Nearly 17,000 Icelanders are so-called World Parents with UNICEF and support the charity with a monthly direct donation from their bank accounts. A UNICEF report states that Iceland has proportionately more World Parents than any other country — around five percent of the whole population.
The money UNICEF raises from its supporters goes to help some of the poorest children in the world. Despite the financial crisis, Icelanders have maintained their resolve to help the least privileged children in some of the world’s most underdeveloped countries; children struggling against malnutrition, the effects of war and natural disasters. Many do not have access to clean drinking water and many others are at serious risk from malaria, measles, pneumonia, polio and other curable diseases.
The number of UNICEF World Parents in Iceland has been increasing steadily, despite the ongoing economic difficulties, DV reported.
At the recent UNICEF AGM, held in Bern, Iceland was recognised as the country with the greatest increase in donations in 2010 in the small countries category. In 2010, Icelanders gave UNICEF around USD 6 for every man, woman and child in the country.
World Parents’ donations are sent to where they are needed most and continue to help children all over the world. In 2010, UNICEF distributed 40 million doses of malaria medicine in 30 countries and 2.3 billion vaccines in nearly 100 countries.
The first Icelandic World Parents began helping UNICEF in 2004 and thousands have joined the group since. Former president Vigdis Finnbogadottir is their patron.