Kiwanis Worldwide Service Projects
In 1994, Kiwanis adopted its first Worldwide Service Project, a $75 million campaign in partnership with the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Iodine deficiency is rare in areas where iodized salt is used, but in other parts of the world, IDD is the leading cause of preventable mental and physical retardation. The fund-raising goal was exceeded with over $105 million raised, officially ending in 2005. Kiwanis-raised funds are now at work in more than 90 nations, and these IDD programs are saving millions of children per year from mental retardation.
The Eliminate Project
Starting in 2010, with The Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. This deadly disease steals the lives of nearly 60,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year. The effects of the disease are excruciating — tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch.
To eliminate MNT from the Earth, 129 million mothers and their future babies must be immunized. This requires vaccines, syringes, safe storage, transportation, thousands of skilled staff and more. It will take US$110 million — and the dedicated work of UNICEF and every member of the Kiwanis family. To date, Kiwanis has generated more than $70 million from all sources, saving millions of mothers and children.
Kiwanis and UNICEF joined forces to tackle iodine deficiency disorders, achieving one of the most significant public health successes of the 20th century. Now, they are eliminating MNT from the face of the Earth. And in doing so, the project will reach the poorest, most neglected mothers and babies with additional lifesaving health care. The end of this one disease means the beginning of better health for so many families.