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Dear readers,

The pandemic has radically changed all of our lives. It has brought severe restrictions to everyday life and painful limitations in social contact. But it has also spotlighted how important our health is. For numerous project partners, the past year added to their existing challenge. Health services in many of our program countries were already suboptimal.  When Covid-19 hit, healthcare workers and hospitals found themselves frequently stretched to their limits.

However, it is crucial that people with hearing loss continue to receive care, particularly during a global crisis like this. In these times of social distancing, it is even more important to build close relationships through communication with others. And it’s also essential to invest in reliable healthcare infrastructure. Determined to overcome these hurdles, often using creative solutions, the Hear the World Foundation has continued to be fully involved with 18 projects in 16 countries

Our new five-year strategy has served as a roadmap in this. Our focus is on scalable and sustainable programs in selected regions, which serve as a model for audiological care in low- to middle-income countries. We are concentrating on key countries, in which we collaborate with local partners with a long-term focus. We want the results of our work to be clearly measurable and, in the best case scenario, replicable in other regions. Our ultimate goal is to empower local teams to continue their work independently, without our support.

In line with our new requirements and holistic approach, we invited external experts to join our Foundation Board in March 2021. Dr. Katrin Imhof is helping us sharpen our focus on the sustainable implementation of our project work. She has over 20 years’ experience working for international aid organizations in more than 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Our second expert, Beate Eckhardt, brings extensive experience in foundation management, philanthropic partnerships, and collaborations. She gives some fascinating insights into what motivates her in an interview for this Activity Report.

Every year, Sonova employees make a valuable contribution to our work and help teams around the world to do their work professionally and to the latest standards. Although volunteering assignments on site were not possible during the whole of the last business year, there has been no shortage of support. Initial volunteers have already started dedicated online support. Last but not least, we have increased the opportunities for project partners to share their experiences, allowing them to benefit greatly from common solutions to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

I am convinced that the impact of our Foundation’s work will reach far beyond the success of individual projects, and that whole regions will benefit from our efforts to give children with hearing loss the chance to shape their own future. We hope that you will accompany us on this journey and thank you for your support and appreciation.

Warmest regards

Arnd Kaldowski
President of the Hear the World Foundation