Stakeholders have flayed the growing pressure of legalising Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR in the statutes books to make companies more socially responsible to their communities.
They castigated this call in Lagos last week during the 2016 annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, ICSAN, Lagos chapter.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Corporate Social Responsibility, a veritable tool for governance”, the keynote speaker and Managing Director of Platinum Corporate Solutions, Accra, Ghana, Catherine Engmann, said, CSR in Africa is gradually assuming importance and getting fused into companies’ corporate governance practices.
Engmann, who supported her point with a Zulu proverb, “I am because you are, you are because we are,” traced origin of the CSR to Quakers of the 17th and 18th centuries.
She maintained that CSR as being practised currently among companies in Africa is based on the concept of self governance but related to external legal and regulatory mechanisms.
She stressed that discussing the emergence and impact of CSR, it’s important to place a company within its socio-economic environment to understand how its operation redounds to the benefit of society as a whole, which may differ greatly as between a company in the west and developing worlds.
Engmann who confined her talk to English speaking Africa countries, noted that relevant characteristics of the African corporate governance is the widest control mechanism within which companies take management decisions and the socio-economic conditions within which those firms operate.
“As we are aware, our corporate governance framework is derived from the colonialists and what they left behind; they left behind their concept of a company and its role in society, and all the laws and the regulations flowing there from.
“On the socio-economic front, African countries are made up of tribes and clans. Socially, we organised within tribes. We also have natural resources -some countries more than others- and these have been exploited. But the common thread in all of these African countries are issues of education, poverty, health and so on,” she noted.
She pointed degradation effects of oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger/Delta area, which has boiled down to the crisis in the past and led to the death of prominent people like Ken Saro-Wiwa.
“The question we need to ask is, how should companies manage their business processes to produce and overall positive impact on society? Companies need to be aware of the effects that their activities have on communities and the environment, they have to be seen to be doing what is right, and they have to obey the laws of the land,” she cautioned.
Also speaking on the Socio-economic value of Corporate Social Responsibility, the Executive Secretary of the MTN Nigerian Foundation, Nonny Patricia Ugboma, said in recent years, CSR has become a fundamental business practice and has gained much attention from the management of large international companies.
She said, companies understand that a strong CSR, programme is an essential element in achieving good business practices and effective leadership.
Ugboma, who is responsible for overseeing MTN Nigeria’s N18 billion CSR investment, said most companies in Nigeria have explored that their impacts on the economic, social and environmental sector directly affect their relationship with investors, employees and customers.
She stressed that although the prime goal of a company is to generate profits, but as company assess their brand in the context of globalization, they are increasingly aware that CSR can be of direct economic value.
Crtve DEVELOPMENT launches WE!ARE to promote climate change awareness in Africa
Crtve DEVELOPMENT CEO, Dr. Okito Wedi (Photo: Supplied).
In addition to making profits, it has become a necessity for businesses and organisations to embrace a consistent, policy-driven culture of giving back to the community where they do business. The reason is that a policy-driven socially responsible endeavour is a sustainable and socially responsible endeavour. Businesses that have this corporate mindset are the ones that eventually provide solutions that truly meet the needs of the community they serve, even when they are profit-driven.
As a platform that showcases African businesses, innovations, and entrepreneurs, Business Africa Online (BAO) is excited to witness yet another novel and beneficial platform where businesses, NGOs, funders, and organisations are standing side by side with talents and creatives in the arts and entertainment to ensure they find expression and use those expressions to deliver the needed solution to pressing issues that affect communities in Africa, and in this case, climate change.
The Crtve Development (CD) WE!ARE climate justice campaign is an initiative that is long overdue because the solutions that have been proposed for climate change have mainly taken into account people living in places like Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and we need local solutions to local climate change problems.
Dr. Okito Wedi, Founder and CEO of Crtve DEVELOPMENT, stated: “Through the WE!ARE campaign, we want to harness the power of art and creativity to change the narrative on climate change and development in Africa and bridge the gap between communities who will most be affected and policymakers who will determine our climate future.”
