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Corporate Citizenship

GTBank Builds Nigeria’s First Digital Play Centre for Children

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Lagos, Nigeria – March 22nd, 2019: Banks only build branches, or so the story goes. Except for Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; the foremost African financial institution, which has been at the forefront of several innovative products and services, recently completed and opened the first digital playground for children in Nigeria.

Located in Lekki, Lagos State, the GTBank Play Centre is equipped with a wide range of interactive games that will give kids a fun and immersive digital experience whilst aiding their mental and intellectual development. Open from 10am to 3pm on Weekdays, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays, some of the features of the Play Centre include the Sketch Town, where kids can design cars, launch rockets, and bring all their sketches to life. At the playground, children can also use the wide range of bricks available to build whatever excites their curiosity and also express themselves creatively by scribbling, writing and drawing on a digital chalkboard.

GTBank is renowned for designing innovative and personalized products and services that are tailored to customers’ unique needs and which fit seamlessly with their lifestyles. Recently, the Bank launched Habari, a digital platform that gives customers unlimited access to local and international music, and at the same time, allows them to shop online, split bills with friends and take care of their everyday needs, in one place. Habari, like the GTBank Play Centre, is the first of its kind in Nigeria, reflecting the Bank’s digital drive as well as its focus on creating unique experiences for all segments of its customer base.

Commenting on the launch of the Play Centre, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje said; “How and where children play contributes significantly to their cognitive and intellectual development, helping them build better communication and problem-solving skills. Our new Play Centre will give children a tension-free space to build these critical developmental skills, expose them to new and emerging digital technologies, and, most importantly, give them a wonderful time out.”

He further stated that “At GTBank we are passionate about building the bank of the future, and for us, this means constantly leveraging the best of technology to create amazing digital experiences for all of our customers, in a way that adds real value to their lives.”

Guaranty Trust Bank is one of the best run African financial institutions and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. The Bank is also renowned for driving youth empowerment initiatives alongside its business, as seen with the GTCrea8 Account package, which doubles up as a platform for empowering young undergraduates with the resources and networking that they need to develop their skills and talents and build capacity in their careers of choice.

Corporate Citizenship

Paxful builds fourth school of its 100 school initiative supporting communities in emerging markets

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Global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, has announced that they will be building a fourth school in its #BuiltwithBitcoin‘s 100-school initiative which aims to bring quality education centers to emerging countries. Located in Nigeria, the school will come fully equipped with a state-of-the-art solar-powered and water well system.

The new school will be built in the Ankara Nandu community of Sanga Local in Nigeria and will serve an estimated 100-120 children between the ages of three to six years old. Home to roughly 4,000 people, the city currently has only one school facility which is being used for both primary and secondary school purposes.

“We chose this particular community because of the limited resources and school infrastructure,” says Ray Youssef, CEO and co-founder of Paxful. “They are in dire need of quality learning spaces and this school is an honest representation of the impact Bitcoin can have on societies as a whole, and more specifically, how it can enhance education.”

The new school will double as an adult learning space in the evenings assisting in providing hundreds of people with a supplemental education. In response to safety requirements associated with COVID-19, The company will also provide Personal Protective Equipment for all teachers and students including face-masks and hand sanitizers.

Earlier in September, the company revealed its business expansion into Nigeria, their leading market in Africa in terms of volume and number of users. To strengthen operations and cement a physical presence in the country, Paxful appointed Nena Nwachukwu as Regional Manager for Nigeria.

Movement to empower education in Africa

Supporting over 400 students at present, Paxful’s #BuiltwithBitcoin initiative began in 2017 with partner Zam Zam Water, a humanitarian organisation devoted to eradicating poverty by providing clean, sustainable water and access to quality education to villages across the globe. The first two schools were built in Rwanda and the third school was built in Mukalala Village in Machakos County in Kenya earlier this year.

Through the 100-school plan, the company expects to bring education to nearly 15,000 young people throughout Africa while providing jobs to nearly 300 teachers. All schools, including the newest location in Nigeria, come with water filtration systems, not just to supply the locals, but also to give them an opportunity to sell the water to their local community at a very affordable price.

All the schools are also equipped with solar panels to cut spends on electricity and bypass regular electricity cuts. Paxful covers all fees associated with running a school including teacher and support staff salaries, bills for electricity and water as well as school supplies and uniforms for the students.

Supporting ongoing development and tracking success

All the completed schools under the #BuiltwithBitcoin initiative are progressing and performing very well as the company remains committed in providing the necessary tools and opportunity for the students to succeed. Continuous upgrades are made, and maintenance of the schools are monitored.

Also Read: Ozow launches payment platform that enables financial and digital inclusion for all South Africans

The passing rates within these schools have been higher as the confidence of the students are boosted with each child receiving their own textbooks in addition to basic school stationery supplies. Usually students share handbooks and textbooks and leave them at the school for use by other students.

