The Western Union Foundation today announced its first-quarter 2021 programs, investing more than USD 1.25 million to mobilize youth to access jobs in the healthcare industry, assisting with COVID-19 vaccine education and distribution, and to enable economic recovery through workforce training. This investment furthers the Western Union Foundation's Opportunity Beyond Borders three-year USD 15 million commitment to provide migrant and young adults with resources to gain sustainable employment and provide relief and preparedness for crises.
"The Western Union Foundation recognizes that this moment—as the global pandemic recovery effort begins in earnest—is a crucial one for the communities we serve," said Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Roscoe. "We are determined to do everything we can to keep people who are already on the margins from falling farther behind because they lack access to vaccines or opportunities to participate in the formal labor markets as economies progress toward recovery."
In 2020, the first full year of Opportunity Beyond Borders, the Western Union Foundation invested more than USD 6 million to help 200,000 people in 33 countries, as detailed in its 2020 Global Impact Report.
COVID-19 vaccine education, preparedness, and distribution programs
Research has shown a large portion of the population in many low-income countries is hesitant to get the vaccine, often due to lack of education about the vaccine and logistical challenges to reach vaccine centers. The Aspen Institute and International Medical Corps will receive funds from the Western Union Foundation to address these challenges.
In Kenya and India, the Aspen Institute will partner with leading community-based organizations to support vaccine education and distribution efforts by skilling youth and women in the community in vaccine awareness, preparedness and access.
In the Philippines, the International Medical Corps program will address vaccine hesitancy by driving awareness and coordinating transportation for vulnerable populations to vaccine centers.
In Pakistan, host to the third-largest number of refugees in the world, International Medical Corps will train volunteers in refugee villages to raise vaccine awareness and promote health and hygiene best practices.
Western Union and the Foundation are further enabling vaccine adoption by donating funds on behalf of each vaccinated Western Union employee and allowing employees to donate directly to the cause. This program will provide up to $350K to help inoculate thousands more in rural communities.
Workforce training for entrepreneurship and career pathways
In addition to the COVID-19 community resilience programs, the Foundation's first-quarter investment aims to enable economic recovery for migrant and refugee communities affected by last year's lockdowns. The following are a few of the programs:
In Mexico, the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative will scale entrepreneurship programs by training young business leaders and incubating micro-businesses that provide essential services and products to their local communities.
In Jordan and Lebanon, the Kiron Open Higher Education program will work with the most vulnerable populations residing in refugee encampments and will offer skill-building opportunities to prepare individuals for and give access to career pathways.
In Jordan and Palestine, Education for Employment will launch a research study about relevant jobs post-COVID-19 and provide customized training to business owners, with the majority female, helping them adapt and grow their businesses in response to the effects of COVID-19.
To learn more about the impact the Western Union Foundation has made to people and partners over the past year, check out the stories of impact on their newly launched website.
About the Western Union Foundation
The Western Union Foundation believes that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity. After 20 years of impact, we continue to deliver on our mission with Opportunity Beyond Borders, focused on empowering forcibly displaced and marginalized youth with the training and education needed to succeed in today's technology-driven global economy. The Foundation also provides funding for humanitarian efforts for communities in crisis and disaster, one key reason for forced migration. To date, we have funded more than $131 million for projects and scholarships. The Western Union Foundation is a separate, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, and business partners. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible for U.S. income tax purposes. To learn more, visit www.westernunionfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.
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