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Dangote donates multi-billion Naira 2,160 bed space students hostels to Ahmadu Bello University

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The new students hall of residence was commissioned to commemorate the 41st convocation of the University

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 29, 2019 – Africa’s foremost businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has made yet another critical intervention in the educational sector when he donated fully equipped 2,160 bed space hostel complex to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at the weekend.

The students’ halls of residence comprising of 10 blocks of 360 rooms built at a colossal sum of N1.2billion is coming after similar gestures to Bayero University, Kano and University of Ibadan, where the business mogul donated multi-billion Naira business school complexes respectively as part of his contribution to the educational development in the country.

The new students hall of residence was commissioned to commemorate the 41st convocation of the University during which the university authorities reciprocated the act of philanthropy by conferring on him and the renowned labour leader, Hassan Sumonu, honourary Doctorate Degree. Also 15,787 graduating students were also awarded various degrees.

The President of Dangote Group on the occasion explained that he was moved to build the structure having realized that the student population at the universities have recorded significant increase without a corresponding growth in terms of infrastructure lamenting that the situation has remained a subsisting and growing major challenge as Nigerian public universities continue to grapple with under funding.

“Thus, I will like to use this opportunity to enjoin the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to the universities to enable them to improve on research and upgrade their infrastructure. Such special intervention has become imperative given the perennial funding challenges facing our universities”, he stated.

Dangote posited that the Federal Government alone could not shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention. This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) can and should come in to fill the gap.

He then enjoined the private sector to adopt a new approach towards supporting the federal government in tackling the funding deficit in the higher institutions of learning.

Said he: “I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond just the payment of the 2% Education levy and be ready to join hands with the State and Federal Governments in expanded funding for tertiary education in Nigeria. This will ensure that our institutions of higher learning are positioned to produce graduates who can transform this nation.

“If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago, as Chairman of the National Committee on Job Creation, my committee strived to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the Western world.

While expressing his gratitude on the award conferred on him, Alhaji Dangote described ABU as “an institution famed for its incredibly thorough academic tradition, the quality of faculty, and the enriching experiences of life within its walls. Today, the university has lived to its billing as a melting pot for ideologies by honouring a renowned socialist and champion of employees’ rights, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Myself, for being a leading capitalist and investor in employment generating enterprises.”

Dangote noted that “It is also with a deep sense of fulfilment that today’s occasion is also being used for the commissioning of 10 blocks of student hostels which consists of 360 fully equipped rooms with capacity for housing 2160 students, built at a cost of N1.2 billion donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria.

“Our intervention is designed to lessen the plight of students who suffer acute accommodation challenges within the campus. We have brought similar intervention to University of Ibadan (UI) and Bayero University Kano (BUK) amongst other institutions”, Alhaji Dangote stated.

While commending him, Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State who officially opened the hostel said Mr. Dangote’s philanthropic spirit should be emulated by others who have been blessed by God.

A visibly elated Governor, who is an alumnus of the University, said both government and the private sector can partner to lift the educational sector in Nigeria pointing out that if not for the efforts of the university management, the institution was already dying.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba who was very excited at the magnitude of the structures said the University is the largest in West Africa and described the Aliko Dangote hostel project as a “big relief,” saying lack of adequate accommodation is one of the nightmares of the university.

He told the audience that Alhaji Dangote’s kindheartedness to the university was is immeasurable, saying of the 50,000 students of the university, the institution could hardly accommodate 10,000 and that the new hostel was the first addition after 40 years to the hostels built by the university.

While commending the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Director Physical Planning and Municipal Services of the University, Engineer Muhammad Aminu Sambo, said: “This is a big relief because the university has limited accommodation in relation to the numbers of students admitted every year. This is one of our nightmares.”

He commended the Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation and urged all able Nigerians to emulate him and intervene in the educational sector.

National President of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora had recently noted that the contribution of the Aliko Dangote Foundation to the educational sector and more importantly to the school was unprecedented. He said it was in this regards that the University Alumni Association recently conferred a Corporate Award on Aliko Dangote.

It would be recalled that Alhaji Dangote through his Foundation had only recently donated a World Class Dangote Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano, and built another one in University of Ibadan worth N250M. he also donated N200 million to Katsina State University.

In the same vein, funding was also provided for the construction of a 500 capacity student hostel complex at the University of Science and Technology, Wudil in Kano state. The Foundation gave N118 million for a squash complex project at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka main campus and another N50 million to the University of Port Harcourt.

Expressing the motive behind his educational intervention across the nation, Alhaji Dangote had said: “I do not only want to be known as the Africa’s Richest Man, but the biggest philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.”

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Corporate Citizenship

Global humanitarian crisis: How will the world react?

