The Global Drowning Fund is the operational name of Royal Life Saving Society – Australia's Global Drowning Overseas Aid Relief Fund.
The Global Drowning Overseas Aid Relief Fund was established in response to the high burden of drowning experienced throughout many Asian countries, with the knowledge that similar scenarios are likely in many low and middle income countries throughout the world.
Through current and developing programs, the Global Drowning Fund aims to provide training, education, and research, and increase local skills and capacity for the prevention of what has become a regional epidemic. The work now being done will form the basis of drowning prevention globally.
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia works in partnership with the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) – the world authority for drowning prevention, lifesaving and lifesaving sport – to raise the issue of global drowning and build capacity across the region to address the problem.
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia also works alongside The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC), and the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB).
Vital work is underway, and has included the ILS World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2011, which had a specific emphasis on child drowning in low and middle income countries (LMICs), and the establishing of a child drowning research centre.
Strategically located in Bangladesh, the International Drowning Research Centre – Bangladesh (IDRCB) is undertaking research and evaluating and providing technical and communications assistance on child drowning and its associated issues.
Open Letter to the Australian Government
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) wishes to acknowledge the Australian Government for the significant support it has provided towards drowning-focussed research and interventions in Asia over the past few years.
The Australian Government has encouraged efforts to increase awareness and collaboration and to support an evidence-based approach to prevention strategies.
Australians have been at the forefront of developing and refining the skills and expertise in drowning reduction.Much of this is transferable, and by working in partnership with local organisations, the capacity development is far-reaching and long-lasting.
The Australian Government, through its Agency for International Development (AusAID), has contributed to the following activities:
1. World Conference on Drowning Prevention, through AusAID and the Australian Embassy – Vietnam. This allowed organisers to focus on expanding the event from a four-day conference to two years’ worth of regional drowning prevention activities, including many workshops and targeted advocacy to raise awareness of drowning.
2. Developing Countries Scholarship Fund, through AusAID’s International Seminar Support Scheme. This resulted in the attendance of over 25 scholars from across Asia-Pacific and Africa.
3. International Drowning Research Centre – Bangladesh, through AusAID and the Australian High Commission – Bangladesh. This research centre contributes to knowledge in areas including drowning and children under four, expansion of survival swimming to national coverage, and the feasibility of resuscitation training and use in rural communities.
4. SwimSafe Drowning Prevention Intervention – Vietnam, through AusAID and the Australian Embassy – Vietnam. SwimSafe serves as a demonstration and capacity building activity for Danang and the Vietnamese Government. Sinnce 2009 it has reached over 10,000 local children with survival swimming education.
5. Other Australian Government Support including: the Australia–Malaysia Institute (AMI), who has contributed to the Malaysia Scholarship Program, the Council of Australia–Arab Relations (CAAR), who is supporting scholarships for people from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Sudan, and the Australia–Thailand Institute (ATI) who support the SwimSafe program in Thailand.
Above: Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia, opens the ILS World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Vietnam in 2011. The conference was hosted by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia and TASC, with assistance from the Australian Government, and brought international focus to the issue of child drowning in low and middle income countries.