CD, together with other trusted partners, has rolled out the WE!ARE campaign to socialise the disproportionate effects of climate change on vulnerable communities on the African continent. Using creativity, the campaign will discover and amplify young people’s unique experiences and demands to surmount the challenges of climate change through climate justice.
Climate justice emphasizes the fact that Africa contributes the least to global warming, yet Africans are the most affected by climate change. As a result, those with the least capacity to cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change face the biggest threat. Climate justice aims to redress this inequality by fairly sharing the problem of climate change as well as the responsibility of dealing with it equitably, with all countries around the world. As a result, the launch of the WE!ARE campaign allows for a conversation about structure, system, and policy to take centre stage between African creatives and the corporate world about how they approach the challenge of climate change.
Collaboration between African creatives and the business community is no longer born from just mere excitement or the need to latch on to trends, but a deliberate and long-term agenda of every business and organization in Africa. This is a major win that BAO is excited about and we celebrate CD for leading the ingenious path that will benefit all because climate change affects everyone in the ecosystem.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, BAO looks forward to more businesses, organizations, and funders partnering with CD on this project to amplify the great work that is being done. It is a fact that one of the most effective ways of driving sustainable change through creativity is for the corporate world to provide the frameworks, systems, policies, assets, and seed funding needed to sustain the process.
Another big win for the WE!ARE movement is that it will help to improve the proper valuation in corporate policies for the growing social and economic value of creativity and innovation in Africa. Creatives will truly be regarded as using their talents to campaign for real solutions to challenges in Africa, and not just for leisurely endeavours.
From our vantage point, we wholeheartedly celebrate the immense work and achievements of Crtve Development (CD) and its strategic partners, including the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group, Danish Government, Ford Foundation and the World Resources Institute (WRI) on this worthy cause they have embarked on. We hope that as a result of this work, the subject of climate change will no longer be treated as secondary or alien, but as an issue that all hands must be on deck to address with the collaboration of the corporate world, NGOs, funders, and the creative communities in Africa.
Johns Hopkins Faith Adole is Giving Back to Africa
Johns Hopkins University trained Faith Adole is a healthcare executive and entrepreneur paasionate about healthcare advocacy, public health and inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. In this exclusive with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online(BAO), Faith talks about her foundation, interventions in Africa and passion for improving healthcare access to underserved communities around the globe. Excerpts.
Faith Adole is a trained nurse practitioner, healthcare executive, and entrepreneur. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer and founder of U-VOL Foundation, Inc. A servant leader, Faith is passionate about inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. She is committed to health care advocacy and bridging the gaps in existing health care and wellness needs for less privileged communities throughout the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Faith was inspired to start the U-VOL Foundation after volunteering in several international medical outreaches within Africa and seeing firsthand the poor health/hygiene practices, preventable health illnesses and even deaths in many disadvantaged and rural societies. Faith also noticed the existing inequities in Global Health delivery within Africa with a notable lack of Global Health leadership by African women as well as by those within the nursing profession.
As an African in diaspora, and as Nurse Executive with multiple years of field-based experience, Faith brings a fresh and dynamic approach to leading in the Community and Global Health sectors. Faith is currently completing her doctoral studies in Nursing as well as an MBA at Johns Hopkins University.
Inspiration behind U-Vol and what it’s set to achieve
U-VOL Foundation (United Vessels of Love Foundation) is a registered international non-profit healthcare foundation transforming lives one community at a time. Through its mission to help meet the unmet healthcare and wellness needs of vulnerable societies. This is done through medical outreach, health education, WASH and other healthcare sustainability initiatives.
The organization emphasizes love and care for all humanity through its global partnerships, its healthcare initiatives and through healthcare advocacy. U-VOL’s vision is to build dynamic relationships and partnerships with people, communities, and organizations to create global healthcare and wellness initiatives to lessen existing healthcare disparities worldwide.
Recent projects, challenges, funding and impact
Since 2015, Faith alongside U-VOL’s volunteer teams have embarked on successful international medical missions in Nigeria and in South Africa. As well as multiple domestic health and wellness domestic outreaches with the United States.
