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AMERICAN IDOL’s David Cook Travels to Ethiopia with the UN Foundation: Trip focuses Global Attention on Girls’ Health and Education

IDOL GIVES BACK to Benefit the UN Foundation Wednesday, April 21, on FOX

Today, Season 7 winner of AMERICAN IDOL, arrived in Ethiopia as a guest of the United Nations Foundation to learn about the challenges adolescent girls face in many parts of the world. While in Ethiopia, Cook will visit the United Nations’ Biruh Tesfa (Bright Future) Project to see firsthand how the UN Foundation is supporting the work of the UN to educate and empower girls. Footage of Cook’s trip to Ethiopia will be featured during IDOL GIVES BACK, the Emmy-winning television event and musical celebration developed by AMERICAN IDOL creator Simon Fuller, on Wednesday, April 21 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

“Once again, we are proud to join with the IDOL GIVES BACK Foundation, FOX, and AMERICAN IDOL to help raise awareness about the work of the United Nations,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “One of our top priorities is to advocate for women and girls around the world. Too many girls growing up in developing countries are not able to attend school or have access to healthcare services. The UN needs our support to advance the well-being of women and girls around the globe.  Supporting girls around the world is one of the smartest ways to help build a better future for us all.”

During the trip, David Cook, an American singer-songwriter from Blue Springs, Missouri, will meet with youth mentors and students in the Mercato slum area of Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar, to learn how large numbers of girls are traveling to “˜Biruh Tesfa’ everyday to gain an education and break the cycle of poverty.

“I am excited to see the UN Foundation’s work in Ethiopia firsthand ,” said Cook. “In so many parts of the world, girls and young women are denied the chance to fulfill their dreams, just because they are girls. But the “˜Biruh Tesfa’ project is proof that global problems can be solved, we just have to start. I look forward to sharing the images and stories from my trip with AMERICAN IDOL viewers across the country.”

Ethiopia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, with more than half of girls married before the age of 15. Only 17 percent of girls between the ages of 20-24 received a secondary education. The Biruh Tesfa Project, facilitated by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and funded by the UN Foundation, ensures that young women can participate in a non-formal education program at local meeting spaces. The groups meet for two hours, three times a week, during hours that accommodate the schedules of working girls. All students receive a number of services, including literacy training, health checks, and assistance in obtaining government identification cards.

To learn more about the UN Foundation’s work to empower adolescent girls and how to donate, visit www.unfoundation.org/idol. The UN Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to the UN to help reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. Donations to the UN Foundation are tax-deductible.

The UN Foundation is a beneficiary of IDOL GIVES BACK, the April 21 television event raising awareness and funds to benefit various U.S. and international charities. The concept for the IDOL GIVES BACK Foundation was the brainchild of AMERICAN IDOL creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. The organization began as a meaningful way for those behind AMERICAN IDOL to give back in a significant way to causes throughout the world.  IDOL GIVES BACK was successfully launched as a charity event in 2007. To date, over $140 million dollars has been donated.