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NGOs - SDGs

Educating Women Is Crucial For Sustainable Development – Olajumoke Ajayi

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March 11, 2019, Lagos, Nigeria – The Managing Director of Asharami Energy, a Sahara Group Upstream Company, Olajumoke Ajayi has urged regional and global stakeholders to invest in the education of women to ensure they are empowered to take on the critical role of nurturing the leaders of tomorrow.

“Education takes off limits and shatters all manner of ceilings women may come across. It is the bedrock for ensuring global sustainable development as everyone goes through the tutelage of women at various cycles of life. At Sahara, we believe that no effort should be spared in providing support for the education of girls and boys; this should be a global campaign that should be embraced by world and business leaders as well as the civil society,” Ajayi told a gathering of gender parity advocates at an event organized by the United Nations Information Centre and United Nations Association of Nigeria to commemorate the 2019 International Women’s Day.

Supported by Sahara Foundation, the event was designed to encourage women and girls to explore career paths in technology and innovation and also build businesses and make strategic investments towards transforming lives and ensuing economic prosperity.

Olajumoke Ajayi - MD, Asharami Energy photographed with participants
Olajumoke Ajayi (middle) – MD, Asharami Energy photographed with participants at the event

The event commenced with the introductory message from the Director of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos Dr. Ronald Kayanja who encouraged participants toseek innovative ways of using technology to champion women’s rights and participation in governance and business. “We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our nation so that it works for everyone. There are tasks that women and girls perform today that technology and innovation has made easier and we must ensure that they get access to these tools to improve the quality of life for women everywhere,” Dr. Kayanja said.

The keynote speech was given by Dr Joan Agha, the Executive Director of Joan Agha Foundation who urged the participants to look towards using education and digital technology to empower women and girls. ‘’We live in a patriarchy and we must see the rights of women as our common objective to build a prosperous and inclusive world as we move towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’’

Since inception, Sahara Foundation has implemented its Personal and Corporate Social Responsibilities (PCSR) initiatives in the areas of Health, Education & Capacity Building, Environment and Sustainable Development. Over two million people have benefitted from Sahara Foundation’s projects,  with women and girls accounting for over 50% of the beneficiaries. Some of the initiatives include eye care programmes, scholarships, literacy development programmes, career guidance programmes, water & sanitation programmes.

According to the United Nations, about 740 million women currently make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security. Also, one in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetimes, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind.

The event had a panel session which had Adenike Oyetunde, a media and disability advocate, Ifeoma Adibe-Chukwuka, the founder of Omaness Skin Care, Dr. Afanu Belinda, a hospitality consultant, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, the Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Oduwa Ayela-Agboneni founder of Nenis Auto Care to explore how women are using innovation to create wealth and powering the society.

While a little more than a decade remain to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 on gender equality, all indications show that at the current pace of change, closing the global gender gap will take a staggering 108 years, and 202 years for economic gender parity.

To meet the needs of women and those most marginalized at the bottom of the pyramid, public services, infrastructure and social protection require innovative platforms to increase the quality and affordability for women users.

– SAHARA GROUP

NGOs - SDGs

Adaku Efuribe Joins The Global Fight To End Extreme Poverty In Sub-Saharan African

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UK based Nigerian- Adaku Efuribe has been selected as a 2019 Youth Ambassador for anti-poverty group The ONE Campaign.

Adaku Efuribe will be working in Rotherham to highlight the importance of democratic engagement and campaigning to shape the wider world.

A key focus will be about how local campaigning can make a big difference for international issues, and Adaku will show the importance of international development and how their community can get involved.

Adaku Efuribe said, ‘’I am really excited to begin working as a Youth Ambassador in my local area because I think it is important to end extreme poverty. I also want to show people that it can be easy to campaign on these issues, and that their voice does make a difference!”

Adaku will be working to raise awareness of the fight against extreme poverty, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As part of the programme Adaku will be looking to meet with her local MP, Sarah Champion/Rotherham, news outlets, and local community members – and travel to Parliament to take part in large national events.

As well as promoting the positive impact that UK aid has around the world, she will be campaigning around the G7 meeting of government leaders to ask them to take action on extreme poverty.

Adaku will also be working to promote the upcoming replenishment conference Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, an organisation that’s dedicated to fighting killer diseases.

Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of The ONE Campaign, said: “This year’s Youth Ambassadors are amazing. I know with their energy and passion they will change the world for the better.

“There are some big moments coming up this year – especially the G7 summit and the Global Fund – that could really help the fight against extreme poverty. I know that Adaku Efuribe, alongside all the Youth Ambassadors, will be showing people in Rotherham how important these are.”

This is the sixth year the Youth Ambassador programme has run in the UK.

Previously, Youth Ambassadors have been on lobby days at Parliament and attended the G7 Summit in Germany to call on world leaders to act on extreme poverty.

