The past year has challenged us in ways we couldn't have imagined. But it has also given us a chance to see a new level of resilience, and compassion.
In our relief efforts with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), I've seen this play out across countries, cultures, and languages. From the United States to the Ukraine, from Switzerland to South Sudan, our teams have brought relief efforts to the people and places that need it most. Here's a look at what we've been up to and what comes next.
In March 2020, we announced a partnership at Nestlé to provide first aid, emergency response, and epidemic control in the early fight against COVID-19. The IFRC worked tirelessly to help support health care systems around the world. The team worked on health systems big and small, increasing access to clean water, stocking essential medical supplies, and putting infection prevention and control measures in place in hospitals under strain.
Building on our work with the IFRC, Nestlé has been ensuring available and affordable food, as well as fighting poverty and hunger during the pandemic. Our teams stepped up to provide financial and in-kind donations across more than 50 countries, stocking food banks, hospitals, and care homes to serve vulnerable populations across Honduras, Pakistan, and Peru, as well as the U.S. and the U.K. We have also partnered with the European Federation of Food Banks to provide help for emergency services.
The next phase of our response
As the world learns to adapt and live with the pandemic, our needs have changed. The rapid development of vaccines has given us hope. But to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel, we need to ensure vaccine access for everyone, everywhere.
Through our continued work with the IFRC, we have learned that we share a common desire to make a difference to people’s lives across the world at a very local level. Now, with a new donation, we'll focus on establishing vaccination sites, securing vaccine transport, and supporting information campaigns for high-risk groups.
Together with other partners, Nestlé has committed CHF 10 million to date to support equity in vaccination efforts. Our contribution to support COVAX will help rapidly scale-up the international delivery of vaccines to low-income countries. We are also working directly with government authorities in some countries to provide donations and support for local vaccination programs.
The support for equitable access to vaccines is how we're looking to the future in Nestlé's response to the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to engage in the fight against the pandemic and its consequences, protecting people, maintaining global food supply and giving a helping hand in our local communities.
I am enormously proud to be part of a company that is helping those in need and acting as a force for good during the recovery. Pandemic life over the last year has taken a toll on all of us. But during that struggle, we've come together in ways big and small, whether it's the heroic frontline IFRC teams pushing through every obstacle to bring help wherever it's needed, our employees who have stepped in to help, or the simple act of friends and family offering support via an online video call. It's going to take more focus, more resources and more support to make it through the challenges ahead, but together we're coming out of this experience with the strength and shine to meet whatever tomorrow brings.