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The world is witnessing an unprecedented level of humanitarian crisis that requires global attention and action. According to the United Nations Refugee Council, more than 70 million people have been forced from their homes globally, usually as a result of armed conflict, disease, natural disasters and violent persecutions. Altogether, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries: Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia. In addition, 60 per cent of preventable maternal deaths happen in settings of conflict, displacement and natural disasters.

From every indication, the tipping point has been surpassed and what the world needs now is a reaction by way of collaborative interventions involving global leaders, Public-Private-Partnerships, Development Agencies, Multilateral Organisations and the Civil Society.

Sahara Group has through the Sahara Foundation, invested in education, vocational skills development and healthcare for people who have been displaced from their communities.

In Nigeria, Sahara Foundation currently supports pupils and students in the North-East of Nigeria with an all-round educational scholarship that covers educational materials, medical care, housing, feeding and clothing. The scholarship recipients are victims of the insurgence.  The intervention seeks to create learning opportunties for young Nigerians towards human capacity development. In 2019, Sahara Foundation plans to double the number of scholarships for primary school pupils while also creating a new programme that will target tertiary institution students in North- East, Nigeria.

In a similar vein, Sahara Foundation has also provided humanitarian support in Zambia through the construction of an outdoor kitchen for displaced young girls who are housed by the Vision of Hope (VoH), Lusaka. VoH is a care home for young girls who are victims of violence in their home countries. Currently about forty six young girls from neighboring countries are housed in the home and the intervention provides the girls with the skills and tool to get better, develop vocational skills in etiquette, catering, hoteling, and hospitality management which will in-turn drive self- reliance.

In 2018, Sahara Foundation’s humanitarian interventions in Ghana directly benefitted twenty (20) men and women in Temale. The beneficiaries were trained in entrepreneurship and construction of rain catchment which is used to trap water runoff. The trapped rain water can be stored for use in homes, schools and community health centres especially when there is no readily available source of water.

Also Read Mentoring The Girl Child: Interview With Ebella Whajah Ellis, A Girl Child Advocate

As World Humanitarian Day is marked today, Sahara Foundation joins the world in calling for more action towards humanitarian support, especially for millions of people who have been displaced from their homes and communities. As sustainable development drivers, Sahara Foundation remain committed to collaborating with regional and global stakeholders to restore hope and help millions of people get another shot at realising their dreams.

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Corporate Citizenship

Sahara Foundation Restates Commitment To Driving Inclusive Education

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Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager, Sahara Foundation

Lagos, Nigeria August 14, 2019 – As the world marks the 20th International Youth Day, Sahara Foundation, the vehicle for  Sahara Group’s Personal and Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) initiatives, has reiterated its dedication to promoting inclusive education through formal and informal interventions.

Sahara Foundation promotes the implementation of projects that drive sustainable development across its locations in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Speaking on the 2019 United Nations International Youth Day 2019 themed, “Transforming Education,” Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager,  Sahara Foundation said enhancing access to formal and informal education is critical for effective youth empowerment across the globe.

He said Sahara Foundation plans to increase the scholarships awarded to underserved communities in Nigeria as well as projects targeted at empowering social entrepreneurs in Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Ghana who are contributing to the sustainable development of their communities.

“We remain committed to supporting young people by creating platforms that provide an enabling environment for the development of self-sustaining initiatives with a focus on capacity building, wealth creation and preservation,” Ojurongbe said.

The International Youth Day is an awareness day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to cultural and legal issues surrounding the youth. This year’s edition is focused on making education more inclusive and accessible for all youths, including efforts by the youth themselves.

The theme stems from Goal 4 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Sahara Foundation has over the last 15 years undertaken various projects to enhance education across several locations where it operates.

The projects range from library upgrade, scholarship programmes for students in the north-east region of Nigeria, career counselling for teens in Singapore, to upgrade of classroom facilities in Ghana, renovation of the ICT Laboratory and donation of computers with internet access at the University of Juba, South Sudan.

Also Read Mentoring The Girl Child: Interview With Ebella Whajah Ellis, A Girl Child Advocate

Other Sahara Foundation education and youth based interventions include: Partnership with Ashesi University on the Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX) Programme for 200 teens across Africa over the past two years; Career Guidance and vocational skills training in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire; and Construction, upgrade and  refurbishment of youth vocational centers in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Tanzania·

Sahara Foundation through its recent partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is making significant steps to promote access to clean and affordable energy which will in-turn improve societal well- being. It is also expected that the partnership will facilitate capacity building opportunities in renewable energy for youths across Cote d’ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

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Corporate Citizenship

Mondelez launches ‘Our Children’s Healthy Habits’ in Upper Egypt

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Managing Director of Mondelez North Africa Bilal Sharabati

CAIRO – 30 July 2019: Mondelez Egypt Foods launched on Monday “Our Children’s Healthy Habits” aimed at spreading awareness on the best healthy nutrition practices among children and parents in Upper Egypt in partnership with CARE International.