As the communities always have more students than what the schools’ capacity can cater for, the initiative adopted a two-tier class approach, by having all the schools provide classes in four-hour blocks in the mornings and in the afternoons. This helps to support the highest number of students possible and not allow the quality of education to be affected. Desk space has also been limited to two to three students per bench to facilitate a healthy teaching environment.

Image Source: Paxful

Understanding the important role, they play in the success of the schools and learning journeys of the students, teachers and educators at these schools are also paid 15% above the national average of their salary, respective to their country.

“Each one of our schools follows the curriculum of their respective ministry of education. All textbooks, guidelines, and calendars fulfill all necessary requirements for testing and progress. Local officials have been supportive of the initiative’s efforts as we simply want the students to be able to succeed and graduate onto higher education by ensuring their educational foundation is strong and capable,” adds Youssef.

Aside from building schools, #Builtwithbitcoin has also supported a number of other philanthropic causes in various countries including Kenya and South Africa.

Donations are accepted on a rolling bases on https://BuiltWithBitcoin.org and will be used to aid in the completion of the new school in Nigeria among additional #BuiltwithBitcoin initiatives including Paxful’s Africa Fund for COVID-19. Paxful will kick off donations for building the school in Nigeria with an initial injection of $35,000 of funds in BTC.

Source: Paxful

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Corporate Citizenship

Siemens: Setting the Pace for Good Corporate Citizenship in Nigeria

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Siemens Nigeria CEO, Onyeche Tifase

Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services.  It is however predominantly reliant on oil as its main source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. The Oil and Gas sector accounts for about 80% of total government revenues and 90% of export earnings. As Africa’s biggest exporter of oil, although Nigeria is well-positioned as a key regional economic player, socio-economic development has been constrained by inadequate power supply, insecurity, illegal cross-border trading, declining infrastructure, restrictive trade policies, prohibitive regulatory environment as well as pervasive corruption in the judiciary, legislature and other government agencies.

Over the years, the burden of responsibility for meeting these challenges eventuated by socio-economic development have fallen on businesses in Nigeria. The Organized Private Sector in Nigeria works collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify and prioritize initiatives which deliver sustainable value especially in the areas of environmental stewardship, healthcare, education, economic empowerment, capacity building and infrastructure development.

There are varying methodologies of engagement including charitable activities and contributions.  However, some companies have expanded beyond this narrow perspective by the integration of socially responsible practices into their core operations. Therein lies the relevance and value of the Siemens Business to Society (B2S) initiative.

Also Read: Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu, African Risk Capacity (ARC) CEO Shares Goals, Disaster Risk Solutions, COVID-19 and Future

Siemens support for sustainable development in  Nigeria  is driven by their widely acclaimed model Business to Society initiative which is focused on achieving  societal, economic and environmental advancements in the following areas: economic development, environmental sustainability, developing local jobs and skills, providing value-adding innovation, improving quality of life, and positive societal transformation.

Defining the Siemens “Business to Society” model, CEO, Siemens Nigeria, Onyeche Tifase said, “Our ‘Business to Society’ initiative represents the multidimensional ways we approach creating real value in the lives of Nigerians and Nigerian communities.”

“At Siemens, we appreciate how critical it is for businesses to impact on their stakeholders and society in a positive and sustainable manner. We are proud of our heritage and business in Nigeria, but beyond profits, we measure our success in the broader context of the significant value we have added over the last 50 years” she affirmed.

Since 1970, Siemens’ technology, products and services have contributed to driving the Nigerian economy. According to the latest Business to society (B2S) report prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), in 2019 alone, Siemens contributed a total of $562.5mn in Gross Value add (directly and indirectly) to Nigeria’s GDP through  constructive engagement with industries especially in the  Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and utilities sectors.

The B2S report also reveals that Siemens technology has contributed 9% to Nigeria’s operational power generation installed capacity. Furthermore, the widely acclaimed partnership agreement between Siemens and the Federal Government for the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) is set to upgrade the electricity grid network and increase operational capacity from 4,500 MW on an average currently, to 25,000 megawatts (MW). According to Tifase “This is a demonstration of our commitment at Siemens to make significant investments in providing value-adding initiatives to address challenges in Nigeria’s power sector”.

Siemens Nigeria remains a strong partner to the Nigerian government in developing local jobs and skills. The company has positively impacted employment with an estimated number of 48,000 jobs linked to Siemens’ business operations in Nigeria.

