|COVID-19 is, without question, the biggest global emergency the world has faced since World War II. Vaccines – delivered through the COVAX Facility – are the key to finding a way out of the crisis.
UNICEF is the only global organisation equipped to deliver an operation of this size. Utilising an existing global infrastructure that has provided humanitarian aid and development programmes for children worldwide 75 years, UNICEF is currently leading the supply of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE), tests and treatments to frontline workers, teachers and those at highest risk of infection, many of them in the hardest to reach places on the planet.
This is the biggest health and logistics operation in history. UNICEF is working round the clock to make sure systems are ready and all the equipment is in place to distribute the vaccines. The plan is ambitious, the scale and speed unprecedented.
Now, the European Tour players have the opportunity to do their part on the golf course through the ‘Every Birdie Counts’ campaign, which is an integral part of the Tour’s overarching CSR Programme ‘Golf for Good’.
From now until the end of the season – and also counted retrospectively from January – every birdie made in tournaments on the European Tour will see the Tour contribute €1 to the campaign, every eagle seeing €10 donated and every albatross netting €1000.
Every birdie could provide four face masks to keep health workers safe as they vaccinate their communities, while every eagle will result in a donation to UNICEF which could cover the in-country delivery costs to fully vaccinate a frontline worker against Covid-19.
UNICEF will be the sole charitable beneficiary of the ‘Every Birdie Counts’ campaign across the entire European Tour season, outside of the four Rolex Series events, where charities nominated by tournament sponsors and partners of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, the BMW PGA Championship and the DP World Tour Championship will also benefit.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “One of the key pillars of the Golf for Good initiative we launched last year is our support for worthy causes and communities around the world – I can’t think of a more appropriate, or indeed necessary cause to support under that banner right now than UNICEF and their key role as part of the COVAX Facility.
“The work UNICEF have done for the past 75 years and are currently doing in the battle against the pandemic is extraordinary and we are delighted to be able to offer our support, and the support of our players, in any way we can.
“Every birdie, eagle or albatross made by any of our players in a tournament is a special moment; this announcement today has just given a greater resonance and meaning to each and every one.”
Gordon Glick, Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), said: “The European Tour’s support of UNICEF’s COVAX appeal is helping ensure rapid and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines – irrespective of a country’s wealth. By supporting UNICEF, the European Tour is helping the overall effort to procure and deliver two billion doses of life-saving vaccines for all 191 countries participating in the COVAX Facility, including those already facing humanitarian challenges. Together, we can deliver the world’s largest vaccination campaign, in record time, and build a brighter future for the world’s children.’
One European Tour member eager to pledge his support to the campaign is England’s Paul Casey, who as well as being a 15-time European Tour champion and four-time Ryder Cup player, is also a UNICEF Supporter.
Casey said: “UNICEF does amazing work that is not often seen and if I can do anything to help, it is to raise awareness of what the child rights agency do around the world which, in turn, will hopefully lead to funds being raised so the teams can carry on their efforts.
“What UNICEF are doing now on behalf of the COVAX Facility is crucial, delivering two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, most notably in very hard-to-reach places. Those vaccines will be used for to health workers, social workers and teachers – the people in high-risk areas, as well as the most vulnerable.
“If they succeed, families will finally be able to regain vital access to health, nutrition and protection services that have been compromised during the pandemic. Vulnerable children will be able to return to their schools. The future of the next generation is at risk here and UNICEF can play a massive role in addressing that.”