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Prudence Foundation

Building resilient communities

A powerful partnership that leverages innovation, technology and collaboration to ensure children can be kept safe at school and get the best start in life.

Prudence Foundation is partnering with Save the Children in Asia and Africa to build strong foundations for children's future learning and to enable communities to be more resilient against disaster events.

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Every child deserves the chance to learn and to go on to fulfil their potential. 

However, children of all ages in Asia, and across the world face increasing threats from environmental disasters – a situation made worse by the escalating climate crisis. Natural hazards not only threaten children’s lives, they disrupt children’s learning, causing many to fall behind. When children miss too much school, they struggle to catch up and may drop out altogether. The impact of a disrupted education adds up – and can be impossible for children to overcome. We are determined to change that.

Save the Children and Prudence Foundation have formed a powerful partnership to protect children’s futures, so they can go on to fulfil their potential. By combining our resources, networks, and expertise, we’ve achieved incredible impact for children. 

Since 2013, our pioneering Safe Schools programme has helped ensure more than 45,000 children and 17,000 adults are better prepared for natural disasters. Through First Read, an early-childhood development programme, we’ve supported more than 157,000 young children’s development in the Philippines and Cambodia by helping their parents to get involved with learning at home and making sure they have access to age-appropriate books in their own language. 

Now, we are implementing an innovative approach to school safety in the Philippines, by development a comprehensive safe schools ecosystem with the country’s Department of Education, which has the potential to be adapted across Asia to protect children in emergencies. And when disasters do happen, Prudential plc’s ongoing support for Save the Children’s Emergency Fund means specialist teams can be there within hours delivering life-saving care, and then stay to help children rebuild their lives. 

In the last 10 years, Save the Children’s work with Prudence Foundation and Prudential plc has helped reach over 14 million children. By investing in children’s futures through our strategic partnership and shared vision, we can help them stay safe, healthy, and learning – so they can go on to become who they want to be. 

Safe schools


Every child has the right to an education. But in disaster-prone areas of the Philippines, inequities in educational access have been growing and many children risk injury, trauma, and death simply by going to school. We have an ambitious plan to change that.

A BERT Facilitator trained by the Prudential Safe Schools project with a 3D school map identifying the qualities of a safe school.

A BERT Facilitator trained by the Prudential Safe Schools project with a 3D school map identifying the qualities of a safe school.

Building on our Safe Schools initiative, Save the Children and Prudence Foundation are working closely with the Philippines Department for Education to develop and evidence a new ecosystem approach to comprehensive school safety (CSS). We have already supported schools in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam to develop life-saving disaster risk education and capacity building programmes.

Now, we are scaling up our work to lead a national programme with the potential to create major long-term change, helping more children in the Philippines and beyond stay safe during emergencies. 

Over three years, we will improve national disaster risk reduction information systems to streamline data collection, make guidance and data easily accessible, and increase teachers’ access to training through online learning. This will support improved disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) at every level, increasing the knowledge and capacity of pupils, staff, and officials, and supporting informed decision-making. It will also empower children and communities to take an active part in ensuring DRRM policies are effectively implemented.

Our aim is to make the objectives of all pillars of the Comprehensive School Safety Framework a reality in a scalable and sustainable manner. As a result, children will lose fewer school days due to emergencies, more learning spaces will meet safe school standards and more schools will implement high quality DRRM education activities and services. 

Crucially, throughout the project we will gather evidence of what works to build a proven system for school safety that is innovative, adaptable, and ready to be replicated across Asia – with the potential to protect hundreds of thousands more children.

In 2021, we are taking our work a step further. Prudence Foundation are supporting Save the Children, in partnership with other organisations, to revise and update the Comprehensive School Safety Framework to make sure it is fit for the current and future challenges schools will face, including pandemics and the effects of the climate crisis. This important piece of work will also provide a practical guide for governments across the world to implement School Safety across their schools, impacting millions of children’s future.

First Read

Early childhood development and education is critical to a child’s cognitive, social, and physical development. But in Southeast Asia, many pre-school children are not getting the support they need.

Meng Seang, 5, reads with his mum, Sopheap, 32, at home in Kampong Chan District, Cambodia – he and his family were participants in our First Read programme.

In the Philippines and Cambodia, Prudence Foundation supported an innovative education programme designed to help young children develop essential literacy skills and prepare to start school.

Too many children don't have the chance to build the skills they need in their early years to learn effectively when they start school. Our First Read programme gave parents of pre-school children the knowledge, skills and materials they need to support their children's literacy and numeracy development.

First Read was launched in 2013. Together, we directly reached more than 157,000 children and 175,000 adults through activities that included developing early years reading material, providing parenting education and supporting community-based playgroup sessions. 

In both Cambodia and the Philippines, First Read worked in partnership with a wide range of actors, including community development workers, the publishing industry and local government agencies, a number of which integrated First Read approaches into their own services.

Our results show that parents who participated in First Read in the Philippines were almost twice as likely to send their children to pre-school activities. Their children also had better emergent literacy and social development skills.

In Cambodia, we increased access to early childhood and development services in our target communities and saw improvements in the number of children meeting expected development standards.

Last updated May 2021

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