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Press Centre (2/2014)

Western Union celebrates UNICEF education project "kick off" in Turkey with Robert Carlos

ISTANBUL, 10 February 2014 – Robert Carlos was in Istanbul today to lend his support to the Western Union PASSinitiative. The global payment service company is harnessing its UEFA Europa League sponsorship and the power of football to deliver much-needed funding for secondary school education for disadvantaged young people in Turkey.

In collaboration with UNICEF - who is working with partners to deliver the education programs in Turkey and other countries - Western Union’s PASS initiative is converting every successful pass during its three-year Global Partner sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League into better education for vulnerable children around the world.

“We strongly believe that secondary education is essential for children to achieve their full potential,” said Nogay Kanpolat, Regional Director, Southeast Europe, Western Union. “According to 2012/2013 data net enrollment rate for secondary education in Turkey is 70%  and in some remote districts and lower income neighborhoods, that number drops to less than 30%. Through the awareness and funding which our PASS initiative creates, we are hoping to contribute to great efforts in Turkey. ”

“Western Union’s PASS funding supported our work with the Turkish Ministry of National Education to conduct research to better understand the barriers to secondary education faced by disadvantaged adolescents – in order to more effectively develop solutions that address these challenges,” said Ayman Abulaban, UNICEF Turkey Representative. “We are grateful for Western Union’s support in helping UNICEF ensure more young people have the opportunity to complete their education, enabling them to have a better future.”

The research was conducted with young people ranging in age from 14 to 18 across fifteen provinces, including those with the lowest rate of transition from primary to secondary education. The research results highlighted factors such as educational environment, capacity of teachers, low socio-economic status and parents with low levels of education as key contributors to students dropping out of school in 9th grade and beyond.

Following the research, possible programs by UNICEF, together with the Ministry of National Education,  include a pilot across 10 provinces in Turkey to encourage young people who have dropped out of the education system to return to school and stay in school. The pilot aims to keep young people engaged by creating meaningful cultural and sporting activities at school, improve the quality of their education by training teachers and implementing new curriculum, and finally build critical life skills that can be used beyond the classroom including analytical thinking, communication and problem solving.

“The Western Union PASS initiative is significant because it will help more children go to school,” commented Roberto Carlos, who currently manages Sivasspor in Turkey’s Süper Lig. 

“I was very lucky growing up in Brazil that football was my ticket to a different life, but not all children will be as fortunate, so getting a proper education is very important.”

“Turkey has become like a second home to me over the last few years,” Carlos continued.  “So I’m very happy to seePASS funding being spent here, as well as the plans to use it in my home country of Brazil later in the year.”

Through the PASS initiative, Western Union aims to support the delivery of one million days of education through its partnership with UNICEF.  It is a key part of Western Union’s broader Education for Better program, launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2012, which includes advocacy, products, volunteer and marketing support for secondary and vocational education

To date, funding has already been delivered on the ground to UNICEF in Jamaica and Nigeria as well as Turkey, with support from Western Union for education programmes in Brazil, Turkey, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, and China scheduled for later in the year.


About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders.  As of September 30, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 115,000 ATMs.  In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

About the Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has committed more than $91.2 million in grants and other giving to more than 2,682 nongovernmental organizations in more than 133 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity. To learn more, visitwww.westernunionfoundation.org.

About Western Union’s UEFA Europa League Sponsorship

In July 2012, Western Union announced a three year deal as the new Global Partner and the Presenting Sponsor of the UEFA Europa League. This sponsorship of the world’s largest club competition, comprising 193 professional football teams from 53 countries, provides Western Union with a unique opportunity for worldwide brand visibility, with the competition broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories, and enjoying a global live match unique reach of 634 million per season. This will allow Western Union, with its extensive network of approximately 515,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, to engage its customers and Agents in the excitement of the UEFA Europa League. The agreement also provides video, digital and social media content opportunities, and use of the UEFA Europa League brand assets. This partnership will run to the UEFA Europa League Final in 2015.

Western Union Media Contact:

Simon Kleine, Vice President, Corporate Communications, +44 (0)7725 206 640, Simon.Kleine@westernunion.com

Claire Treacy, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, +44 (0)7808 243 380, Claire.Treacy@westernunion.com



UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org