The Prudence Foundation Supports New Disaster Preparedness And Early Child Education Programmes In Asia

Prudential builds on its commitment to communities in Asia

26 APRIL 2013, HONG KONG – The Prudence Foundation today announced a series of multi-country programmes in partnership with Save the Children and Plan International across Asia to enable communities to better cope with disasters and help children flourish for the long-term. The new programmes will benefit more than 170,000 people over a three-year period in five countries in South East Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Prudence Foundation was established by Prudential Corporation Asia (‘Prudential’) to consolidate its long-standing commitment to serve the communities in which it does business.

Barry Stowe, Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia said: “As the region’s leading life insurer and asset manager, Prudential provides protection for families and communities while investing in the long-term development of Asia. The Prudence Foundation is a natural extension of our desire to help Asian societies build a more secure future. We believe the Foundation’s activities help broaden the reach, and enhance the impact of our community work across the region.”

Disaster Preparedness
Reflecting Prudential’s mission of providing long-term protection to families in Asia, one of the Prudence Foundation’s three key focus areas is Disaster Preparedness and Relief. With Asia being one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, helping communities be better prepared with vital skills before disasters strike will inevitably bring a longer-term benefit beyond immediate disaster relief efforts.

The Prudence Foundation in partnership with Save the Children and Plan International is launching Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programmes in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Around 23,000 children, youth and their teachers will receive training in lifesaving skills and knowledge about preparing for disasters. This is expected to indirectly benefit more than 130,000 community members through the informal sharing of this knowledge.

David Boyd-Thomas, Executive Director of the Prudence Foundation said: “As the Prudence Foundation strives to make a lasting impact on the communities of Asia, we sought to bring international expertise together with local knowledge in order to deliver greater benefit to local communities.”

Save the Children and Plan International both take a child-centred approach to DRR and have a solid track record of co-operation with agencies, governments and civil society in the field of disaster preparedness.

Save the Children’s programmes in Bulacan Province in the Philippines, Magelang district in Central Java in Indonesia, and the Tien Giang and Dong Thap provinces in the Mekong region of Vietnam will ensure that children have access to the education and information they need, and ensure that schools are safe and able to withstand disasters. Plan International’s renowned child empowerment approach will help ensure that children and youth rights are recognised during disasters with their Safe Schools programme building safe and resilient communities.

Greg Duly, Regional Director, South-East & East Asia of Save the Children said: “Our partnership with the Prudence Foundation will enable us to deliver our disaster preparedness training to communities and schools across Asia. The skills gained through these programmes will leave a legacy of knowledge and help people in some of the most vulnerable communities to cope better when a disaster strikes. By empowering individuals, these projects will have a significant and long-lasting impact, which will ultimately save lives.”

James Murray, Chief Executive of Plan International Hong Kong said: “Natural disasters have a major impact on children’s rights to survival, education, and protection from harm. Although education systems are greatly impacted when disaster strikes, they are also key to mitigating risk and contributing to early recovery. We are grateful for the support given to us by the Prudence Foundation, which will enable us to expand our Safe Schools programme to the Rizal area of Manila in the Philippines, the Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani regions in Thailand, and various parts of Jakarta in Indonesia. Our programmes will make schools safer places during disasters, and ensure that critical education can continue in the wake of disruption to a community.”

Early Childhood Care and Development
With nearly 90 years in Asia, Prudential takes a long-term view of its business in region. Echoing this, the Prudence Foundation focuses its efforts on Children and Education. Well-educated children form the basis of a strong and stable society well into the future. First Read, a unique programme by Save the Children recognises the vital importance of children’s earliest experiences for future learning. The programme works with parents of pre-school children to provide them with knowledge, skills and materials to support their children’s literacy and numeracy. It will also build children’s physical and nutritional wellbeing to help them succeed in their future learning.

The Prudence Foundation will support two large-scale First Read programmes in the Philippines and Cambodia, helping to reach nearly 150,000 children aged 0-6 years and their parents, through learning and reading materials with home-based Early Childhood Care and Development. The programmes will benefit almost 850,000 community members indirectly through the expected sharing of knowledge and resources.

"By working with the Prudence Foundation on our First Read initiative we will give thousands of children the support they need to build a strong foundation for future learning. Save the Children's First Read programme ensures parents and caregivers play a key role in giving children the skills they need in order to develop to their fullest potential," said Mr Duly.

“Developing partnerships with local stakeholders is a critical success factor for lasting community programmes,” said Mr Stowe. “We are delighted to be working with Save the Children and Plan International in launching these sustainable initiatives. We will be working closely with them to regularly assess the impact of the programmes over the years, and we look forward to making a positive difference to the future of Asia’s children and communities.”

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