 

About ONE:

ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of over nine million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes. Read more at www.one.org

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NGOs - SDGs

Merck Foundation calls for Applications for “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards

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Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother with The First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU during their visit to a village in Central Province, Zambia to meet and empower infertile women

Merck Foundation invites application from all Fashion Designers of Zambia to create a design with the aim to break the stigma around infertility in Zambia and rest of Africa

LUSAKA, Zambia, March, 2019 — Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announces the Call for Application of “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards in partnership with H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia, together with Zambia Fashion Week.

“All Fashion Designers are invited to create a design with the aim to deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say “No to Infertility Stigma”. Designs ideas can also deliver messages to encourage men to speak openly about their infertility, because 50% of infertility causes are due to male factor”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother

Who can apply?

All Fashion Designers from Zambia

How to apply?

The applicants are requested to send the sketches of their creations as an attachment on email: [email protected].

Please mention the subject: Merck Foundation Fashion Awards and add your name, your email and contact number.

Last date of submission:

Entries can be submitted till 30th June 2019.

“No designer has ever, or would ever, say that he or she wanted to make things difficult for women. Fashion industry has already got enough flakes for being superficial. Let’s change this perception and create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’. I love fashion and I strongly believe that we will be able to select a creative design or designs that Men and/or Women would be proud to wear to show their contribution toward breaking the infertility stigma in their communities, villages, cities, across Africa and the rest of the world” emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother.

“Designers it’s time to showcase your talent and contribute towards making a difference in society with your unique creations.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

The best 10 submissions will be selected by ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ committee. Winners will be granted $500 each to execute their designs and will have an opportunity to exhibit them during the Zambia Fashion Week which will be conducted in Lusaka. Also, the model will get his or her winning outfit.

Merck Foundation plans to scale up this initiative in many more African Countries.

Merck Foundation established a long term partnership with the First Lady of Zambia and Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity with the aim of improving access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions nationwide.

Merck Foundation has also appointed Her Excellency First Lady of Zambia to be the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mindset to break the stigma around infertility. Through this campaign, Merck Foundation has trained the first Fertility specialists in Zambia, and will continue to train more candidates to help infertile couples across the country.

Merck Foundation.

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Governance

Why Sustainability Is Crucial To Supply Chain In Financial Institutions | Debo Adeniyi

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Many Financial Institutions (FIs) today, especially the commercial Banks in Nigeria, claim to implement sustainability in operations and all functions of the bank which have been exhibited lately in either their stand-alone sustainability reports or Integrated Reports, but many have so far left a vacuum in linking the implementation to their supply chains. FCMB is one of the very few commercial banks that have identified how important sustainability is to its supply chain. A few years ago, the bank established a yearly “FCMB’s Vendors’ Sustainability Forum-VSF”. It is a yearly stakeholder’s engagement platform where all vendors of the bank are invited, hosted and trained on sustainability practices. The essence is to minimize cost, ensure quality of delivered products and services, improve speed of delivery, and instill health and safety culture, cut down on emissions amongst others.

If Supply Chain Sustainability (SCS) is so important, what does it really mean? SCS is the management of environmental, social and economic impacts, and the encouragement of good governance practices, throughout the lifecycles of goods and services. The objective of SCS is to create, protect and grow long-term environmental, social and economic value for all stakeholders involved in bringing products and services to market- UNGC.

It is important to note that we are now in the era where environmental and social risks translate into reputational risks, credit risks, and financial risks to financial institutions.

For Financial Institutions, many environmental and social impacts do not come from direct operations but from their supply chains. It makes a good business sense for FIs to expand their sustainability efforts to their supply chains, which can be exposed to a number of environmental, social, and governance issues that present significant challenges and opportunities. Considering, for instance, the purchasing power and the number of suppliers that many of these firms have, responsible/sustainable choices can have huge impacts.

Main Sustainability Issues of the FIs Supply Chain

  • Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG): From energy consumption, to transportation of goods, courier services, armored vehicles, employee commutes, and business trips all contribute to GHG emissions.
  • Human rights: Some of the main challenges related to human rights include providing a healthy and safe work environment; guaranteeing a diverse workplace and fostering non-discrimination, preventing harassments etc.
  • Data privacy and security: A vendor’s ability to protect sensitive or personal data to prevent issues such as privacy intrusions, cyber-attacks, and frauds should be a key criterion in the supplier selection process.
  • E-waste and conflict minerals: Electronic scrap components such as CPUs, monitors, printers, etc., contain potentially harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants and is often handled in crude, informal, and unsafe ways.
  • Security: Using third-party security personnel introduces an additional component of risk and FIs cannot avoid employing security staff to protect branch offices and guard money that is being transported.
  • Unsustainable practices in facilities and property management: Choosing the wrong suppliers to handle the design and construction of facilities can have significant repercussions on sustainability.

