Climate activist Greta Thunberg has donated the entirety of her $100,000 prize money from the Danish nonprofit Human Act to UNICEF to protect children during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
Human Act, which campaigns to end extreme poverty globally, awarded Thunberg the money for her tireless climate advocacy work.
The group boosted Thunberg’s donation by chipping in another $100,000 to the UNICEF campaign. The funds will go toward providing food, health care, educational support, and various other services as part of UNICEF’s broader campaign to address issues facing children during the pandemic.
"Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis," Thunberg in a statement. "It will affect all children, now and in the long term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most. I’m asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children's lives, to protect health, and continue education."
Through the campaign, UNICEF will also distribute essential hygiene supplies, including personal protective gear, and hygiene kits.
These efforts are part of the United Nations' Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19, which seeks to raise $2 billion to contain the virus and support affected communities.
The response plan includes a $350 million call for an immediate scaling up of logistics so that UN agencies can distribute essential supplies around the world.
UNICEF, in particular, is providing school meals to children amid school closures, overseeing a global learning platform, campaigning for a global ceasefire, and sending medical supplies to low-income countries.
"The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest struggle the world has seen in generations," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. "Children and young people are among the most severely impacted by the knock-on effects of COVID-19, so it is only natural that they would want to do something about it."
The pandemic, while fundamentally a health crisis, has affected issues ranging from food security to women’s rights. It has also sparked a resurgence in movements surrounding Thunberg’s preferred cause: climate action.
In recent weeks, environmental advocates have called on political leaders to draw lessons from the pandemic to develop a new status quo that prioritizes the health of people and the planet.
Thunberg has taken her trademark Fridays for Future protests online and has organized with activists in other ways.
"Whether we like it or not, the world has changed," she recently said in a YouTube video on Earth Day. "It looks completely different now from how it did a few months ago. It may never look the same again. We have to choose a new way forward."