The Smartgroup Foundation was established in 2019, to give us an opportunity to help the people and communities around us. Since that time, we have been proud to offer financial support to a number of worthy causes.
It has been our pleasure to provide assistance to our grant recipient World Animal Protection to help with its PrepAiD program.
World Animal Protection fights to end animal suffering
World Animal Protection has a vision of animals living free from cruelty and suffering and has been hard at work for more than 50 years. Whether campaigning for change, or assisting in disasters, World Animal Protection has been fighting for animals across the globe.
In our own backyard, Australians often have to contend with devastating natural disasters. And such disasters have a profound impact on animals – whether that be pets, farm animals, or wildlife.
We have seen catastrophic events recently too: the horrific 2019-20 summer bushfires, and the floods in Queensland and New South Wales in 2022.
The summer of 2019-20, for instance, saw roughly 15,000 fires burn through 19 million hectares of land – leaving about three billion animals dead, injured, or without a home.
World Animal Protection aims to ensure that animals are never forgotten when a disaster occurs, in part by promoting sound emergency planning. Including by making free disaster packs available to the public to improve emergency preparedness.
World Animal Protection launches PrepAiD
First launched in the Blue Mountains and other local areas in 2020, World Animal Protection has been running a series of live events called PrepAiD.
It is a way for the organisation to further assist communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare so they can better protect animals. In 2021, PrepAiD expanded to other parts of NSW and Victoria.
As Ben Pearson, country director for World Animal Protection says:
"We know people want to help animals in emergencies on-the-ground, and these community education events are giving them the knowledge, and empowering them to protect their pets, farm animals, and wildlife, before, during and after bushfires and other natural disasters."
The Smartgroup Foundation gets involved with PrepAiD
With funding provided by a Smartgroup Foundation grant, World Animal Protection extended PrepAiD to the NSW North Coast between October and December 2021. Visiting nine high-risk regional communities, the expos were run at local farmers’ markets and attended by more than 1,400 people.
One of the facilitators, wildlife carer Bridget Thomson, explains:
"It’s been awesome to be part of PrepAiD, especially going to areas really prone to fires and floods. We were getting the right information to the right people so they learn how to help wildlife, plan for their pets and farm animals, and where to get help in their community."
The events were also able to promote open dialogue between community and key stakeholders (like veterinarians and rescue workers).
"When responding to an emergency, things can be stressful, and it always makes things run more smoothly when you know what to do and who you will be working with," Dr Duane March (veterinarian) says.
Through some fun and entertaining free public events, World Animal Protection was able to increase community resilience, and knowledge and awareness of how to protect animals in a disaster.
The Smartgroup Foundation
Each year, Smartgroup provides its foundation with funding for grants to support causes that help the communities in which we live and operate. We’re so pleased that we could support World Animal Protection and its important work with PrepAiD. Read more about World Animal Protection here.
If you’d like to find out a little bit more about the Smartgroup Foundation, we’d love for you to take a look here.