UNICEF Switzerland to construct Teacher Training College in Malawi with the help of donations from Roche employees

Basel, 20 April 2011

Today on April 20 a Groundbreaking Ceremony in Chiradazulu Malawi marked the beginning of construction for a teacher training college financed by UNICEF Switzerland with the help of donations by Roche employees.

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Education of the Republic of Malawi Arthur Peter Mutahrika, as well by representatives of UNICEF Switzerland and the Roche Employee Action and Charity Trust (Re&Act).

Since 2006 employees at Roche have supported UNICEF Switzerland in financing education facilities in Malawi through the Re&Act foundation. After having previously focused on the construction of classrooms and providing education materials, the teacher training college marks the first project which finances the education of teachers.

Elsbeth Müller, general manager of UNICEF Switzerland said: “UNICEF welcomes the support of Re&Act whose contributions continue to bring about immediate and lasting change for the children we work with, providing them with a better future.”

„UNICEF is an important long-term partner for us, with whom we can assure that the donations of Roche-employees are channeled to projects that improve the lives of children directly on the ground”, ads Gottlieb Keller, Chair of Re&Act (and General Counsel of Roche). “The donations collected by Roche employees during our annual “Roche Children’s Walk” are matched by the company Roche.”

The United Nations Human Development Index lists Malawi as one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. According to UNICEF the average teacher-student ratio is 107 to one, in rural areas up to 120 to one. Only 71 percent of school age children in Malawi graduate from primary school. Only 13 percent of children attend secondary school. One of the greatest problems for Malawi’s education system is the acute lack of teachers: there are about 30.000 missing. The teacher training college financed by UNICEF is to be completed by 2013 and is designed for a capacity of 540 teachers over a three and a half year education period. This way, a minimum of 54.000 primary school students will benefit from new teaching staff indirectly. The college is the first of four seminars planned by the Malawi government to combat the dramatic lack of teachers in the country.

About UNICEF Switzerland

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, with over 60 years of experience in development co-operation and emergency relief, works towards ensuring the survival and wellbeing of children worldwide. Its remit includes health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, as well as the protection of children against abuse, exploitation, violence, and AIDS. UNICEF is financed solely through voluntary contributions. The Swiss Committee for UNICEF is UNICEF’s representation in Switzerland. UNICEF Switzerland has been working for children for over 50 years, at home and abroad.

About Re&Act

The Roche Employee Action and Charity Trust (Re&Act) is an independent trust, which supports humanitarian programs and community rebuilding projects, especially in developing countries, both on an ongoing basis and for rebuilding projects after disasters. The purpose of Re&Act is to receive, administer and distribute voluntary financial contributions made by Roche employees or organisations and ensure that donations are effectively channelled into specific projects which also harness the company’s knowledge and resources.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com.