Barclays Chairman visits UNICEF project in Manila, Philippines
Manila, Philippines. March 2009.
Mr. Marcus Agius, global chairman of Barclays group, visited Pasay City in Metro Manila, Philippines recently to see how the funds donated by the global banking group are benefiting the lives of families living in poverty.
Mr. Agius, and his wife Mrs. Kate Agius, met families who have benefited from the Governments’ Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, and saw how they were using the additional funds to improve the health and education of their children.
On arriving in the overcrowded suburb of Barangay Kalayaan in Pasay City, Mr. Agius met the Candelaria family who live with their three children in a one-room rented home. The family earns about $20 per week, from Mr. Candelaria’s irregular job driving a jeepney (local bus) around the city. As a result of the CCT scheme the family has been able to invest a small amount in Mrs. Candelaria’s small business buying and selling fish. The additional $1.50 income is improving the life of the family, and enabling them to keep their children in school.
The funds from Barclays and the UK National Committee for UNICEF, are supporting livelihood skills training for mothers and young people in the community. Mr. Agius, accompanied by UK National Committee Executive Director David Bull, attended a livelihood training session, and participated by sharing his experience of saving and investing for the future.
The group also visited the early learning centre supported by the project, and read a story - ‘Saving for a Rainy Day’ - to the twenty assembled 4 - 5 year olds. The children were captivated by the story and put the lesson into practice afterwards, when they each received a piggy bank to save their pennies.
Members of the community proudly explained how they set up their Bayanihan Banking Program, a local community saving scheme, enabling members to take small loans for projects and health needs identified and approved by the members.
The high profile visitors ended their visit in the Kalayaan High School garden planting a tree to mark their visit and demonstrate their long-term commitment to support the community.
Clearly moved by the visit, Mr David Bull said afterwards:
"It has been a fantastic day and a great opportunity to meet the families and young people that are already receiving support thanks to the UNICEF & Barclays partnership. I would like to extend a huge thanks to Barclays for their commitment to this project - together we can deliver real and sustainable change for many more families like these, both in the Philippines and around the world."
The ‘Building Young Futures’ project, is providing US $360,000 over three years to the Philippines, and focuses on two areas in Masbate province and Pasay City, Metro Manila. The global project is supporting similar activities in nine other countries, amounting to a total of $7.3 million over 3 years.
Ms Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Philippines Country Representative, who accompanied Mr. Aigus on the visit, said of the project:
“This is a ground-breaking, innovative collaboration with a respected, global corporation who have clear expertise in financial and resource management. The project will benefit 40,000 of the poorest people living in Masbate and Pasay, and is likely to benefit a far greater number through better health and education and by enabling poor families to begin to build a future for themselves.”