With Pakistan and other Southeast Asian countries currently grappling with a surge in COVID-19 cases, Google today announced a total commitment of USD$7.5 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 USD$1.5 million grant to UNICEF to support urgent COVID-19 response needs across five countries including Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. With this grant, UNICEF will deploy female vaccinators in Covid Vaccination Centers to increase the number of women being vaccinated and boost vaccine communication in Pakistan. UNICEF will also continue to support governments and communities to control the spread of the virus and reduce the number of deaths including by enhancing preparedness for possible future waves of COVID-19.
Announcing these new commitments, Farhan Qureshi, Country Director for Google Pakistan 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 Pakistan at this critical time. We’ll also continue to focus on ensuring timely access to information, as well as tools for all Pakistanis 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 USD$1 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 USD$5 million worth of Ad Grants to local government agencies and organizations across Southeast Asia, including Pakistan, to run public health information campaigns for free. Since last year, Google has provided over USD$27 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 has also focused its efforts in ensuring that information serves everyone in Pakistan through its tools and products. For example, Google previously gave ad grants to help the Government of Pakistan provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other measures to help local communities. Google has also surfaced the latest updates and health advice from Pakistani health authorities across Search, Maps and YouTube in Urdu and English. And during Ramadan in 2020 and 2021, the company supported a PTV live stream broadcast of Tarawih prayers on YouTube, facilitating observance of an important religious event with enhanced public health and safety measures.