Our international partners

We can’t take on drowning alone - and we don’t have to. We’re working with a committed and diverse group of organisations to reach more people and save more lives worldwide.

Swimming lessons taking place in Tanzania by our partner

Photo: RNLI

From the teacher training a child to swim to the researcher whose findings recommended the lessons, we work with partners at every stage of drowning prevention.

Who are the RNLI’s international partners?

The George Institute for Global Health is an independent medical research organisation, targeting preventable illnesses and injuries that are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. They are providing the RNLI with scientific support to ensure robust evidence underpins the Bhasa project in Bangladesh. Their findings will ultimately help other regions and countries with drowning prevention planning. They are also researching country profiles that help us to decide where to work in future.

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is an international charity focused on preventing loss of life in the world’s waters. We work closely together - both at home and overseas - to improve our own search and rescue services, as well as helping fellow organisations with crew exchanges, support and mentoring.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is a public research university specialising in global health. LSHTM are world leaders in the measurement of global health burdens and have technical expertise in managing health data. They’re providing technical expertise as we compile different drowning data sources in Tanzania and developing a low-cost approach that may be used by other nations.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) directs and coordinates international health within the United Nations system. We now have Official Relations Status with the WHO, acknowledging the organisation as a key player and trusted partner within the field of drowning prevention and global public health.

A Swim Safe teacher runs a lesson in a pond in Barisal, Bangladesh

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

A Swim Safe lesson in Barisal, Bangladesh. Here the CIPRB and George Institute have carried out groundbreaking household survey on drowning.

We’re supporting these partners to deliver drowning prevention projects in their home countries. Click on a country to see how we’re working together:


Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (BFSCD)

Centre for Injury Prevention and Research - Bangladesh (CIPRB) 


Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)

Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU)

The Panje Project

Tanzania Sea Rescue (TSR)

Two Felix Foundation members in a classroom

Photo: RNLI

The Felix Foundation train schoolteachers in Ghana how to deliver water safety messages

We would like to thank everyone who gives valuable support to the RNLI’s lifesaving work overseas. We’re grateful for significant donations from:

  • Jersey Overseas Aid Commission: Aquatic Survival in Ghana
  • The Owl Trust: Aquatic Survival in Zanzibar. The Owl Trust has been supporting crew training for RNLI volunteers at stations on the north east coast of England for the last 6 years and has recently committed to help grow our Swim Safe programme across the UK, which teaches 7 to 14 year olds how to stay safe in and around open water. The Trust has a specific interest in transmitting expertise to the younger generation, especially in economically disadvantaged areas. With a clear objective to fighting the global drowning epidemic, the Trustees have recently approved funding for the RNLI’s international programme, Community Action against Drowning in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Through teacher training, water safety and aquatic survival skills will be delivered to tens of thousands of children on the island.
  • The Peter Cundill Foundation: Aquatic Survival in Zanzibar
  • Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation: Swim Safe in Cox’s Bazar, Aquatic Survival in Zanzibar, Future Leaders in Lifesaving
  • Project BHASA research, Whitewater Trust and UK Aid Match Creches in Barisal, Bangladesh
  • The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. We ran an appeal to raise funds for creches (anchals) in Bangladesh and the UK government doubled every £1 donated.
  • Isle of Man Government: Through its international development budget, granted the RNLI the funds to deliver swim survival lessons to 10,000 girls and boys aged 6-10 in rural Bangladesh.
  • The Lifeboat Fund for their support of SeaSafe in Cox's Bazar.

Find out more about on how we fund our international work.

Children learning water safety messages on the beach in Zanzibar

Photo: RNLI/Mike Lavis

Children learning water safety skills with The Panje Project in Nungwi, Zanzibar

How does the RNLI select who to work with?

Before any partnership begins, we carry out a thorough assessment appropriate to the size of the project. We consider things such as:

  • what financial controls are in place
  • capacity to carry out the planned project
  • experience of delivering similar activities
  • existing relationships with government, health or community groups that could help the project be more effective.

Interested in working with us?

We’re keen to hear from other organisations committed to reducing drowning. Please email [email protected] and one of the team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.