AAII and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have a long and successful relationship that includes formal accreditation. Early on, mutual recognition of shared priorities for the improvement of the lives of children forged a lasting partnership between AAII and UNICEF that manifests in programs and services designed to enrich children’s lives through health, education and protection.
AAII Founder and Chairman was frequently called upon by UNICEF as a featured speaker at UNICEF sponsored events, and issues of health, education, violence against children and the rights of children are integral parts of AAII programs, services and public service initiatives.
- AAII initiated a public service campaign to encourage breastfeeding.
- In 2000, UNICEF conferred the designation of “Baby Friendly Hospital” on AAII’s Shifa-al-Asqam Socio-Medical Center” in Medina-Kaolack, Senegal for its commitment to breastfeeding and refusal to accept formula manufacturers’ donations of prepared formula. This was the first such designation of a medical facility in the nation of Senegal.
- AAII participated in the Child Protection Meeting in Dakar, Senegal.
- AAII hosted the Regional Director of UNICEF in West Africa to discuss violence against children and child protection.
- In cooperation with UNICE, AAII initiated the campaign for the Education of the Girl Child in Northern Nigeria.
- AAII participated with UNICEF in preparation for the Session on Children held in New York in 2001.
- In cooperation with UNICEF, AAII mounted a campaign to fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which culminated in legislation that bans the practice in Senegal as a violation of human rights.
In 2008, AAII’s advocacy of one of UNICEF’s highest priority issues was recognized by the Senegalese Ministry of Health, which named AAII’s Founder and Chairman Ambassador of Good Will for the Promotion of Child Survival and Maternal Breastfeeding. This prestigious, three year renewable mandate will support AAII’s Founder and Chairman’s official missions to heighten public awareness of the health benefits breastfeeding affords infants and their mothers, and to explain the significance of breastfeeding in Islam.