Launched in October 2020 as a COVID-19 relief initiative, ASEAN CARES has provided aid to more than 14,300 individuals who were severely affected by the pandemic in ASEAN countries through the distribution of essential items, such as food supply and healthcare packages.
[ASEAN], 17 August 2021 - 3M, United Way Worldwide and ASEAN Foundation are pleased to announce that the ASEAN COVID-19 Active and Robust Response (ASEAN CARES) programme in Malaysia and Thailand has successfully concluded. Launched in October 2020 as a COVID-19 relief initiative, ASEAN CARES has provided aid to more than 14,300 individuals who were severely affected by the pandemic in both countries through the distribution of essential items, such as food supply and healthcare packages.
Despite the movement control order being extended in Malaysia, ASEAN CARES managed to surpass the initial number of targeted beneficiaries by 84%, reaching a total of 9,237 at-risk individuals in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, and Selangor areas receiving the much-needed food supply and healthcare packages. Out of 9,237 recipients, 55% of them were female, and more than 4,000 beneficiaries were migrants, refugees, and individuals from the Orang Asli community. Furthermore, the social hand hygiene activity rolled out by the programme had also benefited more than 8,000 individuals.
In Thailand, 5,100 individuals in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces were provided with relief kits through ASEAN CARES. Out of 5,100 recipients, 63% were female, and more than 2,000 were migrants, refugees, and those from marginalised communities. Additionally, more than 5,000 individuals were also educated on proper handwashing techniques through the programme.
“In the last year, we saw many families struggling to make ends meet as jobs are affected and some rely on income from daily-wage work. The realization that the pandemic has strained the ability of many families affording basic needs moved us to action as we at 3M are committed to staying true to our core value of improving lives. We would like to extend our gratitude to United Way Worldwide, ASEAN Foundation and our local activation partners for making this outreach a success,” said GT Lim, Country Leader of 3M Malaysia.
“We are grateful that some funding from the global COVID-19 relief project was channelled to support the marginalised communities in Thailand. In this challenging period, it is important for us as a company to stay true to our core value of improving lives. Additionally, we would like to extend our gratitude to United Way Worldwide, ASEAN Foundation and our local activation partners for making this outreach a success,” said Wiyada Sringanand, Country Leader of 3M Thailand.
ASEAN CARES aimed to provide access to food and basic hygiene for vulnerable individuals and groups such as families with children, people with disabilities, women-headed households, elderlies, refugees, migrants, as well as pregnant and lactating women in countries severely affected by the pandemic. In Malaysia and Thailand, a total funding of USD 169,000 from 3M was pledged to support over 5,000 individuals from marginalised communities in each country. Meanwhile, United Way Worldwide and ASEAN Foundation worked with local civil society organisations to not only bring relief aid to the most affected populations in both countries but also to deliver awareness on COVID-19.
“On behalf of United Way Worldwide, I am pleased that ASEAN CARES was launched to help citizens and communities in Malaysia and Thailand in accordance with United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. 3M has been a long-time United Way partner, stepping up to offer support in crises and to strengthen communities across the world, and we appreciate 3M’s leadership for Southeast Asia. It was amazing to see how ASEAN CARES contributed to the implementation plan of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which reiterates the importance of the multi-stakeholder and whole-of-ASEAN Community approach in combating the pandemic. We appreciate ASEAN Foundation’s facilitation that engaged with a number of local partners for ASEAN CARES’s success,” said Hooyung Young, Vice President of United Way Worldwide Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan.
The role of local activation partners in Malaysia, EcoKnights, The Lost Food Project and Treat Every Environment Special, and Thailand’s Buapetch Rescue Association, Pathum Thani Provincial Public Health Volunteer Association and Public Health Co-ordinate Association were crucial in ensuring a successful implementation of ASEAN CARES. They worked tirelessly to deliver the food and healthcare packages to those who need it the most in compliance with the governments’ health protocol.
“As an inter-governmental organisation from and for the people, ASEAN Foundation is committed to support the realisation of ASEAN’s mandate by executing region-wide initiatives that improve the lives of its people. We are sincerely grateful to 3M and United Way Worldwide for joining us in this initiative and supporting us along the journey. This joint programme and partnerships between public and private organisations become even more important today as we face unprecedented global challenges. By strengthening solidarity and cooperation, we can most definitely overcome this pandemic,” said Dr. Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation.