Beyoncé, UNICEF and Gucci partnership brings $1 million support for clean water project in Burundi
Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment, her management company, are celebrating Women’s History Month and World Water Day through partnerships with a humanitarian organization and luxury brand to provide clean, safe water to people in the East African nation of Burundi.
As Essence reported in an exclusive interview with Ivy McGregor, Parkwood’s director of philanthropy and corporate relations, the icon and her team gave Essence Festival attendees a first bite of the humanitarian apple when they presented information about BeyGOOD 4 Burundi last summer in New Orleans.
BeyGOOD is a partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) geared toward bettering water, cleanliness and fundamental hygiene practices in Burundi, a country fraught with civil, political and economic strife, following relatively recent colonial rule, and where access to water suitable for human consumption is a literal coin-toss.
In time for World Water Day last Thursday, the team revealed BeyGOOD’s second phase. Founding partner Gucci joins Queen Bey, Chime for Change, BeyGOOD and UNICEF to aid Burundi through a $1 million commitment. This financial commitment will fund the installation of 85 water wells, beyond the 35 already provided, in Burundi. The recently announced commitment is expected to provide suitable water to a half-million women, girls and their families.
“There are hospitals today in Burundi where women have babies and there’s no running water,” Ivy told Essence. “Let’s just pause and think about that for a second. Can you imagine? So, through this million-dollar commitment that Gucci has made, we will not only be digging more waterholes for the wells, but we will be ensuring that hospitals have water and that schools have water.”
Ivy continued. “Girls are disproportionately affected by this water crisis because, as we all know, girls have menstrual cycles. So, because the schools don’t have water, girls are out of school for a week out of every month. Their education is at risk because of a lack of something so basic.”
Ivy shared with Essence that the team has visited Burundi thrice. She also commended UNICEF for community empowerment and engagement instead of passive donations or well installations. The organization, Ivy explained, provides community know-how on how to use and maintain the wells.
The corporate director also tapped into current Black and African identity pride surges, given Black Panther’s cinematic, cultural and commercial success. She contextualized connections between African Americans like Queen Bey and our continental African brothers and sisters.
“So, on the heels of Black History Month and on the heels of the success of Black Panther and again, Women’s History Month, it’s just a great reminder of just the power of our people,” she said. “So, I’m honored to be the face of this project with Beyoncé… We are a movement to inspire people to be kind, be generous and be good.”