A few practical case studies showing the risks of unsustainable supply chain are:

  1. The case of Ecobank Plc., when fire engulfed its Headquarters in July 2018. A tanker with 33,000 litres of diesel, while trans-loading, had caught fire as a result of some technical fault from the tanker.

The negative impacts measured here are:

  • Service disruption for about 3 hours which resulted into financial loss
  • One of the industrial generators of the banks was damaged,
  • Panic from customers and stakeholders,
  • Increase in carbon footprint of the bank as a result of the excessive fire,
  • Pollution of the drainages with spilled diesel,
  • Wrong perception of lack of safety culture and consciousness etc.

 

  1. A Scaffolding Accident at Unity Bank’s Head Office. This happened during routine maintenance on the Head Office building at 42 Ahmed Onibudo, VI. The maintenance was carried out by a subcontractor to Highpoint Properties Limited. Sets of scaffolds being mounted by the technicians collapsed mid-way, 3 persons fell from the platform sustaining various degrees of injuries.

The negative impacts measured here are:

  • Reputational damage as the impression was that the bank engaged quacks and unqualified contractors to carry out such project
  • Financial loss as the bank had to foot the medical bill of the accident victim
  • Backlash from stakeholders for not putting in place due-diligence to ensure quality, health and safety standards
  • Negative picture painted by the media which is a reputational damage on the bank.

3. Another example is the report from one of the national dailies and online media, Premium Times who reported on its online platform on the 6th of January 2019, with the title “Menace to Society… Who will Save GTBank Customers from their Security Men?” In that report, there were instances where customers gave account of series of extortion, harassment, embarrassments, etc. caused by the security personnel of the Guarantee Trust Bank.

The negative impacts measured here are:

  • Human rights violation and
  • Reputational damage which would have resulted into customer loss and financial loss.

Cases of unsustainable practices by supply chain in financial institutions are numerous and occur every other day. The FIs need to do the needful that will not hamper their operations and smooth running. For financial services, expanding efforts to include their supply chain gives companies a way to further integrate sustainability into their business, minimizing risks and enhancing opportunities that can be derived from supplier relations.

There are several benefits in practicing sustainable supply chain which cut across the triple bottom line (economic, social and environment)

Economic Goals: It helps to reduce cost, improves quality, speed of delivery, flexibility, resource utilization, visibility and innovativeness

Social benefits: Respect of human and workers’ rights, avoid child labour, improve health, safety and working conditions, gender equality, poverty alleviation, etc.

Environmental benefits: Averting Pollution, encouraging environmental friendly products and services, reduction of carbon emission etc.

Common business drivers for supply chain sustainability

This includes:

  • Compliance and regulatory risk
  • License to operate
  • Business continuity
  • Efficiencies and opportunities for innovation
  • An increased ability to manage business risks,
  • Fostering sustainability-driven productivity
  • Cost reduction

 

Some of the risks that are traditionally connected with poor management of the supply chain are damage to reputation, reduced capacity to attract and retain employees, and loss of customers.

Some areas of Supply Chains that Sustainability can be integrated to:

  • Raw material sourcing
  • Manufacturing
  • Packaging
  • Warehousing
  • Logistics (Transportation & Logistics)
  • Retail
  • Consumption

Proactive steps FIs can take to ensure a sustainable supply chain

  • Define sustainability goals.
  • Align with company culture, code of conduct, sustainability strategy and materiality
  • Comply with regulations and voluntary commitments (e.g., certification schemes)
  • Train management and suppliers on market best practices.
  • Sanction suppliers if default on standards.
  • Designate organisational member in charge.
  • Deploy technology to increase accountability, transparency and traceability
  • Disclose their efforts using reporting mechanisms, such as their sustainability reports in-line with GRI standards, SASB, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) etc.
  • Monitor Suppliers.

 

Conclusion

In order to make supply chain sustainability a more broadly adopted and more thoroughly implemented business practice, we need to continue our efforts to build a better understanding of the business value created, alongside continued implementation of supply chain sustainability practices. The FIs should be well positioned to address sustainability challenges and minimize risks in its supply chains proactively and should look for opportunities to assess direct savings, ensure quality, safety and model avoided costs associated with their supply chain sustainability efforts to advance practices that create value for their businesses, environment as well as for society.

 

Author:

Debo Adeniyi is the Executive Director and the Global Sustainability Leader, at the Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development, (CENGSSUD). He is a seasoned professional, a Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Development Practitioner, a trained business strategist, innovator with experience and specialties towards working with the private sector in implementing Sustainability in core business strategy, DNA and operations with a strong drive on values, results, creating compelling overarching aspirations and embedding them in the organisation through change management and empowered leadership to create growth, innovation and operational efficiencies.

He can be reached via [email protected], and Full Profile on LINKEDIN

 

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