PRUDENCE FOUNDATION AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL LAUNCH “SAFE STEPS” DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND AWARENESS PROGRAMME IN ASIA
INTERNATIONAL BOXING ICON MANNY PACQUIAO AS AMBASSADOR OF GROUND-BREAKING INITIATIVE
Hong Kong, 22 May 2014 – Prudence Foundation, the regional charitable arm of Prudential Corporation Asia, announced today it has teamed up with international boxing champion and humanitarian Mr. Manny Pacquiao, together with National Geographic Channel, part of the FOX International Channels (FIC) network, to launch SAFE STEPS. The first-of-its-kind pan-Asian public service initiative, SAFE STEPS seeks to enhance disaster preparedness and awareness in the region through the dissemination of educational survival tips in response to natural disasters.
Asia Pacific is the region that is most prone to and affected by natural disasters worldwide. In the past four decades, 75 percent of the world’s natural disasters took place in Asia Pacific, resulting in a loss of up to two million lives.1
SAFE STEPS is a long-term disaster preparedness educational programme with multiple platforms covering on-air videos, an informative website and educational collateral that can be shared through community-based activities. Core to the programme is a series of 60-second educational videos produced by FIC and National Geographic Channel, featuring SAFE STEPS Ambassador Mr. Pacquiao who advises on key survival steps that individuals and households should take when disasters strike.
Mr. Barry Stowe, Chairman of Prudence Foundation and Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia, said, “Disaster preparedness and recovery is a key pillar of Prudence Foundation. We are delighted to launch SAFE STEPS which marks a valuable step forward in building resilient communities. It has been a key priority of governments in Asia to improve the readiness of communities to respond to disasters and reduce disaster risks. As a leading life insurer that focuses on helping people manage uncertainty, we believe SAFE STEPS will help reinforce these efforts and address this critical need. Being prepared is the first and most important step in handling and surviving a disaster. It is extremely important for people to be equipped with the knowledge of how to protect themselves when a disaster strikes.”
Commenting on his role as the SAFE STEPS Ambassador, Mr. Pacquiao said, “I am happy to partner with Prudence Foundation and National Geographic Channel on SAFE STEPS, and honoured to be its ambassador. As soon as the programme was presented to me, I wanted to do it, no question. Having personally witnessed the devastation by typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban last November, I strongly believe this is an important campaign that can help save lives, not just in the Philippines but the whole of Asia. With these tips, we all can be survivors!”
Mr. Marc Fancy, Executive Director of Prudence Foundation, said, “Manny is the natural choice to be the SAFE STEPS Ambassador. He is a survivor; he understands the impact of natural disasters first hand coming from the Philippines. He is also an icon and a humanitarian. As soon as Manny learned of the programme and his role, he agreed to do it in a heartbeat. We are very grateful to him for donating his time to such a worthy cause, and for his and National Geographic Channel’s support on this initiative.”
SAFE STEPS will initially focus on the survival steps of the most common disaster situations in Asia namely typhoons, earthquakes, floods and fire, as well as tips on how to prepare for a life-saving emergency kit. The videos on Typhoon and Earthquake will start airing on Friday 23 May 2014 across Asia on 13 channels on the FIC network, namely National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, FOX, FOX Crime, FOX Movies Premium, FOX Sports, FX, Star Movies, Star Chinese Movies, Star Sports, Star World and Channel V reaching viewers from over 24 million households in Asia. The video content will also be available in eight local languages – Cantonese, Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese and Khmer.
Mr. Joon Lee, Executive Vice President of Content & Communication at FOX International Channels Asia, said, “SAFE STEPS is a worthy and admirable programme that we are proud to be backing with the full weight of the National Geographic Channel as well as the FIC network. The National Geographic Channel is well known for its mission to inspire viewers to care about our world through smart, entertaining and educational content. With National Geographic Channel’s brand cachet and high commitment to education, paired with FIC’s reach as Asia’s largest broadcast network, we look forward to doing our part in bringing awareness of disaster preparedness to millions of people across the region.”
In the Philippines, a major television network will have the rights to air the SAFE STEPS public service announcements (PSAs). The government, through the Office of Civil Defense and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), will also adopt the SAFE STEPS programme, while the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has endorsed the showing of the PSAs in cinemas nationwide.
The educational videos are also featured on the SAFE STEPS website, www.safesteps.com. Visitors to the website can access expanded versions of the survival tips, as well as educational collateral such as infographic hand-out cards and posters that can be downloaded for easy recall of the messages. Through this combination of television, website and educational materials, SAFE STEPS aims to communicate important life-saving information to as many people in Asia as possible.
All survival tips advised on the SAFE STEPS videos and website have been approved by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In addition to the on-air videos, the Prudence Foundation is partnering with non-governmental organisation partners to distribute the SAFE STEPS collateral via existing Disaster Risk Reduction programmes across the region. Disaster preparedness and recovery is one of the key focus areas of Prudence Foundation, along with children and education. Ongoing disaster-preparedness initiatives of the Foundation include the Safe Schools programme, which aims to improve disaster preparedness in schools across the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, in partnership with Save the Children and Plan International.
“SAFE STEPS is a testament to Prudential‘s long-term commitment to the safety and prosperity of the communities in which we operate. We hope this programme will serve as a catalyst to strengthen the collaborative efforts between the private sector, governments, communities and humanitarian organisations in the areas of disaster preparedness, relief and recovery in the region,” Mr. Stowe concluded.
- UNESCAP and UNISDR, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2012: Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters, The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012