Connect with us

Corporate Citizenship

Sahara Group Unveils “Look To The Book Initiative” To Boost Reading Culture

Published

on

In commemoration of the World Book Day on Thursday 7th March 2019, Sahara Group is set to introduce the “Look to the Book” initiative to boost the reading culture amongst youths across Africa. In a world dominated by various smart devices and a fast declining appetite for reading, Sahara Group seeks to make books appealing through sundry collaborations with Sahara Foundation and its partners.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 617 million children and adolescents globally are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. This signals “a learning crisis” according to the UIS, which could threaten progress towards achieving the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the single largest number of 202 million children and adolescents who are not learning these fundamental subjects.  According to the data – two thirds of the kids who are not learning are in school. The data suggests the new numbers are rooted in three common problems. First, lack of access, with children who are out of school having little or no chance to reach a minimum level of proficiency. Second, a failure to retain every child in school and keep them on track, and third, the issue of the quality of education being delivered in the classroom.

Over the years, Sahara Group has invested in the building and renovation of libraries across Africa while organizing school reading programmes anchored by volunteer staff as well as regional and global organisations. Speaking on the initiative, Manager of Sahara Foundation, Mr. Oluseyi Ojurongbe said “The World Book Day is marked in more than 100 countries and it is a UNESCO initiative that aims to celebrate the value of books and reading, especially among young people today. We will be driving the “Look to the Book” initiative by encouraging Sahara staff to volunteer towards book reading activities across our host communities and donate towards ensuring more access to books for less privileged children. The initiative will also seek to connect such communities with established publishers and charities with focus of enhancing access to books. This will help reduce the book penetration gap across Africa.’’

Library at Pugu Secondary School, Tanzania upgraded by Sahara Foundation
Library at Pugu Secondary School, Tanzania upgraded by Sahara Foundation

Sahara Group’s Head of Corporate Communications Bethel Obioma said: “At Sahara Group we believe that books have the potential to shape and transform lives and ultimately, empower the minds that will be making crucial decisions across the globe. We are confident the initiative will inspire a new wave of innovation and inspiration among African youths.”

Some of the library projects recently implemented by Sahara Foundation include: Pugu Secondary school Library Tanzania and UMC Primary school Library Ibadan- Nigeria.

Sahara staff volunteers at the Read to Me Project
Sahara staff volunteers at the Read to Me Project

This year Sahara Foundation will be renovating libraries in some of our host communities and providing reading materials to children in communities where books are scarce. The goal of this intervention is to encourage children and adults to look to the book as a source of inspiration and the wings they need to soar into the future they desire.

Corporate Citizenship

Global humanitarian crisis: How will the world react?

Published

on

By

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.

Sahara Group

Continue Reading

Corporate Citizenship

Sahara Foundation Restates Commitment To Driving Inclusive Education

Published

on

By

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.

Sahara Group

Continue Reading

Corporate Citizenship

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

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,790 other subscribers

Ads

Most Viewed