Jo LeCouilliard, SVP and Area Director Asia-Pacific, shares her firsthand experience of our partnership with Save the Children in the Philippines and explains why she is so passionate about our shared ambition to save one million children’s lives.
In March 2015 I visited Ormoc City in the Philippines to see the work that Save The Children is doing there to help rebuild communities in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated large parts of Southeast Asia in November 2013.
Not your usual business trip
This was no normal business trip. This visit allowed me to see firsthand the devastation that a typhoon can inflict on some of Asia’s most vulnerable communities.
‘Among the ruins, I witnessed something really special.’
Ormoc is off the beaten track. It took a full day to reach via plane, ferry and taxi. Along the way I saw homes resembling crushed sardine cans, as well as schools and medical centres with their roofs ripped off. Everywhere I looked I saw scenes of destruction. But among the ruins, I also witnessed something really special.
I saw new homes being rebuilt, shelters constructed to house families; schools being repaired so they could open again; medical centres being cleared of debris so they could operate again and basic hygiene being restored. All of this was due to the incredible work of Save the Children.
Unfortunately, these scenes of carnage were not unique to the Philippines in the wake of Haiyan. Wherever disaster strikes, Save the Children does whatever it takes to reach children in desperate need. This includes responding to emergencies in Asia-Pacific, which I learnt is the world’s most disaster-prone region.1
What made me then, and still makes me today, so immensely proud is knowing the important role that GSK and our employees play in supporting ongoing relief efforts around the world.
Jo LeCouilliard visits Save the Children’s project in the Philippines
A truly global partnership
Emergency response is just one area that we are tackling with Save the Children in this region. Across Asia we are working with Save the Children to strengthen healthcare systems in Myanmar and the Philippines, improving access to vital health services for children and their families; we are supporting innovative solutions to faster and more effective immunisations for women and children in Vietnam through the Healthcare Innovation Award; and – through projects like the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, we’re helping build capabilities within Asia to prepare for and respond to disasters in their own communities.
But the impact of our work with Save the Children is not limited to Asia. This is a partnership that is truly global.
Where do we go from here?
It’s the sheer ambition of this partnership to save one million children’s lives that really excites me about this partnership. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about strengthening the partnership in this region, is the ‘win-win-win’ scenario it presents for both organizations, our respective employees and for the communities we serve.
We are also grateful for the opportunities presented through the PULSE programme, which enable employees to see, firsthand, the incredible impact our combined passion and expertise can have on communities. Whenever our employees head off on their PULSE assignments with Save the Children they return to GSK truly inspired.
The sheer ambition of this partnership to save one million children’s lives really excites me… but I like to ask myself how we can take things to the next level.
My ambition for the next few years is to ensure every employee within GSK has an opportunity to contribute in some way to further the partnership with Save the Children. Whether that’s through employee volunteering, monetary donations or one of our extended PULSE assignments, I believe every one of our employees can play a part in helping us achieve our shared goal.
I’m excited to see where we can go with this partnership. I like to ask myself how we can take things to the next level and what more we can achieve in the years to come. We’ve already touched hundreds of thousands of lives across the world, but there’s still more to do.
Jonathan Hyams | Save the Children
Denvie Balidoy | Save the Children