COVID-19: Standard Chartered Donates $11.8m for Relief across Africa, Middle East

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Rebecca Ejifoma

Standard Chartered has donated $11.8 million to Red Cross, UNICEF and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Government Partners providing emergency relief across Africa and the Middle East with impacts of COVID-19.

According to Standard Chartered, the donations would contribute to programmes providing urgent medical support, the protection and education of vulnerable children, and efforts to ensure the health, safety and protection of communities across Africa and the Middle East.

These donations, it highlighted, are part of its $10 million pledge – $5 million to Red Cross and $5 million to UNICEF – to support COVID-19 emergency relief activities across its markets in Asia and Africa.

The Regional CEO, Standard Chartered Africa and the Middle East, Sunil Kaushal, said: “Ensuring the health, wellbeing and stability of the societies in which we are present is paramount”.

He, however, acknowledged that they were proud to contribute to Red Cross and UNICEF programmes that reach the most vulnerable people in the communities.

His words: “Standard Chartered’s purpose is rooted in our communities as we strive to create sustainable prosperity in the markets where we operate. By working with Red Cross and UNICEF, we can support those affected by this crisis and together overcome the adversities we currently face.”

To ensure donations are allocated on the ground where they can provide rapid and targeted impact, Standard Chartered pledged $3.55m of funding to the Red Cross for urgent medical support in nine markets across Africa.

The funding is said to support activities such as the provision of primary and secondary healthcare, communication of protection measures, provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) for Red Cross staff and the distribution of food, care and education packages for those impacted by COVID-19.

It further pledged $3.25m to UNICEF for the immediate protection and education of vulnerable children in Pakistan and across eight markets in Africa.

The funding is meant to support activities such as the provision of remote education via TV, radio, online and mobile platforms and child protection measures including: alternative care arrangements and family tracing services for children separated from their families due to COVID-19; training for social workers to conduct home visits to vulnerable children for mental health support; and alternative care and protection services for children of parents or caregivers affected by COVID-19.

Continuing, Kaushal noted that the $6.8m donations to the Red Cross and UNICEF in the region, Standard Chartered has pledged a further $5m for local NGO and government partners across Africa and the Middle East to bring the total committed to $11.8m.

Reacting to the donations, the Regional Director for Africa, at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Dr Simon Missiri, lauded: “Thanks to Standard Chartered’s generous donation, Red Cross Red Crescent Societies can support local communities now facing increasing challenges due to the pandemic.”

Missiri explained that the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are the front-line responders, and these funds would help address some of the most urgent health and socio-economic impacts faced by the most vulnerable people across our country.

“Thanks to the vital donation from Standard Chartered we can continue to support more people facing the devastating effects of COVID-19.”

From the words of the Director, UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division, Gary Stahl, in any crisis, the young and the most vulnerable suffer disproportionately, adding that his pandemic is no different.

“With the majority of the world’s children living with some form of pandemic-related movement restrictions and 1.3 billion children around the globe affected by school closures, UNICEF’s work for children has never been more critical than now.

With this donation from Standard Chartered, Stahl expressed that UNICEF would be able to support remote education via TV, radio, online and mobile platforms and child protection measures for vulnerable children across the world.

In addition to the donation, Standard Chartered has also put in place a comprehensive support programme for “Our clients including $1bn of financing for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against COVID-19”.

“It is also for those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the global pandemic; and a comprehensive support scheme for retail and business customers, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities,” he added.