Estimated duration
9 years
Estimated total value
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB); Standard Chartered Bank

Seeing is Believing – A Renewed Commitment


Projects will be established in partnership with eye care NGOs in areas where there is a high incidence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment, a high need for expanded access to eye care services for those least able to afford them and in countries where the Bank has a presence. Seeing is Believing sources projects through its partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The IAPB, which has 111 member organizations, advises on project locations in order to achieve a good balance between regional distribution, unmet need and alignment with the Bank’s footprint. It also advises on the types of interventions that are most needed in each location based on local and national eye health trends and gaps in current service provision.
Seeing is Believing will run two main types of projects.
The first group of around thirty projects, worth $1 million each, will seek to build on Seeing is Believing’s success over the past eight years of supporting over sixty eye care projects, providing high quality sustainable services to communities in need. Seeing is Believing’s partner organizations will continue to adopt a Comprehensive Eye Care approach focusing on human resource development, infrastructure and disease control. Seeing is Believing will work with its NGO partners to improve the delivery and sustainability of projects so that the projects are financially self-sustaining where possible, embedded within national health systems and adequately staffed and equipped. Community awareness and education are also a key element for Seeing is Believing projects in order to generate demand for eye care services and raise awareness of good eye health. Ensuring sustainability is therefore an important deliverable for these projects.
The second group of projects will focus on supporting and building the capacity of national pediatric eye care services. Due to the complicated nature of children’s eye care, the five planned projects require a greater investment of around USD 5 million each and will be implemented by a coalition of NGO partners in strategic locations to maximize sustainable social and economic impact. The higher cost of tackling childhood blindness however, will pay off in terms of the greater number of disability-adjusted life years averted.
Between now and 2020, projects will be funded and implemented over the course of three tranches: 2012-2016; 2014-2018; and 2016-2020. In each tranche, approximately ten $1million projects and one to two $5 million projects will be in progress. The countries selected for the first tranche of funding, within the $1million project group will be: Bangladesh, Botswana (max $500K), Ghana, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa (max $500K), and Zambia. The $5million project group will include China as well as a joint project in East Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The projects will be implemented through NGO partners who may in turn approve local non-profit implementation partners. Local Bank staff will also be involved in the management of projects: from the due diligence and launch to the monitoring and evaluation processes. Engaging Standard Chartered staff is a key component of Seeing is Believing and in the past the Bank’s staff have, using their core skills, worked with the NGOs on some of the financial, marketing and IT aspects of the projects.


Every minute a child goes blind and 60% of these children will die within a year of going blind (VISION 2020, last accessed 06/02/2011). Globally, there are 39 million blind people (1.26 million are children) and 80% of that blindness is avoidable (WHO factsheet, last accessed 06/01/2011). A further 246 million people have moderate or severe visual impairment; 90% of blind and visually impaired people live in low-income countries (ibid). However, simple measures can make a massive difference not only to an individual but also to her family, local community and wider economy. Estimates put the cost of lost productivity from avoidable blindness at USD 200 billion per annum and without action, this figure is expected to rise to USD 300 billion by 2020 (Metcalfe, Julian The economic argument for VISION 2020 in the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness 2010 Report, 2010; 30-33).

Progress Update

July 2017

The commitment makers have raised $55.8 million, which is 88.6% of their CGI commitment. They have set up four out of the five child eye health projects planned, and will launch the fifth one in 2017. They have surpassed the target to improve eye care and health for 35 million people and have helped 71.8 million people.

Partnership Opportunities

The SiB Innovation Fund aims to fund projects that develop and test ideas, new technology or operating models for delivering eye care with the potential for high impact or even systemic change in the campaign to eliminate avoidable blindness.
The fund will support projects at the following two stages. First, at the Concept Stage, grant funds of up to USD 50,000 will be given to support projects that are in the pilot stage in assessing a new approach, operating model or technology with potential for impact. Second, at the preparing for scale stage, grant funds of up to USD 200,000 will be given to projects that have demonstrated success at a pilot stage and can now be explored further or taken to scale.
Through the partnership, ambitious programs with proven solutions will be delivered across the Commonwealth by the Trust, supported by a donation of $20 million from Standard Chartered, the largest corporate donation to the Trust. The partnership will focus on two main causes of avoidable blindness – blinding trachoma and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.