O'Donnel and Malawi Initiative Team Up for K.I.N.D

O'Donnel and Malawi Initiative Team Up for K.I.N.D

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, host of 'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' announced a partnership today with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to provide desks to Malawi schools.

O'Donnell went to Malawi this summer and obtained desks for one classroom. He then developed a plan with UNICEF to help continue to supply desks to Malawi classrooms through a fundraising drive on his show. The Malawian education system is plagued by several factors, including: the lack of classrooms and overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of qualified teachers and a profound scarcity of teaching and learning materials, including school furniture. The scarcity of furniture and supplies has severely impeded Malawi's educational system by decreasing the participation of children in school. In most Malawi classrooms children sit on the floor because most classrooms have no chairs and desks.

"There is a major education crisis in Malawi and after seeing the conditions firsthand, I am compelled to try to help.  Malawi schoolchildren endure terrible classroom conditions. With this campaign, I hope to help bring them the basics for a good learning environment," said O'Donnell.

This unique partnership between MSNBC and the U.S. Fund will specifically target the latter, by providing 172 schools with desks in four of Malawi's priority districts: Blantyre Rural, Dedza, Kasungu, and Lilongwe Rural East & West. The success of the MSNBC and U.S. Fund partnership will ensure that these 172 schools are well equipped, providing a safe and stimulating learning environment for deserving Malawian children.

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 45 million children do not go to school and only 20 percent of children that do attend have access to furniture.

"K.I.N.D.: Kids in Need of Desks" by the numbers:

  • 46,000 desks will be available to 224,000 Malawian students
  • Each desk provides seating for two children
  • The total cost of the program per child is $24

"A small donation to this campaign will help lift the Malawi economy and life students off the floor and just maybe turn an unreachable student into a great student could do great things," added O'Donnell. 

For more information on MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" and K.I.N.D, please visit  www.LastWordDesks.msnbc.com or www.unicefusa.org/kind.

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell airs Mondays through Thursdays at 10pm ET on MSNBC. The show channels O'Donnell's extensive background in politics and entertainment.  Izzy Povich is the executive producer.

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UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.  UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.