Date Published: 16 March 2009

Barclays Chairman visits UNICEF project in Manila, Philippines

Health News from around the world.

Marcus Agius, Global Chairman of the Barclays group, has visited a UNICEF project in Manila, Philippines to see how funds donated by the global banking group are benefiting the lives of families living in poverty.

Accompanied by UNICEF UK's Executive Director David Bull, Marcus met families who have benefited from cash grants provided by the Philippines Government and are being supported through the UNICEF and Barclays project to improve the health and education of their children.

On arriving in the overcrowded Pasay City, Marcus met the Candelaria family, who live with their three children in a one-room rented home. The family earn about $20 per week from Mr Candelaria's irregular job driving a jeepney (local bus) around the city. As a result of the Government's cash grant scheme, the family have an additional $1.50 income which, Kristina Candelaria told the group, has dramatically improved the life of the family, and enabled them to keep their children in school.

"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 and Barclays partnership," UNICEF's David Bull said. "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 funds from Barclays are supporting livelihood skills training for mothers like Kristina Candelaria, to help them make the most of the grant available to them and develop the skills needed to earn a sustainable income. Marcus attended a livelihood training session and participated by sharing his experience of saving and investing for the future.

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 'Building Young Futures' project between UNICEF and Barclays, is providing £250,000 over three years to the Philippines, focused on two areas in Masbate province and Pasay City, Metro Manila. The global project is supporting similar activities in twelve other countries, amounting to a total of £5 million over three years.

"This is a ground-breaking, innovative collaboration with a respected, global corporation who have clear expertise in financial and resource management," Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Philippines Country Representative, said. "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."

Source(s): UNICEF Press Release

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