90% of people with visual impairments live in developing countries. While most visual impairments can be easily treated, the most effective and cost-effective approach is prevention. In fact, 80% of all cases of blindness are avoidable. According to the World Health Organisation, vitamin A deficiency due to malnutrition, is one of the leading causes of blindness in children. This currently affects a third of children under five1, or 127 million children worldwide. 
In developing countries, 250,000 to 500,000 children go blind each year due to a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A can prevent blindness, but it is also vital for a child's development in general. Studies have shown that increasing the Vitamin A intake for a child suffering from deficiency can reduce their mortality rate by nearly 23%.
In Bolivia, new-borns and young children (27% are aged between 6 and 23 months) are more at risk of serious vitamin A deficiency. In Myanmar, 38% of the population suffers from a high level of vitamin A deficiency, with this reaching 60% in some regions. Only 22% of children in Papua New Guinea are able to benefit from vitamin A supplements. 


Supported project

In 2017, L'OCCITANE and its Foundation began its partnership with UNICEF in helping finance international vitamin A supplement programmes, providing a minimum of 1 million euros per year for three years. The partnership aims to improve the prevention of childhood blindness in Bolivia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, by distributing to children aged 6 months to 5 years the 2 vital doses of vitamin A, essential for the immune system of children. This support focuses upon distribution taking place in three countries where deficiency is particularly prevalent: Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Bolivia. 

In 2018, the funds raised by L’OCCITANE even allowed it to expand their support of UNICEF's programme to include an additional country, Niger. In December 2018, Niger adopted a national nutritional policy in which the country committed to taking action to prevent and treat all forms of malnutrition.  Vitamin A supplements are one of the priority actions included in this policy.

In 2020, the L'OCCITANE Foundation renewed this partnership for three new years and extended it across the world.

In order to ensure that supplements are provided effectively, UNICEF is developing programmes which revolve around the following key principles: communication with those directly and indirectly affected, routine and targeted provision of vitamin A supplements, and awareness raising within the community.

First part of the partnership

Thanks to the first three year of the partnership (2017-2018-2019), more than 4 million children have received doses of vitamin A each year in Bolivia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Niger, protecting them from blindness and other illnesses resulting from vitamin A deficiency.

Budget 3,360,000 euros

Outcomes +4,000,000 children

Second part of the partnership

Thanks to the extension of the partnership for three new years (2020-2021-2022), more than 3 million children will receive two doses of vitamin A annually, and will thus be protected from blindness and the diseases that result from this deficiency

Budget 3,000,000 euros

Final goal +3,000,000 children


Ah Nyaw is 24 years old and currently pregnant with her second child. With her first child, she was not aware of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, nor the childhood immunization schedule or other interventions required for the growth and development of her son. Today, she and her neighbors regularly come to HPA supported health sessions and is receiving antenatal vitamins and tetanus immunization to support a health pregnancy. She proudly shows her child health card records and says, “I also make sure my son gets all his vaccinations and vitamins on time”.

Ah Nyaw, a beneficiary's mother

Bénéficiaires UNICEF

"I had little health knowledge before becoming a community health volunteer. The children in our village have no more problems with their eyes since they regularly receive vitamin A supplements. I really feel proud and accomplished to be a health volunteer in the community."

Daw N Gun Sam Taung, from Laiza (Myanmar)

unicef témoignage myanmar

Photo credit for all visuals : ©UNICEF