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.