Beyoncé and her foundation BeyGOOD announced a new initiative at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Friday morning.
The pop has leveraged on her superstar power in a new philanthropic effort to bring safe, clean water to children in Burundi in a partnership with UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency.
The artist’s organization is teaming with UNICEF to help raise money to help bring more clean water to citizens of Burundi. There are also two limited edition shirts for sale, the sales of which will benefit UNICEF’s support of Burundi.
The BEYGOOD4BURUNDI project plans to help build wells and improve hygiene education and water and sanitation facilities in schools, UNICEF and the U.S. star said in online statements.
Two in five people in Burundi in East Africa have no access to clean water, and water- and sanitation-related diseases are among the leading causes of death among children in the nation of 12 million people, they said.
“Access to water is a fundamental right. When you give children clean and safe water, you don’t just give them life, you give them health, an education, and a brighter future,” Beyonce, 35, said in the statement.
Beyonce, 35, said more than two million people in Burundi spend more than 30 minutes a day collecting water, forcing children to miss school and putting girls in particular danger as they walk miles in search of wells.
A post on Beyoncé’s website explains the new charitable effort. “Burundi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa with nearly half of the population lacking access to clean, safe drinking water,” it says. “With your help, nearly half a million people will gain access to safe water, as BEYGOOD4BURUNDI and UNICEF will support building water supply systems for healthcare facilities and schools, and the drilling of boreholes, wells and springs to bring safe water to districts.”
“This unique partnership combines UNICEF’s decades of expertise in providing clean water to children in Burundi and around the world with the power and influence of the entertainment world to bring about social change,” said Caryl Stern, chief executive of UNICEF USA, in a statement.
The first phase of BEYGOOD4BURUNDI focuses on four rural regions of the landlocked East African nation that has been racked by civil unrest and violence as well as drought and malnutrition.
No statement was made when as regards how much money the entertainer and UNICEF were putting toward the water project, neither the agency nor a representative for Beyonce responded immediately to requests for information.