10 OCTOBER 2018, LONDON – Liberty Specialty Markets, part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has concluded its three-year project with international charity WaterAid in Madagascar.
Liberty is now embarking on a second three-year project in Rwanda, also partnering with WaterAid.
The project in Madagascar, which saw Liberty Specialty Markets donate £75,000 per year, has brought clean water to more than 42,000 people on the island and sanitation to over 15,000. Water points have been installed in 20 schools, and school health clubs have been established to promote good hygiene.
In addition to Liberty’s own corporate donation, staff raised funds to donate to the project in a variety of ways including running marathons, selling cakes and holding social events. In total, Liberty Specialty Markets and its staff raised over £350,000 in three years for the Madagascar project.
Liberty Specialty Markets Head of CSR, Mark Fidler, said: “Madagascar marked the first time Liberty Specialty Markets has been involved in a major charitable infrastructure project like this. It’s been a huge undertaking and we’re proud to have made a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of people – it’s one of our strategic goals to help communities prosper. We’ve also been deeply impressed with the team at WaterAid and their determination to bring positive change to the countries in which they work.
“We’ve certainly gained some important learnings from our involvement in Madagascar. The first is the sheer complexity of the political structure in a country that is one of the poorest in the world. There are so many levels and branches that it’s difficult to get to the right people to make things happen.
“Second is the need to involve local communities in projects like this to ensure the lasting change. Communities need to have the involvement and knowledge to maintain things once projects like ours have concluded. That’s how the investment becomes sustainable.”
Liberty Specialty Markets Senior Project Manager Claire Smith, who visited the project in Madagascar, said: “I felt changed by my involvement in this project. I hadn’t travelled in the developing world before and it was a real eye-opener. Life expectancy for many of the people is very low. I came back a different person so it was important to share my experience with my team and our staff back in London.”
The new work in Rwanda aims to give more than 80,000 school children access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene by 2021. In addition, it is hoped to train 164 teachers and build toilet blocks in 30 schools.
Rwanda was chosen for its relative political stability. Around 40% of the country’s population is aged under-15. It has higher rainfall than the UK but has little infrastructure with which to capture and purify that water.
Mark Fidler said: “In Rwanda, we’re focusing on schools and school-aged children, particularly girls. The low level of access to feminine hygiene means that many girls drop out of school around ages 11–12. We want to do what we can to improve that situation.”
International development charity WaterAid believes that providing access to clean water and overcoming sanitation issues are the first essential steps to overcoming poverty and creating resilient communities.
Marcus Missen, Director of Communications and Fundraising at WaterAid, said:
“We’re very grateful to everyone at Liberty Specialty Markets for their tremendous support. The funds they have raised are helping transform lives in Madagascar by making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of everyday life. We look forward to the next chapter of our partnership and working together to continue making a difference to some of the world’s poorest communities.”
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