Business Charity Awards: Overseas Project - Winner: Barclays and Unicef UK

Awarded to the project that has made the biggest difference to charity beneficiaries through its involvement in a project run by a UK charity outside the UK

Barclays and Unicef UK
Barclays and Unicef UK

Lloyds Banking Group and Opportunity International

E.ON AG and Global Action Plan
Openwork and The Philippine Community Fund
Reckitt Benckiser and Save the Children

Barclays and Unicef UK

Barclays and Unicef UK joined forces in 2008 for the Building Young Futures project, which helps young people from disadvantaged communities in 13 countries work towards financial independence and security.

The bank's £5m investment, the largest donation Unicef UK has received from a single corporate partner, helped more than 477,400 young people, way above the charity's target of 350,000.

Barclays' vision was to harness its employees' expertise to expand the skills of unemployed young people. By working with Unicef UK, it felt it could build on the grass-roots experience of Unicef field offices overseas and develop projects to change young people's lives.

Hundreds of Barclays staff have given thousands of volunteering hours to Building Young Futures. The bank says the project provided more than 76,000 young people with new or renewed access to education, previously denied to them by homelessness, child trafficking, displacement or child labour. It also helped 2,000 adolescents gain employment or work experience through apprenticeships or internships and allowed 1,500 young people to set up small businesses with micro-credit loans.

Projects include employability training and strategic career advice for 30,000 young people in Egypt and the training of 1,200 young people in small business management in Botswana.

One beneficiary of the scheme is Hope, a survivor of trafficking, who took part in a vocational training course in Nigeria. She then received a start-up grant, business premises and equipment to set up a hairdressing salon. She told the bank: "It is a dream come true for me, thanks to Barclays and Unicef."

Barclays' involvement in Building Young Futures has unlocked interest and resources from businesses and governments, with the result that initiatives will continue beyond this year, when the project was due to end.

Governments in 60 per cent of countries where the programmes operated have said they are committed to the programmes.

Other private sector involvement also looks set to continue. In Brazil, Barclays has introduced seven other companies to a scheme to open apprenticeships.

Barclays said Building Young Futures was a commitment to aligning community investment initiatives with its core business expertise and its social utility as a financial services provider.

Lila Dowie, corporate partnerships manager at Anthony Nolan and one of the judges in this category, called the scheme "a great example of a ground-breaking partnership and community investment programme, impressive and far-reaching in scale".

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