What we do
Reducing the enormous toll of child drowning deaths across the region will significantly aid many Asian countries in achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 – the goal focussed on reducing the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. It will also provide valuable research and experience that can be further implemented worldwide.
With an aquatic lifestyle central to its culture, and with a rich and iconic history of lifesaving both as a service and as a sport, Australia is the obvious choice to take a lead role in drowning prevention and education around the globe.
It is also one way that Australia can help its neighbours achieve another target. In September 2000, world leaders committed their countries to achieving the Millennium Development Goals – eight target areas designed to relieve the suffering of the world’s impoverished and vulnerable by 2015.
Families in developing countries are often large. Parents tend to work long hours in labour-intensive jobs – both at home and outside of home – and children are often left unsupervised. As a result, most children who drown are aged between one and four – ages when children are mobile and active, but still in the home environment.
Helping families develop effective means of child supervision, educating families about water hazards around their homes and providing community crèches where parents can safely leave their children during the busiest hours of the day, are simple and effective ways of reducing drowning deaths in younger children.
Swim Safe Program
SwimSafe is a program that teaches children basic swimming and water safety skills. Evidence shows that basic swimming and water safety skills are the single most effective way to prevent children over five from drowning. The skills they learn continue to reduce their risk of drowning for the remainder of their childhood.
SwimSafe programs are currently conducted in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Thailand, with many more countries requiring assistance
Knowing that child drowning in Asia is estimated to exceed 200,000 deaths every year and that drowning is a leading cause of death for children in many Asian countries, it was deemed appropriate and necessary to establish a centre with the sole purpose of conducting research into the child drowning issue.
The result is the International Drowning Research Centre – Bangladesh (IDRC-B), a collaboration between Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) and the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB).
Strategically located in Bangladesh, a low income country with a large drowning burden, and with the assistance of the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID), IDRC-B will further child drowning research, develop and test culturally appropriate interventions and their implementation, and contribute to national and regional drowning prevention capacity.
IDRC-B is already contributing to the reduction of child drowning.
Their research—both completed and ongoing—was a significant feature of the World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2011 and the centre has provided many key lessons across the areas of project management, research, intervention planning and communications.The continual research conducted by IDRC-B is playing a vital role in the reduction of child drowning globally.
The Global Drowning Fund seeks to bring the issue of child drowning in developing countries to the forefront of international development debate and policy. The staggering statistics that have uncovered drowning as a leading cause of death for children 1–17 in Asia show that immediate attention must be paid to an issue that is not just an epidemic, but can easily be prevented.
The Global Drowning Fund works with local communities and governments, NGOs and individuals to prevent children from drowning in developing countries. Through traditional and new media technologies, through grass-roots development implementation and through continuing and expanding its work with the world’s governments and policy makers, the Global Drowning Fund aims to keep all necessary parties informed of the substantial issue of child drowning.
World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2011
Every few years, the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) brings together its member organisations and world leaders in water safety research, policy and practice, at a World Conference on Drowning Prevention.
These conferences enable the sharing of knowledge and a collaborative effort to reduce drowning worldwide. The Royal Life Saving Society – Australia won the right to host the 2011 conference and strategically chose Danang, Vietnam as the conference location in order to bring world attention to the epidemic of drowning in developing countries.
The World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2011 saw 430 delegates representing 52 countries highlight the latest research and thinking in the areas of lifesaving, public health, water safety education, lifesaving sport and aquatic disaster reduction.
The conference delegates came to Vietnam with the specific goal of addressing the particular issues faced by low and middle income countries as they tackle the immensity of drowning with few resources.
The World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2011 also facilitated the building of a global platform to reduce drowning – a collaborative effort that highlights the most need and the best course of action to reduce the burden of drowning in the future.
For more information please visit: http://wcdp2011.com/