Prince Alwaleed pledges $30m to fight pandemic

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 29 April 2020

Prince Alwaleed pledges $30m to fight pandemic

  • Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: With many developed nations struggling to cope with COVID-19, we must spare a thought for the developing countries of Africa and the less fortunate countries in the Middle East
  • The $30 million comes after the prince pledged the use of his hotels, schools and other businesses in Saudi Arabia to support the government’s measures against the pandemic

DUBAI: Alwaleed Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has given an extra $20.6 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The donation, in partnership with some of the world’s leading philanthropies, comes on top of the organization’s existing funding of $9.4 million, which has been reallocated to fight the pandemic. This brings the prince’s total commitment to medical and economic help to $30 million.

“In these times of unprecedented crisis it is more important now than ever that we pull our resources together in the battle against COVID-19,” he said.

“With many developed nations struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must spare a thought for the developing countries of Africa and the less fortunate countries in the Middle East.”

The $30 million comes after he pledged the use of his hotels, schools and other businesses in Saudi Arabia to support the government’s measures against the pandemic, and support for Lebanese students studying in virus-ravaged Europe to return home.

The funds will be spent on a variety of initiatives, including those led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI vaccination projects, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

“The series of impact-driven initiatives will seek to tackle the health and economic implications of the pandemic, such as manufacturing rapid diagnostic tests for developing countries and reducing the long-term impact of the potential economic fallout of COVID-19,” Alwaleed Philanthropies said.

“Continuing to support the Middle East and North Africa, the fund includes a significant allocation towards initiatives including allocation to UN-Habitat to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in the most vulnerable communities, and to establish shelter and rehabilitate damaged housings in order to address overcrowding and enable social / physical distancing in disadvantaged neighborhoods.”

Alwaleed Philanthropies is also working with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) to mitigate the economic fallout of the crisis in Africa while promoting hygiene in developing countries.

The amount allocated to ICESCO will strengthen local manufacturing capabilities to produce hygiene products and protective equipment, while empowering women and young entrepreneurs in the informal and local sector.

Many of the initiatives will support vital work to support communities and curb the spread of COVID-19.

Alwaleed Philanthropies will be working with Gates Philanthropy Partners to fund health projects to accelerate the development of therapeutics and delivery of diagnostics to protect vulnerable populations across Africa.

This includes an allocation to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which will allow for additional diagnostic laboratories and testing capabilities throughout the continent.

Additionally, Alwaleed Philanthropies is building upon its existing relationship with Splash to provide clean water and promote hand washing in rural and urban areas in South Asia and Africa. 

Supporting scientific research to reduce future outbreaks, Alwaleed Philanthropies has built on its four-year relationship with GAVI, with a further amount allocated to provide accessibility and innovative solutions to reach remote areas, and an allocation to support the WHO in strengthening its existing procurement capacity to rapidly secure needed emergency products and build a global stockpile.

Separately, GAVI — backed by Saudi Arabia — on Monday made $40 million available to the UN Children’s Fund to secure personal protective equipment, diagnostic tests and other vital supplies on behalf of 58 low-income countries in response to the pandemic, bringing its total support so far in the crisis to $200 million.


Saudi student takes part in international program for COVID-19

The CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations. (ReThe CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations. (Reuters/File)ters/File)
Updated 04 August 2020

Saudi student takes part in international program for COVID-19

  • Al-Towijri’s CVT role includes writing articles, designing social media posts, and welcoming and guiding new members

JEDDAH: For the last few months, high school student Talal Al-Towijri from Alkhobar has been investing his time during the pandemic to work with students from across the globe to make the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) more understandable to the public, having joined the US-based Coronavirus Visualization Team (CVT).

The CVT is a nonprofit, crowdsourced student network founded at Harvard, seeking to disseminate information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are a group of over 1,000 skilled and passionate students from different countries across the globe who are working remotely on leveraging data analytics and visualizations for the public about COVID-19’s ongoing impact,” Al-Towijri told Arab News.
The organization was established to combat the current “infodemic,” or information overload, which can be inaccurate and misleading.
“It is a tech-net community of data scientists and analysts, developers and communicators,” said Al-Towijri. “We also work with professors and industry professionals to introduce quality statistics and to better visualize and share the impacts, present and future, of COVID-19.”
Al-Towijri’s CVT role includes writing articles, designing social media posts, and welcoming and guiding new members.
“By joining CVT I felt like I was doing something to help the world instead of sitting around during the lockdown,” he said.
The students’ group works with partners to publicize accurate and digestible information and help organizations fighting on the frontline and developing data-driven policy proposals.
The CVT data visualizations display information from multiple, often overlooked, angles, such as climate implications, socioeconomic factors, and societal aspects.
Moreover, such data analytics can help businesses, nations, and individuals not only understand the disease impact but also to explore coronavirus recovery strategies.
“My team and I are a crowdsourced group of passionate school and university students from around the world who are voluntarily analyzing data on all matters COVID-19 including socioeconomics, census statistics, mental health, and pollution-related data.”
The CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations, and is seeking more partnerships around the world, including in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East and North African regions.
Al-Towijri joined when the organization was first launched in April by Harvard student Lucas Chu as a member of the Coronavirus Visualization Community (CVC) before he became a managing member of the CVT itself.

HIGHLIGHTS

•The CVT is a nonprofit, crowdsourced student network founded at Harvard, seeking to disseminate information surrounding the pandemic.

• The CVT data visualizations display information from multiple, often overlooked, angles, such as climate implications, socioeconomic factors, and societal aspects.

The CVT has launched different projects and initiatives, including online events and panels with prominent guests in the field of health and science from top international universities and organizations.
He is very proud of his experience at the CVT. He believes that skilled and passionate high school and university students who are keen to invest their abilities in a rewarding volunteering experience should join such organizations.
He said: “Most students are talented by nature, but they are usually not given chances that could push them out of their comfort zones.”
“Therefore, I believe there should be more student-run organizations in the Kingdom, and there should be more activities for students where they can engage with the community and feel productive, helpful, and powerful,” he added.
 Al-Towijri noted that there is a lack of student-run organizations in the region with sustainable goals and sustainable support from big organizations.
For him, such organizations need support and access to resources as much as they need passionate leaders to help them grow and prosper.
“What distinguishes CVT is that it is crowdsourced and student-run; we are students reporting to students, it is a beautiful community that feels like a family,” he said.
Al-Towijri believes that CVT has a strong potential to expand its reach in the Kingdom by partnering with universities and different companies, as he believes many students in the country are highly skilled and passionate to make the world a better place.
“I want more Arabs and Saudis to join the organization,” he said. “Any student with minimal skills in research and writing can join.”
The CVT can be reached at www.understandcovid.org.