MENLO PARK, Calif. – The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has awarded $1.2 million in emergency grants to two existing grantee organizations that are providing desperately needed health services to women and children in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia. The Foundation awarded $900,000 to International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and $300,000 to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). The grant to UNFPA will be administered by the United Nations Foundation.

“In the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, we are all trying to find ways to offer much-needed assistance,” said Paul Brest, president of the Hewlett Foundation. “Our staff has been in close contact with the Foundation’s grantees on the ground in the affected region, and the need for services there is overwhelming. These emergency grants will immediately begin to address the desperate need for health services, especially among pregnant women and children, who are extremely vulnerable right now.”

About IPPF’s work in South Asia
IPPF and its member associations constitute the largest non-governmental organization network devoted to improving reproductive health, including pre- and post-natal care and safe deliveries, as well as family planning services.  Many of the member associations also offer basic child health care services including the provision of oral rehydration salts – the frontline defense from and treatment of diarrhea-related diseases.  Through their large network of health care professionals, clinical facilities, and good relations with the governments in all the countries devastated by the tsunami, the member associations are able to respond to the enormous challenges caused by the disaster.  In addition, many of the staff of the member associations come from the communities that have borne the brunt of the tragedy and are known and trusted by those whom they serve. 

Emergency funds from the Foundation will enable IPPF and the member associations to immediately respond to provide greatly needed health services, particularly to women and girls, including pregnant women, as well as to young children.  Foundation funds will also enable the member associations to construct temporary facilities and to begin the longer term challenge of rebuilding their destroyed infrastructure.

About UNFPA’s work in South Asia
UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of population assistance. Since it became operational in 1969, the Fund has provided substantial assistance to developing countries, at their request, to address their population and development needs. In the affected areas, UNFPA has committed money and staff for rapid health assessments, hygiene needs and health supplies, including water purification tablets. UNFPA is collaborating closely with governments and other UN
agencies and humanitarian partners to assess immediate and longer-term needs.

Among the affected are tens of thousands of pregnant and nursing women, who are especially susceptible to waterborne diseases and may require supplementary feeding, prenatal care and delivery assistance. Even in ideal circumstances, some 15 per cent of pregnant women require emergency obstetric care to avoid maternal and infant deaths. UNFPA warns that physical and psychological trauma will mean even more pregnant women in need.

To address these concerns, UNFPA is working with partners to ensure that all humanitarian assistance addresses the special vulnerability of women and girls in disaster-affected areas. Priority areas to be addressed by UNFPA in a soon-to-be-issued donor appeal will include emergency obstetric care, the establishment of temporary health facilities, and the provision of equipment and supplies.

About the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1966 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy, population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.