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The UK Government today announced it will double all donations to Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day campaign, on Thursday 8th December, in response to a worsening food crisis across drought-hit East Africa.

The region is on the brink of its worst drought in decades, with an estimated more than seven million children facing extreme hunger across the region.

Every year in Kenya, 74,000 children die before reaching the age of five, with malnutrition lying at the root of half of all child deaths in the country.  As the country’s food crisis deepens, the UK Government’s funding through UK Aid Match will double every donation to Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day campaign, with 100% of this money going to health and nutrition programmes for vulnerable mothers and babies in rural communities.

Kenya’s Mandera and Turkana counties have some of the country’s worst malnutrition rates, and childhood illnesses are rife. Poor health services, the difficulty in reaching the area’s large numbers of nomadic pastoralists, and a lack of information for families on how best to keep their children healthy and well-nourished all combine to put thousands of children at risk.

The Government’s UK Aid Match funding will provide much-needed support for Save the Children’s work delivering life-saving prevention and treatment services for children with malnutrition and serious childhood illnesses. This will significantly reduce the number of babies and children dying of preventable causes in Kenya’s Mandera and Turkana counties.

Since launching a decade ago, Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day campaign has raised over £30 million for children in the UK and around the world, by calling on Brits across the country to wear their favourite Christmas Jumper and donate £2 to the charity.

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Minister, said:

“Women and children are facing a fight for survival in drought-hit East Africa. By signing up to Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day appeal this year you can help to provide life-saving nutrition and treatment services to the children who need it most, as conditions in the region continue to deteriorate. All donations before March 1 will be match funded by the UK Government.”

Claire Sanford, Deputy Humanitarian Director at Save the Children UK, said:

“There is illness everywhere in East Africa, linked to hunger and thirst. Children are drinking from drying riverbeds and wells normally reserved for livestock. We are also finding it harder and harder to treat unwell children, because families are continually on the move.

“A choice between a drink of water or antibiotics is not a choice. No human should be in this position. It’s not dignified, it’s not safe, it’s wrong.

“With the opportunity to raise double the funds for children experiencing hunger in Kenya, this year there’s even more reason to get involved in Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.”


Notes to Editors

The UK Government has committed to spending a total of £156 million in humanitarian support for crises in East Africa this financial year.When you donate to Christmas Jumper Day between 1st December and 1st March, your donation will be doubled by the UK government. 100% of match funding from the UK government will go directly towards supporting our project in Kenya, which will increase the quality and availability of essential maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services in Mandera and Turkana counties, Kenya.

Public donations raised through Christmas Jumper Day will go towards supporting Save the Children’s vital work in the UK and around the world, enabling us to make lasting change for the children who need it most.

To sign up, visit – www.christmasjumperday.org where you can also find the latest information about how to take part in Christmas Jumper Day.