CBRE and Plan International Launch Partnership to Build a Better Future for Children in Sierra Leone

CBRE and Plan International launch partnership to help build a better future for 135,000 children in Sierra Leone.

CBRE, the world’s largest real estate services and investment firm, has joined forces with Plan International – a leading international children’s NGO, to help transform the lives of a generation of children and young people, particularly girls, in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Worldwide, 65 million girls are not allowed to go to school, and girls are often the most marginalised and at risk children. Educating girls not only dramatically improves their own life chances; it also has a major impact on their families and communities, and will ultimately help to break the cycle of poverty.

CBRE’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) business is joining forces with Plan International as the lead corporate partner in a three year, €7.4 million international community investment programme to help provide an education to more than 135,000 children, particularly girls in Sierra Leone. CBRE has pledged to raise at least €850,000 through corporate and employee donations which will provide bursaries, create better school facilities, offer vocational training for female teachers and assistants, provide support for children with disabilities and improve the quality of teaching across 780 schools across five districts of Sierra Leone. The project is also supported through the UK Government’s international aid commitment which secures match funding on corporate pledges.

Despite it being a resource-rich country, there is a high level of national debt and poverty amongst Sierra Leone’s population. Child and maternal mortality rates are the highest in the world.

Monique van ‘t Hek, National Director, Plan International in the Netherlands, commented: “CBRE have come on board at a crucial time when together we can make real inroads into improving access to quality education for girls in Sierra Leone. Girls are less likely to have enough to eat, get the medicine they need or simply survive than their brothers. By giving them a safe education we can help to remove common threats such as early marriage and childbirth, domestic slavery, violence and discrimination. This is an exciting new programme and we’ve been impressed by CBRE’s fast response and support.

Marco Hekman, CEO, CBRE in the Netherlands, commented:
"Our new partnership with Plan International forms a central part of our responsible business commitments, and is focused on an area where we believe we can make a real difference. Tackling child poverty is key to realising the potential of millions of children growing up in Africa today, particularly girls. We are proud to be involved in such an important programme."

Sybil Bailor, Chief of Party, Girl’s Education Challenge Programme, Plan International in Sierra Leone, commented:

“This project will help marginalised girls access a quality education and create a better life for their families. Many children commence primary school, but girls in particular are unlikely to complete basic education. This is due to issues such as lack of family money, forced marriages, and early pregnancy. 73% of girls in Sierra Leone are no longer in school by the age of 8-9. We are very proud of this new partnership with CBRE and commend their commitment to helping realise the potential of these children.”

CBRE’s fundraising activities to support this project are already underway and will involve 27 countries across the EMEA region. This includes CBRE’s annual EMEA Charity Bike Ride, this year from Madrid, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal from 22 – 26 May 2014.