Under Faith’s leadership, her team has successfully launched a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program (WASH) in Nigeria in 2021. And recently concluded a solar powered clean water borehole project. The recent water project provided a sustainable source of clean water for 1700 people in Obi LGA of Benue State, Nigeria. Before the borehole, residents had zero access to clean water and frequented a local stream within the village called Orowu. Which dries up seasonally and gets contaminated easily during the rainy season as the same water source is used for multiple uses. This intervention will help to lessen the burden of preventable water-borne disease through harnessing a clean and long-lasting energy source.
Water Project video HERE
U-VOL’s borehole intervention swiftly follows a medical mission in the same Obi community, where a team of medical volunteers treated over 600 people. The recent medical mission and clean water project was powered by volunteers, public and private support, and a local project management team. Through skillful planning, efficient operations, strategic partnerships, thought leadership, and perseverance, Faith has been able to overcome challenges that come from influencing positive change within the African health sector despite various obstacles.
Your view on the health sector in Nigeria and Africa
“The truth is, there is so much opportunity for Africans within the diaspora and for those within the continent to collaborate for long lasting impact and change. I love the saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go further, go together’. It’s high time Africans begin to write their own narrative and leverage on the knowledge, skills, resources and influence within the continent as well as in the diaspora. Collaboration and unity will help us move forward. This is because we need both dialogue and action.
We need various stakeholders at multiple levels as well as diversity and inclusion of thoughts and hands. Community development and relief organizations are still relevant and have their place but it will take all of us to truly impact healthcare in the long term, through advocacy, healthcare policy, legislation, research, technology, education development, infrastructure, job creation and through many other avenues.”
Finally, your plans for the year
U-VOL plans to continue expanding its newly launched Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. Which is targeted at empowering and advocating for vulnerable rural communities throughout various parts of Nigeria. The organisation hopes to help aid both governmental and other NGO efforts to eradicate open defecation, provide health promotion education activities on hygiene and sanitation, and promote the construction of public toilet facilities.
talabat Egypt Partners with Ibrahim Badran Foundation, Facilitate Donations to Healthcare in Remote Villages
In accordance with its long-term commitment towards benefiting the entire ecosystem and all segments of society, talabat, the region’s leading food delivery and quick commerce company, announced its newest corporate responsibility partnership with Ibrahim Badran Foundation for charitable medical services.
The partnership aims to use tech for good, by facilitating donations through talabat’s platform in order to support Ibrahim Badran’s medical care and treatment services, in addition to equipping and running medical convoys and clinics in remote Egyptian areas. Customers can additionally donate to finance medical examinations, purchase medicine and medical suppliers, as well as contribute to paying for needed surgeries.
Commenting on the partnership, Hadeer Shalaby, Managing Director of talabat Egypt, said: “Doing by our tech for good philosophy, we are proud to be cooperating with Ibrahim Badran Foundation, which has an exceptional track-record of field work in effort to make quality medical care accessible to all communities. As we value the health and wellness of Egyptians, it brings us pride that we are enabling our customers to have an impact on remote communities from the comfort of their homes. We are also hopeful that donations facilitated through our platform will enable the Foundation to continue their on-ground work in areas most in need of high care standards.”
From her side, Ola Ismail, Founder and Chair of Ibrahim Badran Foundation, said: “At IBF, we believe that medical care is a basic human right. That is why our mission resides in providing high-quality healthcare to marginalized communities wherever they may be. Our work is made possible by partnering with organizations such as talabat, who share our goal of achieving better health across the country and using modern technologies for good. Given that our scope at the Foundation revolves around field-work in remote Egyptian areas, we are excited for this partnership to bring us closer to people who share our vision and want to contribute to a better future for healthcare.”
Ibrahim Ahmed Badran Foundation was founded in 2014 by the late doctor Ibrahim Ahmed Badran’s family and friends, who decided to keep his memory alive by creating a foundation under his name, with a vision to reach and treat the less fortunate. Today, the foundation has successfully organized more than 600 medical convoys in 120 villages in 16 Governorates across Egypt, examined more 395,000 patients in rural areas. In those 8 years, the foundation received help from more than 1600 volunteers alongside the support of our medical team who specialize in more than 15 medical specialties and resulted in 1200 life-changing successful surgeries.