With the Philippines and other neighbouring countries continuing to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Google today announced a total commitment of USD7.5 million in new grant funding and other support to help alleviate the current pandemic crisis.
As part of this new commitment, Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, is providing a USD1.5 million grant to UNICEF to support urgent COVID-19 response needs across five countries including the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Pakistan. From this grant, USD300,000 will go to the Philippines. UNICEF in the Philippines will use the grant to train health workers in infection prevention and control, distribute hygiene and disinfection kits, support continued learning of children, and increase access to medical, legal, psychological and social services for children and women survivors. UNICEF will also continue to support governments and communities to control the spread of the virus and minimize morbidity and mortality, including by enhancing preparedness for possible future waves of COVID-19.
Announcing these new commitments, Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines said, “The current surge in COVID-19 cases is causing immense pressure on our healthcare system, and this Google.org grant to UNICEF aims to deepen our support for the Philippines at this critical time. We’ll also continue to focus on ensuring timely access to information, as well as tools for all Filipinos to stay informed, connected, and safe during this crisis.”
“We are grateful for Google.org’s contribution to UNICEF as we continue to respond tirelessly to the global pandemic by providing fair access to COVID-19 vaccines and services to target populations with a focus on the most vulnerable,” said Karin Hulshof, Regional Director, UNICEF, East Asia and the Pacific. “Only a truly global response can protect and secure the future of every child and the communities in which they live, and we will continue working with our partners and lean on them for their expertise, innovative solutions, and flexible funding to help minimize the impact in the region and beyond.” she added.
Beyond this grant to UNICEF, Google.org is also providing an additional USD1 million to International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to address the urgent need of oxygen supplies and medical equipment in Indonesia. In addition, Google.org will provide USD5 million worth of Ad Grants to local government agencies and organizations across Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, to run public health information campaigns for free. Since last year, Google has provided over USD27 million in Ad Grants to support local governments including the World Health Organization who served over 343 million public service announcements (PSAs) to reach audiences with messages on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines.
Since the start of the pandemic, Google.org has also funded vaccine distributions in Asia and across the world through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Google also focuses its efforts in removing harmful content from its platforms, and ensuring that relevant and authoritative information serves everyone in the Philippines through its product updates such as information panels on Search and YouTube, campaigns like Get The Facts, and industry initiatives including the Department of Health’s #CheckTheFAQs.