Under the umbrella of its “Our World, Our Family” initiative, Western Union announced a multi-faceted package of support to respond to the current humanitarian crisis in East Africa. Over the next few weeks, together with its Agents, consumers and global non-profit organizations, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation will contribute up to US$750,000 to several groups working to ease the suffering in affected countries across East Africa.
Global experts have referred to the crisis in East Africa as the most serious food insecurity situation in the world today. Several countries in the region have been devastated by cyclical drought, leaving millions of East Africans in the grip of starvation and forcing the displacement of hundreds of thousands who can no longer survive in their home communities.
“We are fortunate to be able to leverage the unique combination of our global Agent network, our recognized brand, our consumer relationships and the resources of the Western Union Foundation to bring various parties together to get funds flowing to where they are needed most in such a time of crisis,” said Jean Claude Farah, Western Union senior vice president, Middle East and Africa and a member of the Western Union Foundation Board.
Western Union has opened avenues to encourage and support consumer charitable giving to aid people in East Africa. The company has activated a special account to enable consumers to make a donation to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies by sending a no-fee* money transfer using the Western Union® Quick Collect® or Quick PaySM service. This service is available through participating Western Union Agent locations and online at www.westernunion.com. Consumers should use code city, Africa, CO to ensure their donation is directed to East Africa relief.
Consumers in the United States may also use their mobile phones to make a US$10 contribution by texting “AFRICA” to 52000. Donations will go to Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian relief organization and long-time Western Union philanthropic partner. Donations will be charged to the consumer’s mobile phone bill** and will be matched, up to an aggregate total of $25,000, by the Western Union Foundation.
Both consumer-giving options will be available through October 15, 2011.
Teaming With Agents
In Kenya, Western Union was one of the first corporations to pledge support for the Kenyans for Kenya appeal initiated by its mobile Agent, Safaricom, along with the KCB Foundation, the Media Owners Association and the Kenyan Red Cross. Kenyans for Kenya is a nationwide effort to raise funds for the Kenyan Red Cross, which is diligently working to ease the suffering and starvation affecting the nation’s northern region. The Western Union Foundation has matched the US$100,000 donation from the Safaricom Foundation dollar-for-dollar for a total contribution of US$200,000.
A long-time supporter of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Western Union and its corporate foundation have called for companies around the world to support CERF in its humanitarian efforts throughout East Africa. In February, Western Union announced it will match up to US$250,000 in corporate contributions to CERF this year for a total donation of up to US$500,000.
“Corporations have the opportunity to double their impact by giving to CERF, which has been on the ground coordinating humanitarian aid and providing relief long before this current crisis reached the international spotlight. We look forward to working together with others to address the immediate crisis and to finding lasting solutions that will create hope and opportunity for generations to come,” said Luella Chavez D’Angelo, global head of Corporate Responsibility and president, the Western Union Foundation. ”
Go to http://ochaonline.un.org/cerf/CERFHome/tabid/1705/language/en-US/Default.aspx to learn more about the corporate match opportunity.
*Western Union may make money on the exchange of currencies.
**A one-time donation of US$10.00 will be added to the mobile phone bill of the donor or deducted from his/her prepaid balance. All charges are billed by and payable to the donor’s mobile service provider. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of Mercy Corps by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Users can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 52000 and text HELP to 52000 for help.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services are offered through a combined network of approximately 470,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com.
About the Western Union Foundation
Through Western Union’s Our World, Our Family® signature program, the Western Union Foundation supports initiatives to empower people through access to economic opportunity. Recognized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in 2009, the program is a five-year, $50 million commitment reflecting efforts made by Western Union employees, agents and partners around the world. Since its inception, the Western Union Foundation has awarded more than $73.8 million in grants to more than 2,030 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 108 countries and territories. To learn more, visit http://westernunionfoundation.org.