ensure that essential drugs are available at primary health-care centres.
Ms. Farrow, who focuses on children impacted by conflict, will also meet with youth groups and launch a UN Peacebuilding Fund project that seeks to encourage young people to find peaceful ways to resolve conflicts and lessen their risk of being caught up in violence.
Too many people in Guinea have experienced violence at first hand, and it is intended that the visit will also include meetings with women who have experienced sexual and domestic violence, " UNICEF said in a news release on the trip which will also focus on education. Ms. Farrow will see how a lack of investment in past years has led to overcrowding in classrooms. She will also see some of the solutions available to ensure active learning.