Pampers-UNICEF Make a Difference Movement
On Friday October 21, 2011, I attended the Pampers-UNICEF bloggers event for their Make a Difference Movement. I’ve never attended a bloggers event before, so I had no idea what to expect. Knowing that this event had a big corporate sponsor like Pampers, I was worried that there would be a sense of obligation afterwards to write lengthy glowing reviews of Pampers products – kind of like a thank you for paying for my flights, and for inviting me in the first place.
I needn’t have worried. The day was all about UNICEF and the incredible work that they do, helping children around the world. For those of you, who like me, have no idea what a bloggers event might entail, I’m writing this post to describe the day to you. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about the Pampers-UNICEF campaign, explaining how you too can get involved and help make a difference.
The day started early with the alarm going off at 5am, and again at 5.15, when I dragged myself out of bed. By the time the taxi arrived just before 6am, I was washed, dressed, and fed, and ready for the day! (I guess there are some advantages to having a toddler who is a painfully early riser! A 5am start isn’t that unusual!)
At the airport, I met Hazel from HotCrossMum, Sandra from MummyPages.ie, and Chris from Pampers Ireland. A short plane and train journey later, we found ourselves at Paddington Station, hailing a taxi to take us to the UNICEF offices. There we were greeted with a welcome cup of tea and some breakfast, and we had the chance to chat to some of the UK Mummy Bloggers who were also attending the event. Michelle from NewIrishMammy joined us there also – she had flown in the previous evening from Cork.
Over the course of the day, we heard from a number of UNICEF employees, and we also heard from Catherine McMahon, from Pampers PR, and Tara Cain, who blogs at Sticky Fingers, and who recently joined a UNICEF team on a trip to Indonesia, where she witnessed the great work that the people at UNICEF do firsthand. You can read some of her experiences here: The Photo Gallery: Inspirational People
Before we broke for lunch, Jane Kellas (who is a Programme Specialist in Child Survival and Development) split us into two groups and set us a task. Given a map of a remote island village, and a list of potential supplies, as well as some other information about influential people in the village and surrounding area, we had to plan the setup for a vaccination clinic in the village.
It sounded easy, until we started discussing all the considerations. It’s an island village so we have to arrive by boat. And we’ll have to walk from the boat to wherever we set up the clinic.
What time of day should we set it up?
Should we meet in the shade beneath the trees at the chief’s house? Or in the Community Meeting Point, or at the small health post? What about the marketplace?
How will we ensure everyone knows about the clinic?
How many people do we need to bring? Do we need a doctor or will a volunteer healthworker do?
Will we encounter much opposition or superstition, and who do we need buy-in from locally to help counter that? The local community leader? The local religious leader?
Very quickly our 15 minutes were up. We explained our choices to Jane, and then she told us how a clinic would be planned and set up in reality. She explained to us that as well as vaccines, the UNICEF team would administer Vitamin A tablets to prevent blindness (or other supplements, depending on what the people in a given area were lacking in their diets), they would provide water purification tablets to families with unclean water sources, and they’d bring along oral rehydration salts for treating children with diarrhoea. As Jane explained how, unless you treat the child’s dehydration then and there, that child may die before the next UNICEF team visit to the area.
After lunch, as Tara from Sticky Fingers related her experience to us, and then later as we heard Michael Newsome, Director of Individual Giving at UNICEF tell us of his experiences, we were left with a strong feeling that “This matters.” What the people at UNICEF do every day changes lives. And now we have an opportunity to help them – in a small way, but help them nonetheless.
So what can we do? How are we going to help? Over the next couple of months, I’ll be working with Hazel from HotCrossMum, Sandra from MummyPages.ie, and Michelle from NewIrishMammy, to raise awareness in Ireland about the Pampers-UNICEF Make a Difference Movement, and to encourage everyone to help make a difference. And at the same time, bloggers all over the UK will be doing the same there.
So what can you do to make a difference?
You can buy a Pampers product that has the “1 pack = 1 life-saving vaccine” declarations on it. Each product sold with that declaration equates to a single vaccine being donated to UNICEF. However, I know that not everyone uses nappies – or uses Pampers for that matter. So for those of you who don’t, there are other ways in which you can help.
Like the Pampers Facebook page = 1 vaccine.
Personalise your own Miffy story = 1 vaccine.
Download the free Pampers Out and About iPhone app = 1 vaccine.
What are you waiting for?