The underwriter leant over the tiny baby in awe, watching her sleep peacefully under the vibrant blue lights of the infant radiant warmer that was keeping her stable. Looking around the room, he was humbled to think that this little girl, and a thousand more like her every year, would live thanks to this neonatal intensive care unit that the insurance company he worked for on the other side of the world had helped to fund in this small Ugandan village. More than that – the lives tens of thousands of mothers giving birth, children needing immunisations, and people living with diabetes, disabilities, or even HIV/AIDS were better because of the power of this partnership.
In 2017, Aspen Insurance, a leading global insurance and reinsurance company, celebrates the 10 year anniversary of its partnership with the Adara Group. The Adara Group is an innovative business made up of two parts: the first part is an international development organization, called Adara Development, which is focused on improving health and education for women, children and communities living in poverty – including tiny premature babies in the Uganda bush; the second part is two “for purpose” Australia-based corporate advisory businesses, Adara Advisors and Adara Partners. Their sole objective is to fund Adara Development’s administration and emergency project costs allowing 100% of all other donations received by Adara Development, including those from Aspen, to go directly to project-related costs. Since 2007, Aspen has fostered an extremely close partnership with the Adara Group, providing tangible benefits for both organisations.
Aspen is Adara’s longest standing corporate partner. In addition to the company’s financial support, Aspen’s 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.
Aspen and its employees have played a key role in supporting the operations of Adara’s partner, Kiwoko Hospital, a hospital servicing 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. Aspen and its employees know that the money they donate plays a vital role in supporting Kiwoko Hospital and the surrounding community. In Uganda, 42% of all births take place without a skilled attendant, whose presence could help avert 20% of all maternal deaths. 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.
Aspen staff are passionate about the partnership with Adara and there is no better example of the high levels of employee engagement than an annual trip for a group of employees, selected as Adara Ambassadors, to travel to Uganda and experience first-hand how the money raised is being used to fund the Kiwoko Hospital. Around 80 employees have visited Kiwoko Hospital since 2007, reporting back on the latest developments at the hospital and in the community it serves.
During their visit, the Ambassadors take part in an annual race to raise funds for the hospital. The Kiwoko Chase is a 16.5km run through the villages of the Nakaseke District surrounding the hospital. Together with other fundraising activities, the eight 2016 Adara Ambassadors raised $15,000.
Audette Exel, Founder and Chair, Adara Group, says: “Over the past decade, new ideas of shared value and corporate social responsibility have entered into mainstream business thinking. Aspen has been at the forefront of this movement with the 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 Adara’s 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.
Chris O’Kane, Aspen’s Group CEO, added: “Over 10 years, Adara has become embedded within our corporate culture. Adara 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.”
Back in Uganda, the tiny baby stretches out her arm, slowly waking from her slumber, oblivious to the thousands of people across the world who have come together to make sure she has the best possible chance of survival.
- Audette Exel, Founder and Chair of Adara Development
- Chris O’Kane, Group Chief Executive, Aspen