Unicef hosts virtual baby shower in honour of Shakira baby

World-famous singer-songwriter and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué are inviting friends and fans today to join their online baby shower - in support of the world’s most vulnerable babies.

"To celebrate the arrival of our first child, we hope that, in his name, other less privileged children in the world can have their basic needs covered through gifts and donations," reads the invitation from Shakira and Gerard. "Thank you for sharing this unforgettable moment with us."

Expecting their first baby, the couple decided to share the excitement using innovative social media tools. The online baby shower engages social media fans by welcoming them to visit Shakira and Gerard’s virtual living room. There, guests can learn about the issue of child survival and purchase an ‘Inspired Gift’ to help give babies around the world a healthy start to life. UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts are real, life-saving items distributed to children and communities in some of the poorest corners of the globe.

At the baby shower, Inspired Gifts cost as little as US$5 ($5.83NZD-), which can buy a mosquito net to ensure a sleeping child stays safe from malaria, one of the leading causes of child deaths worldwide. For US$10 ($11.96NZD-) guests can buy polio vaccines to protect 17 children from contracting this incurable viral infection, while US$37 ($44.63NZD-) purchases a baby-weighing scale to monitor growth in the first critical years of life.

The highest ticket item is US$110 ($131.56NZD-) is for life-saving Therapeutic Food, a peanut-based paste that can save an acutely malnourished child. Malnutrition is a constant threat to children in many regions of the world and contributes to half of all child deaths.

"Every expectant parent around the world shares all the same hopes and dreams for their children that we do," said Shakira. "Yet many don’t share the same opportunities. Together we know we can change that."

The interactive living room is a unique window into Shakira’s work with UNICEF and takes social media engagement to a new level. Guests are welcomed by a personal video message from Shakira and Gerard. After purchasing an Inspired Gift, they will then receive a personal thank you message from the couple. Additionally, never before seen photos of Shakira and Gerard, taken in December 2012 by Jaume Laiguana, are featured in the Baby Shower’s photo gallery.

The link to the Shakira and Gerard Pique’s Virtual Baby Shower is here: http://uni.cf/baby

Some 19,000 children under the age of five still die globally every day from largely preventable causes. The Inspired Gifts, given in this unique way, will undoubtedly help save more lives. Under-five mortality has dropped from nearly 12 million in 1990 to less than 6.9 million in 2011. But much more can be done, and innovative projects like Shakira and Gerard’s virtual baby shower with UNICEF will contribute to reducing unacceptably high levels of child mortality.

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