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Help us support vanilla farming communities in Madagascar

Unilever, Symrise and GIZ join forces with us to support livelihoods in the Sava region of Madagascar.

Unilever and Walls logos - Save the Children partners

Unilever, its supplier Symrise and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, have joined forces with us to help improve the livelihoods of vanilla farming communities in the Sava region, Madagascar. The development partnership is supported through the develoPPP.de programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Our programme, which launched in 2016, aims to help improve the livelihoods of vanilla farming communities of Sava region, Madagascar, and break the cycle of poverty that gets transferred from one generation to the next. Over the next three years, the programme aims to reach 50,000 people in 10,000 households, across 70 villages.

Together with local partners, Unilever, Symrise, GIZ and Save the Children will take a holistic approach to deliver activities aiming to tackle some of the complex social and economic issues in these communities that lead to a cycle of poverty from generation to generation.

This summer we’re so excited to be a part of Walls’ Vanilla for Change campaign, which helps bring to life the amazing impact we’re having in Madagascar, to consumers here in the UK!

This partnership builds on earlier work between Unilever, Symrise and GIZ between 2013-2016, which helps vanilla farmers to improve farming practices so they can build more stable businesses and secure regular incomes to support themselves and their families

The programme will also include research in to how the vanilla industry affects children’s lives, so that findings can be shared with the wider vanilla industry to guide improved market practices in the interests of children.

The programme supports Unilever to secure a more sustainable and reliable supply of natural vanilla, and contributes to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commitment to have a positive impact on the lives of 5.5 million people, including smallholder farmers, by 2020. 

This innovative partnership supports Global Goal #17 - “Partnerships for the Goals” - and has the potential to be transformational as it aims to ensure that improved livelihoods lead to more inclusive communities and better opportunities for children.  

Helping communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters

In addition to our new partnership in Madagascar, Save the Children, in partnership with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, is working with Unilever under their Disasters and Emergency strategy, to pilot an innovative training programme, initially in the Philippines, for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business leaders to build grass-roots preparedness capacity in disaster-prone regions.

Disasters cause huge disruption to local supply chains and markets, with knock on impacts for global businesses, including Unilever. By investing in resilience and preparedness, we aim to help reduce the time taken for local communities and businesses to recover following a disaster.

Improving child survival – EVERYONE Partnership 2012 - 2015

Unilever have been supporting us since 2012 when they made a ground breaking three-year commitment to Save the Children’s global child survival campaign, EVERY ONE, which aimed to save millions of lives through inspiring urgent action towards eradicating mortality among mothers and children in support of reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

As a lead global partner of this campaign, Unilever worked with us to stop the needless deaths of millions of children and their mothers around the world.

In partnership with Unilever, we have expanded work on the ground and advocated with governments, helping to catalyse a movement for global breakthroughs on child survival. Unilever’s support has enabled us to achieve remarkable results for children.

Together we have:

  • Reached over 1.4 million women and children directly and more than 42 million people indirectly with improved health, hygiene or nutrition services.
  • Trained 8,200 health workers and improved 553 health clinics.
  • Tested and demonstrated innovative approaches to nutrition and livelihoods programming, which has enabled us to leverage multi-million pound support from institutional partners for continued programmes which aim to break the intergenerational cycle of under-nutrition in Bangladesh.


Last updated July 2019.

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