Since 2007, global insurer Aspen has fostered a close partnership with the Adara Group – an organisation using the power of business to improve the lives of people in poverty.
The Adara Group is made up of two parts: its international development organisation, Adara Development, which is focused on improving health and education for women, children and communities living in poverty – including premature babies in rural Uganda – and its two ‘for purpose’ corporate advisory businesses, Adara Advisors and Adara Partners, based in Australia.
spoke to Aspen and Adara about their 10-year partnership, the work they have achieved so far, and why CSR is so important.
Insurance Business: What is the nature of the partnership between Aspen and Adara?
Audette Exel, founder and chair of Adara Development:
Aspen is Adara’s longest standing corporate partner. In addition to the company’s financial support, Aspen employees hold fundraising activities throughout the year and have raised just under $1.1 million since the beginning of the partnership. The power of the partnership is most keenly demonstrated by the positive impact on health and wellbeing for the Nakaseke community in rural Uganda, as well as the continued engagement of Aspen’s employees.
Insurance Business: How has Aspen helped Adara with its work?
Chris O’Kane, group chief executive of Aspen:
In Uganda, 42% of all births take place without a skilled attendant, whose presence could help avert 20% of all maternal deaths. Aspen and our employees have played a key role in supporting the operations of Adara’s partner, Kiwoko Hospital, which services a catchment of 800,000 people in Central Uganda. Specifically, the partnership has helped to build the hospital’s expertise in maternal, newborn and child health, with the hospital now considered a centre of excellence for newborn care in East Africa.
As a business, we know that the money we donate plays a vital role in supporting the hospital and its surrounding community. Adara partners with Kiwoko Hospital to help women deliver their babies safely, and help newborn babies needing specialised care in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU).
Since 2007, nearly 24,000 women have benefitted from the maternity ward, with around 6,500 babies having been cared for in the NICU. Aspen’s donations also helped fund a new 78-bed maternity ward which opened in 2010, resulting in a 26% increase in maternity ward admissions.
Kiwoko Hospital also offers a range of programmes for people living with HIV/AIDS focusing on treatment, nutrition, counselling and monitoring. More than 9,300 people living with HIV/AIDS received support in hospital and for treatment costs since 2007.
Insurance Business: What activities does Aspen take part in to show its support?
Our colleagues are passionate about the partnership with Adara, and there is no better example of the high levels of employee engagement than our annual trip in which a group of employees, chosen as Adara Ambassadors, travel to Uganda and experience first-hand how the money raised is being used to fund the Kiwoko Hospital.
Around 80 ambassadors have visited the hospital since 2007, reporting back on the latest developments there and in the community it serves. During their visit, the ambassadors take part in an annual race to raise funds: The Kiwoko Chase is a 16.5 km run through the villages of the Nakaseke District surrounding the hospital. Together with other fundraising activities, the eight 2016 Adara Ambassadors raised $15,000.
Insurance Business: Why is this type of corporate-charity partnership so important?
Over the past decade, new ideas of shared values and corporate social responsibility have entered into mainstream business thinking. Aspen has been at the forefront of this movement, with its decade-long partnership with Adara embedded at every level of the organisation. And the impact has been amazing – not only on the engagement of Aspen staff, but also on the people we serve in Uganda, whose lives have been changed because of the dedication of Aspen to this partnership. Thanks to the longevity of Aspen’s support and the lessons learned from maturing programmes, Adara is now in a position to reach more women and children in need across the globe with its Global Health programme. This programme will build on the deep expertise in newborn care in low-resource settings gained from the long-term programmes supported by Aspen.
Over 10 years, Adara has become embedded within our corporate culture. The Group is an ideal fit with our company values of innovation, expertise and collaboration, and we are proud of the positive impact we have generated together. Aspen has set a goal of raising $300,000 in 2017 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary, and we look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come.
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