Furthermore, as part of their commitment to shaping societal transformation, Siemens is taking a leading role in supporting the government’s commitment to fight corruption and improve transparency in the public and private sector. The B2S report stated that Siemens Integrity Initiative (SII) has invested about $1.29mn in Nigeria to promote anti-corruption practices through capacity building and training. Says Tifase “Our social investment programmes have been designed to achieve the highest levels of stakeholder resonance and maximal benefits to the society”.

In addition to these initiatives, Siemens is ideally positioned to meet their goals of improving the quality of life for Nigerians and ensuring environmental sustainability through their partnerships and active participation in initiatives that will provide access to quality healthcare for up to 100,000 Nigerians and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.

As an international company present in Nigeria over the last 50 years, Siemens has played a vital role in addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges to ensure an ever-improving society for Nigerians today and future generations. “Siemens is fully aware of the imperative for businesses to impact positively on society and we remain passionately committed to the socio-economic development of Nigeria” Tifase concluded.

Credit: LSF|PR

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NGOs - SDGs

World Humanitarian Day 2020: A Tribute to Real Life Heroes

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Onyeka Akpaida, Rendra Foundation Women in the Kuchingoro IDP camps (Image Source: Onyeka Akpaida)

“You have not started living until you start giving”-Onyeka Akpaida

The humanitarian crisis has always existed and sometimes when it is not close to home; it is easy to ignore. The Covid-19 pandemic is definitely one that has in a morbid way, united us globally.

In the face of this global pandemic, increased poverty and growing insecurity, humanitarians and front-line workers are going beyond their duty call to make life bearable for those who have been most affected by the pandemic and insecurity crisis.

Many of us grew up watching cartoons and movies of action heroes like Voltron, Captain America etc and we all strived in our imaginations to be like them because they were super cool; however, the front line workers and humanitarians knee-deep in responding to this pandemic are definitely the Heroes worth celebrating today as their needs, pains and challenges have taken a back seat to serving others in need.

Let me introduce you to some of our real-life heroes:

Dr Marie-Roseline, a field coordinator with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and an epidemiologist has a first- hand experience in fighting epidemics under harrowing conditions. She led her team during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo amid a series of violent attacks and this year, WHO sent Marie to the Central African Republic (CAR) to help set up the COVID-19 response.

Here in CAR we have a health crisis in the middle of a protracted humanitarian crisis,” she explains. “We have to build a health system while dealing with an emergency. It makes it very complicated. As doctors, we have committed ourselves to save lives. This is what we do. We cannot leave people to die.”

Nkem Okocha, a social entrepreneur and founder of fintech social enterprise Mamamoni Nigeria went above and beyond for low-income women living in rural and urban slum communities in Lagos state. During the lockdown, Nkem and her team gave relief food packages to these women week after week, putting their safety on the line. As the lockdown gradually eased up, they launched a COVID 19 emergency grant for female micro-entrepreneurs whose businesses were negatively impacted by the pandemic. The grant would help them restart their businesses.

Nkem Okocha, Founder Mamamoni with a female entrepreneur (Image Source: Onyeka Akpaida)

Adaora “Lumina” Mbelu started an accountability group- The Switch-On Bootcamp in April 2020 to teach enhance focus and productivity; ensuring that people could still execute their ideas in the middle of the pandemic. Since its inception in April 2020, the Bootcamp has hosted 2 cohorts and helped over 200 ‘Tribers”. The best part of this story is the group decided to do a Fund-The-Flow campaign as part of their team project aimed at providing sanitary products to adolescent girls and women in underserved communities in Nigeria.

(Image Source: Onyeka Akpaida)

“Given the priority to food distribution during the pandemic, sanitary needs are ignored and it is important for these women to manage their menstruation and associated hygiene with dignity and ease”

They have given out over 6,000 sanitary pads across 12 communities in Nigeria and they intend to continue this campaign.

The WIMBIZ group and Rendra Foundation focused on forcibly displaced women and their families in Northern Nigeria. The WIMBIZ group and Rendra Foundation provided food palliatives to 290 women in the Durumi IDP camp and 130 Women in the Kuchingoro IDP camps respectively.

Women in the Kuchingoro IDP camps (Image Source: Onyeka Akpaida)

Today, World Humanitarian Day, I join the rest of the world to applaud and honour every one working in their little corner of the world, going through extraordinary lengths to help the most vulnerable people whose lives have been upended by COVID-19 pandemic. Your response through commitment, sacrifice and tenacity has gone a long way in managing the increase in humanitarian needs triggered by this global pandemic.

Also Read: Africans Opportunities In Africa Matter

Author: Onyeka Akpaida is a financial service professional with 9+ years of experience in financial inclusion, consumer-centric digital banking and public sector engagement in a top tier leading International Bank and the founder of Rendra Foundation where she works to promote financial inclusion for low-income and migrant women in northern Nigeria.

onyeka@rendrafoundation.org

Rendra Foundation

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