Prudential volunteers helping to build a dam in Mai Ai,Northern Thailand

Supporting disaster relief through the Prudence Foundation

Many of our customers in Asia are located in areas prone to natural disasters. We support local initiatives to help relief efforts following disasters, and maintain a disaster relief fund that can be activated in emergencies. Our commitment to disaster relief often goes beyond financial aid, with our people helping on the ground.

In 2012 this commitment moved to a new level with the activation of the Prudence Foundation, a body that will strategically plan and coordinate Prudential’s community activities across our Asian markets.

The Foundation pulls together the CR investment and employee and agent volunteering activities conducted by our businesses in different countries. Housed within Prudential Corporation Asia, it will act as a strategic planning centre for our key programmes in local markets, as well as adding activities that could be undertaken across the region.

David Boyd-Thomas, who was appointed as the Prudence Foundation’s Executive Director in August 2012, says the Foundation will focus on three principal areas in which Prudential is already active in the region: education, children, and disaster preparedness and relief. ‘We’ve started to look at what we could do across these three thematic areas.’

In the area of children, the Prudence Foundation has begun a number of projects around early childhood care and development, aimed at helping families get their children into the education system and in a healthy fashion.

‘Sadly, in many of the countries in which we operate, children are still suffering from some levels of malnourishment,’ David says. ‘It’s been well documented that this does lead to potential for learning disabilities and certainly can impede some of their learning ability. Nutrition plays a very big part in this, as well as good parenting skills.

‘On that front we’re partnering with Save the Children in Cambodia and the Philippines. We’re taking a three-year approach for these programmes initially.’

On the education side, the Foundation will be helping to coordinate Prudential’s strong existing work in financial literacy. Our businesses run long-standing programmes in financial literacy for various age levels, ranging from primary to tertiary education, with some targeted at women and some at young entrepreneurs in a number of markets. Our innovative financial education series of music videos, Cha-Ching, is part of this effort.

In the other main area of activity, disaster preparedness, the Prudence Foundation is in the vanguard of meeting a clear need that has been identified by the international aid community.

‘The long-standing difficulty in terms of disaster funding is that the lion’s share of the funds raised is typically earmarked for immediate relief post-disaster,’ David says. ‘What we are doing is aiming to build stronger, more resilient communities that can do their best to withstand natural disasters.

‘Governments throughout Asia uniformly have quite well developed disaster planning in place, but where they need support is getting it out to local communities at the grass-roots level.’

To meet this need, the Prudence Foundation is participating with Plan International, Save the Children and, in Thailand, with Foundation for Older Persons Development (FOPDEV) on seven disaster preparedness projects across Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, focused mainly on school-based programmes and local communities.

David says the Prudence Foundation has a clear mandate. ‘The Board of Trustees is committed to taking our regional activities to a new level, so we are making a lasting and meaningful contribution to our communities.’

What we are doing is aiming to build stronger, more resilient communities that can do their best to withstand natural disasters.”

David Boyd-Thomas
Executive Director, Prudence Foundation

Supporting local communities