Standard Chartered announces US$20 million for 'Seeing is Believing' initiative
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Standard Chartered Bank on Wednesday announced its new offer called 'Seeing is Believing'. It is a global initiative to help tackle avoidable blindness, and will invest US$20 million to fund the development of sustainable eye care services in less advantaged areas of 20 cities around the world, including The Gambia.
This new phase of the programme will give the poor and marginalised populations access to complete services from cataract surgery to preventative treatment and specialised medical interventions. The president of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness described the work proposed as a 'trail blazer' corporate social responsibility initiative in this area.
Initiated in 2003 and driven by the bank's employees, 'Seeing is Believing' is helping tackle avoidable blindness, 90 per cent of which is found in the developing world where the bank's business is rooted.
The urban focus of the programme reflects the increasing incidence of avoidable blindness in cities, especially as urbanisation swells the numbers of people living in less advantaged urban areas where access to eye care is poor and awareness around eye health is low.
The services will be comprehensive, delivering community eye health education and awareness raising, together with a range of interventions, from spectacle provision, to surgery according to need. The services will also be sustainable, designed to support marginalised and excluded populations both now and in the future.
In the design and implementation of the programme, the bank is working with the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, the World Health Organisation and leading eye care NGOs. With the support of these partners, 20 cities have been provisionally selected for investment through a systematic process identifying areas of real need.
As a demonstration of its commitment to the programme, the bank commits to match every donation raised until the US$20million target is met and aims to raise the funds by 2013. The investment will extend from 2008 to 2015 when the programme is due to complete.
To launch its new vision, Standard Chartered Gambia Ltd in collaboration with Sight Savers International and the Department of State for Health, will be holding a Fundraising Football Match against the GFA Coaches of The Gambia. Proceeds of the event will be used to fund cataract surgery for several underprivileged Gambians.
Commenting on this initiative, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Gambia Ltd, Humphrey Mukwereza said "Seeing is Believing' attests to what we hold to be core values and commitment to lead by example, to be the right partner".
"I have no doubt that this next phase of 'Seeing is Believing', despite the stretch of its ambition, will be a further success. I know this because I know the depth of commitment to this cause, to this unique project that helps us make the difference," he remarked.