The project is worth more than LE8 million and takes place in Minya and Sohag governorates. The initiative is part of Mondelez’s CSR activities and contributions to sustainable development and positive impact on the society. Mondelez Egypt Foods has been supporting development projects in Upper Egypt for 5 years as the start was with “Wheat of Our Children” project.

Managing Director of Mondelez North Africa Bilal Sharabati stressed the company’s “belief in the importance of cooperation between the private sector, the public sector, and civil society organizations to develop the communities in which we operate and live.”

The initiative has three main goals: promotion of nutrition education and healthy habits among children and parents, encouraging physical activity- particularly among girls- and improving access to fresh food. The last goal is planned to be achieved by teaching children and parents how to cultivate fruits and vegetables at home or at school using simple methods and techniques.

The target of the first phase is to reach 1,500 children aged between 6 and 12, 1,500 housewives, and 6,500 to 10,000 individuals in their surroundings in both governorates. A number of school children and community leaders in rural areas will be trained to deliver guidance and advice on healthy nutrition habits ensuring continuity and sustainability. That phase extends between April 2018 and October 2020.

“That is in addition to the formation of teams and sports camps for children in schools and teaching them how to grow some vegetables and fruits at home or at school, which will have a great impact on building a generation that is healthy and well informed about the benefits of good nutrition habits and physical activity,” Chairman of CARE Egypt Hazem Fahmy highlighted.

CARE Fahmy
Chairman of CARE Egypt Hazem Fahmy

Furthermore, healthy cooking classes will be held at schools in collaboration with NGOs so that kitchens of five schools are equipped for that purpose. The project also includes an initiative called “Wash” to promote hygiene practices while preparing food. Another initiative dubbed “Active Play” will organize summer sports camps, and the beginning is in Sohag.

“We first started a pilot phase in 2017 to ensure optimum results. The outcomes were very positive,” Mondelez Egypt Foods Corporate and Government Relations Manager Amira Farag said.

The pilot phase has resulted in the training of 33 rural leaders, and 16 household teachers in five governorates, and in building the awareness of around 1,628 women by holding sessions in the capital of each governorate on ways to combat obesity. Another outcome of the pilot phase is developing the awareness of 75 students in Minya on how to assimilate basic nutrition information and ways to combat obesity among children.

Farag explained that the project takes place within Mondelez Impact 2025 vision to positively influence the society. She added that Minya and Sohag have been chosen as they are the top governorates having an obesity issue among mothers and children. It was noted by the team that male children who do not play football in the gymnastics class do not play sports at all, and that almost all female children do not play sports so they decided to focus on them.

Amira Farag
Mondelez Egypt Foods Corporate and Government Relations Manager Amira Farag

“Our Children’s Healthy Habits” comes in line with the nationwide campaign conducted by the Ministry of Health and Population for the early detection of obesity, anemia, and stunting among children.

As indicated by the latest statistics released by the ministry, obesity rates reached 50 percent among men, and 70 percent among women. A medical census run among 9 million children showed signs of anemia and obesity caused by malnutrition and unawareness of healthy lifestyles.

“Mondelez Foundation invests nearly $50 million in projects aimed at improving children’s healthy eating habits in 18 countries around the world. These projects have been able to enhance the eating habits of more than 1.5 million children in five different continents. That was the main stimulant that encouraged us to start implementing this project in Egypt and become part of this momentum,” Farag stated.

Also Read Black Space App CEO, April Jefferson on entrepreneurship and connecting black travelers to their culture

“We are delighted to continue to partner with Mondelez Egypt Foods, especially in light of the great success we have achieved together over the past 5 years by working on ‘Our Children’s Wheat’ project. We are looking forward to continue on the same path with our new project, ‘Our Children’s Healthy Habits’ and achieve the same successful results,” CARE Egypt’s chairman said.

The managing director of Mondelez North Africa and Mashreq clarified that the company, founded 150 years ago, has been operating in Egypt for 44 years. Mondelez Egypt Foods runs three factories in Egypt. Each is specialized in chocolate, biscuits, and gum and candy, respectively. The first two are in the 10th of Ramadan industrial city, while the third is in Alexandria’s Borg al-Arab city. Forty-five percent of those factories’ production is exported to more than 24 countries around the globe.

On the other hand, Fahmy highlights that CARE, which has been established more than 70 years ago and operating in 80 countries, has been present in Egypt since 1954. He revealed that the organization helped 80 million people in 2016/2017. Fahmy underlined that CARE Egypt has three main programs. One is on women’s rights including economic empowerment, and anti-violence initiatives; another is on agriculture and aims to empower small farmers in Upper Egypt and better connect them to the market. The last is on education.

Credit: Egypt Today

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