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Celebrating more than 16 years of working together in India

IKEA Foundation and UNICEF have been working together for the past 16 years in India for building an enabling environment that can support the holistic development of children. This 16 year-long partnership presents a successful model of collaboration between a development organisation and a corporate foundation, wherein the two entities have grown together, streamlined their resources and built on their sector expertise to support each other in developing innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions for children in India.

The IKEA Foundation has been supporting long-term programmes to help poor children and families in India since 2000. The IKEA Foundation’s current work grew from IKEA’s efforts to fight child labour in its supply chain to more sustained efforts in strengthening systems and scaling up programmes basis evidence. Early on in the endeavour, IKEA learned that to prevent child labour it is vital to address the root causes of why children work and other underlying issues that impact lives of children.

The shared commitment of IKEA Foundation and UNICEF towards India’s Children that began as independent time-bound projects to address the issue of child labour has evolved into a journey full of progressive, sustainable and scalable models of successes and lessons leading to policy influences at the national level. The two partners in this 16 years’ journey leveraged their strengths to impact the lives of millions of children in India. The partnership has stayed focused on global goals for children as defined by MDG’s and now the SDG’s ensuring children across India increasingly realise their rights.

 Key results achieved for children in last 16 years in India 

  • Infant mortality rate reduced from 68 in 2000 to 37 in 2015
  • Stunting reduced from 48.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 38.7 per cent in 2013-14
  • Out-of-School Children have reduced by nearly 4 per cent

Multiple initiatives addressing child rights and child survival across multiple geographies 

Beginning with one program in Uttar Pradesh in 2000, currently, integrated programmes are in operation across 14  states of India. Starting with a project to address child labour issues in UP through mainstreaming out of school children and empowering women self-help groups through credit assistance and market access. This program was further extended to the cotton belt in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. To address the issues of poor infant mortality and under 5 mortality rates, initiatives on increasing immunisation coverage, accelerating use ORS and a focus on neonatal care were undertaken in 14 states across the country.

Today, IKEA Foundation supports programmes of UNICEF in 14 states and these support the entire lifecycle approach of a child from -0.9 to 18 years aimed to break the intergenerational cycle and strengthening programmes that impact children across the framework of their rights – of survival, development, protection and participation.

Innovations and evidence-based program models

Several Innovations and evidence-based models were developed that could be scaled up and replicated. For instance, under the Child Survival project, the concept of Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCU)- a centre with neo-natal facilities, was developed in consultation with Government of India and the National Neonatology Forum. Three SNCUs were piloted in Madhya Pradesh. SNCU emerged as a key innovation adopted and scaled by the national government. The pilot demonstrated the results and today India has 548 number of SNCU’s that have been scaled up by the Government. SNCU’s is just an example. Similar scale ups can be seen across all other programmes.

Karin Hulshof, Regional Director, East Asia & Pacific highlighted during one of the interactions, “If IKEA Foundation wouldn’t have invested in the first three SNCUs, there wouldn’t have been 548 SNCUs across the country today. The SNCU model emerged as one of the most widely accepted public health models in India” 

Watch IKEA Foundation Work in India 


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Feature Stories 

Finding Innovative Ways of Putting Child Labourers Back in School 

IKEA SUNNAN Lamps Light Up Students’ Lives in India 

IKEA UNICEF launch initiative against child labour in Andhra Pradesh - 

In rural India's 'cotton corridor,' UNICEF and IKEA partner to tackle child labour

Small Steps Bring a Big Change

No Way but Onwards!

Necessity Leads to Ingenuity!

Many Goals to Achieve, Many Mountains to Climb

Giving Menstrual Hygiene Management its Due Dignity

Click to read all Feature Stories 

Photo Essay 

Flying with new wings
Today, Savita has topped her class. She is the envy of her friends and cynosure of her sister-in-law, Mahima. More importantly, she is a harbinger of change for children whom she teaches and is trying hard to get other out-of-school children back into school. For four years, Savita’s tender hands dug trenches, planted trees and carved stones. Thanks to IKEA Foundation- UNICEF India partnership and girls like Mahima, who is a member of the Child Protection Committee, thousands of girls like Savita are now back in school in Uttar Pradesh
As a part of the long-term partnership between the IKEA Social Initiative and UNICEF, the SUNNAN lamps are helping to bring the light of education and knowledge into the lives of thousands of children in India.

Healthy Hygiene Key for Girls Education
Adequate sanitation facilities and healthy nutrition has a positive impact on girls’ attendance in schools. Providing private and separate latrines in school and iron rich food increases the girls’ attendance rates.
An estimated 414,000 children, mainly girls, are working in India’s cotton industry. A IKEA’s Social Initiative program in partnership with UNICEF and government of India is helping thousands of such children in Raichur district in Karnataka to once again get the chance to stop work and attend school.
Routine immunization coverage is critical for children to have adequate immunity against polio and other childhood diseases. UNICEF, with funds from the IKEA Social Initiative, is working to implement a 10-Point Child Friendly Agenda, which includes immunisation as a key priority, in the slums of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Supporting Proper Breastfeeding Practices
Thanks to Bilkani Sangha and about 9,000 other “anganwadior female health and childcare workers in villages in Jharkhand, about 1.3 million families are now getting support for proper breastfeeding practices. his support has been strengthened by funding of IKEA’s Social Initiative in partnership with UNICEF, the state and Indian government.


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