BBVA: A Proven Commitment to Education
In 2008, BBVA and Spain for UNHCR signed a three-year cooperation agreement under which BBVA committed to finance the access to education of refugee and displaced children.
For a third consecutive year, BBVA, in cooperation with Spain for UNHCR and the Madrid town council, invited its employees, customers and the public at large to participate in the benefit race “Carrera Solidaria BBVA” last November 7th, at a fee of €5 per head, an amount that is matched by BBVA. Given that 10,000 people signed up, and since those who did not wish to run could still participate by making a donation, the event has raised €100,880 in 2010.
A proven commitment to education
BBVA has made education and the right to access it, the main pillars of its CSR policy. This reflects a belief that education is of critical importance to maximize human potential and leverage progress in our societies. The bank’s motto is “we work for a better future for everyone”; for most people, and especially for refugee children and youth, education is the only way of attaining this better future.
For example, the BBVA Integration Scholarships Program provides scholarships to thousands of children in Latin America every year. “Our education program has focused on the neediest, and we want this commitment to continue and be reinforced with a charity element involving all of our stakeholder groups: employees, customers, shareholders, and society at large," states Ángel Cano, COO of BBVA.
According to Cano, the project falls under the aegis of an agreement with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which for the 2008-2010 period has financed the primary education of 2,800 refugee children in Dadaab, Kenya and has provided access to education for 2,878 displaced children and youth in Colombia.
María Ángeles Siemens, Director of Spain with UNHCR, notes that “out of close to 36 million refugees being assisted by UNHCR, 15 million are children”, praising BBVA’s commitment and declaring “to contribute funds for the education of refugee children is to invest in a better future for us all”.
So far, the three year collaboration between BBVA and Spain for UNHCR has raised €220.880 and has “changed the world” of 3,535 refugee and displaced children in Kenya and Colombia by providing them the possibility of a better future through education; BBVA and UNHCR will continue this partnership for the next three years with the renovation of the initial covenant.