While on the MSC cruise ship Divina a few weeks ago, I was pleased to learn of their partnership with UNICEF. Beginning in 2009, MSC launched their “Get on Board for Children” program. By joining forces and encouraging guests on board the 12 MSC cruise ships to contribute, MSC recently donated $4.1 million to UNICEF.
“MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates, and as such we are proud to have strengthened our partnership with UNICEF. Together, we can make a difference.” Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises
MSC’s partnership with UNICEF is growing. In January of this year, they started a new life-saving partnership to provide assistance to malnourished children by delivering Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, or RUTF, to treat malnutrition in developing countries and in nations affected by war and crisis. While on board any of the 12 ships in MSC’s fleet, you can see an example of the RUTF in a case on the counter at reception.
By donating just $1.50 to “Get on Board for Children”, MSC guests can help buy three meals of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food. A full treatment to save a child’s life in four to six weeks costs approximately $56.00. As CEO Gianni Onorato explains,
“Around three sachets a day for four to six weeks can put a child out of harm’s way and with the generosity of our on board guests, we will do our best to save and improve as many lives as possible.”
The RUTF is essential is combating the severe affects of malnutrition on young children. Famine claims the lives of over one million children worldwide and stunts the mental and physical growth of many more. Supported by the World Health Organization, the paste-like food is proven to treat severe malnutrition and to save a child’s life without hospitalization.
MSC cruises has set the goal to raise $2.5 million or more between 2014-2017. In addition to donations from passengers, MSC Cruises also organizes educational activities in the children’s program on board raising awareness about the needs of children around the world. Each cruise has a special “UNICEF Day” for the kids that includes games, a parade, and each child receives a UNICEF World Citizen Passport, engaging them to become ambassadors for the rights and needs of children worldwide.
Each passenger is encouraged to donate $1.50 toward the production and distribution of the life-saving food, but there is no limit on what you can give. To learn more, visit their website where a brief video explains the program.