Gigi Hadid And UNICEF Join Forces On A Special Project

When Gigi Hadid headed to Dakar, Senegal with UNICEF in December, she didn’t know what to expect. Though she has been working with the UN agency since 2018, traveling to Bangladesh’s Jamtoli Refugee Camp in August of that year, her most recent excursion represented an entirely new experience. “This was my first time on the African continent, and Senegal was such an incredible place to start,” said Hadid over the phone from New York. “There is so much amazing culture and art, and people are so warm and welcoming – I truly enjoyed it.”

On hand to support UNICEF’s team as they travelled through the region visiting schools, maternal health centres, and small villages, Hadid got an inside view of the organisation’s work in educational and health services for children in need. With multiple stops and assignments along the way, the three-day trip was a whirlwind, one Hadid felt duty-bound to document closely. “I realised that my greatest responsibility in this is just to share what I’ve learned, increase the exposure, and make people remember that these issues are out there even if they aren’t in the news cycle,” she says. “That’s why social media has finally been given a meaning for me – it’s important to highlight these stories.”

Armed with a notebook, a camera, and a willingness to listen, Hadid and her best friend, artist Austyn Weiner, observed UNICEF programmes such as the Wash initiative, a project building latrines and hand-washing stations in small villages. They also joined the agency’s entrepreneurial workshops in which young women are given the tools to pursue careers in STEM and new med

For Hadid, who gave charitable donations in lieu of Christmas gifts and updated her social media with links to UNICEF’s Unite, a grassroots program focused on local activism, getting the word out about giving back is paramount. “The people we met and were working with [in Senegal] loved their lives, they just need help in small ways,” she says. “My joy comes from sharing the information I learn [on these trips]; both the personal stories, and how people can become more involved.”