2021 World CSR Day

Zambia, on 18th Feb 2021 joined 130 other countries to commemorate the World CSR Day. The commemoration was celebrated via a virtual meeting, officiated by Director of Community Development, Mr. Cosmas Lukupulo, standing in on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and moderated by Mulemwa Moongwa. Other panelists included Denise Clarke-Reeves, the Chief of Party USAID Let’s Read project, Brian Moonga the Country Director of World Bicycle Relief and Buffalo Bicycles Zambia, as well as Lee Muzala, the Executive Director of CSR Network Zambia.

The World CSR Day was launched on 18th February, 2012 in Mumbai at Taj Lands End by His Excellency Shri. Veerappa Moily, Honourable Minister of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, who inaugurated the program.

The Objectives of the World CSR Day are:

  • To provide a common platform to the corporate, government agencies, NGOs, civil society, academics and the other groups to share their expectations, aspirations and responsibilities.
  • To bring together representatives from various parts of the globe to share their experiences, challenges and opportunities.
  • To spread the message of CSR, that which makes a difference to the community at large.

Mrs. Clarke-Reeves opened the session with a presentation of the Let’s Read Project, highlighting their work with the Ministry of General Education (MOGE) aimed at improving reading outcomes for approximately 1.4 million children in pre-primary (kindergarten) through Grade 3 in public and community schools. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure that students read with comprehension and fluency in one of Zambia’s seven official local languages of instruction. USAID Let’s Read is implemented in over half of all public primary and community schools in Zambia.

Learning to read in the early grades is the foundation for learning in all subjects. The MOGE recognizes that improving the overall quality of primary education requires improving basic reading skills in early grades. Over the past decade, reading assessments for early grades consistently show that over 70 percent of children are unable to read or write at the end of their second year of learning according to the 2014 Early Grade Reading Assessment.

Brian Moonga revealed that at the end of 2019, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) celebrated the 500,000th bicycle in the
field as part of the 1 million bicycles target. An outstanding achievement for the organization. He furthered shared on how beneficiaries are selected and how the communities benefit through transfer of skills in some individuals to offer maintenance services and repairs.

Director Lukupulo, in his keynote speech reminded the corporates on the important role they play in uplifting the lives of people in the communities they operate in. He explained that It is common practice nowadays to find commemorative or Important days that are observed in and around the world. Such days each year have a particular meaning or national or international significance. And World CSR Day is such a day, when we join other countries to remember, to celebrate and to appreciate efforts by companies in accounting for their actions and for making our communities a better place. It is also a day when we remind each other not to stop doing good, a day to encourage each other to continue being good corporate citizens.

Mr. Lukupulo stressed the fact that in the context of Community Development, we need to strive to improve access to education because through education, we will realise poverty reduction in the community, promote equality, peace and security, and ultimately reduce exploitation as education will help people to know more about their rights and responsibilities as well as the law in general.

Beene leaves home at 6.30am to ride to school on her new bike. Before she received her bike, Beene would have to begin walking the 8km to school at 4.30am in order to arrive before lessons started at 7.15am. She would arrive exhausted.

As part of CSR Network Zambia’s commitment to strengthening the CSR ecosystem in Zambia, the focus for 2021 is “Access to Education”. Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital development at all levels. Education is indispensable to economic development and Zambia needs a balanced education system if Vision 2030 is to be realised.

Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, Zambia, like other developing countries has committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first through the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Education has been described as one of the greatest equalizers of our time , however, for rural children, education may be an equalizer but distance is a barrier! How do we work towards ensuring poverty alleviation in order to achieve the Vision 2030 and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all in line with Sustainable Development Goal number four with all its seven targets?

It against this background that CSR Network Zambia has partnered with World Bicycle Relief and Buffalo Bicycles Zambia, to increase awareness of the plight of Zambian learners in rural places across the country by providing bicycles to eliminate the challenges relating to accessing education. Having identified distance as the greatest barrier to education for those living in rural areas, giving the learner a bicycle could reduce commute time by up to 75% between home and school. In the short term, bicycles help children attend school regularly and arrive better rested. In the long term, bicycles help children complete their education, preparing them for better jobs and reducing the likelihood of extreme poverty. On average, each additional year of education a child receives increases her or his adult earnings by 10%. And for each additional year of schooling completed by young adults, the country’s poverty rate falls by 9%. Some of the highest returns of all are associated with educating girls. This being the case, education must be available to all people to enable them survive and develop to their maximum potential.

This is the basis of the project that was launched by CSR Network Zambia during the meeting – Ride-2-School Cycling Challenges. The Ride-2-School Challenge is a call to stakeholders to participate by sponsoring bicycles to be donated to learners in (five) locations across the country. CSR network Zambia, in partnership with Buffalo Bicycles Limited and World Bicycle Relief is organizing the “Ride-2-School” Bicycle Challenge in the following regions:

  1. Livingstone dubbed “The Mosi-o-Tunya Challenge” (3rd April 2021)
  2. Lusaka dubbed as “Ba Lusaka Challenge” (1st May 2021)
  3. Siavonga dubbed “The Kariba Challenge” (5th June 2021)
  4. Solwezi dubbed “The Mabanga Challenge” (Aug/Sept 2021)
  5. Chingola dubbed “The Kopala Challenge” (Nov/Dec 2021)

Participation the Cycling Challenges is open to all – individuals and organiations. Cycling is a sport with minimal participant contact and therefore will adhere to set health and safety guidelines for participants. Companies can participate by financing the bicycles. Participation in the Cycling Challenge is open to teams sponsored by corporates as well as individual cyclists.

For more details, contact the CSR Network Zambia Secretariat by sending an email to projects(a)csrzambia.org or calling +260 977 843926.

Zambia’s Largest Independent Power Producer Transforming Face Of Maamba

Contributing around 10% of the nation’s electricity generation capacity has a huge impact on the nation’s energy security and the economy in general, but for Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL), its endeavours do not stop there.

The sponsors and management of MCL understand that no business can be successful, unless the community around it shares in that success. Towards this vision, the company has set up the Maamba Development Trust (MDT), whose motto is, “Making a Difference…”

The objective is to spearhead social and economic development in Maamba, Sinazongwe District, and in other areas where Maamba Collieries operates. MCL’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are part of the company’s social investment policy, centered on community development and improving the living conditions of the people. The initiative is built on four pillars – education, health, infrastructure development and sports, apart from conserving the environment as well as assisting with other needs of the community.

On the education front, MCL runs the Maamba Private School with over 500 local students and a Nursery for around 160 toddlers, while also providing regular support to the GRZ-run school for differently abled children.

Towards improving health facilities, MCL partnering with the Ministry of Health, is setting up a state of the art eye care unit in Maamba General Hospital to provide eye care to the needy in the district and beyond.  MCL is also in the final stages of building a clinic near Lake Kariba which will provide access to medical facilities for around 10 remote villages and fishing camps.

The cornerstone of MCL’s CSR interventions has been laying new roads in the Maamba Township – roads which had not seen any work for over four decades – thereby providing dust free and safe roads to travel.

On the sports and fitness front, the company sponsors the First Division Maamba Energy Stars F.C., and provides access to the sporting facilities including golf, tennis, squash and badminton to the local community of Maamba Township.

Meanwhile, the Company has been contributing to the development of the youth and less privileged by running TEVETA approved welding & metal fabrication & power electric courses in its modern, well-equipped Training Centre. Towards sustaining the livelihood needs of the people, the Company runs tailoring and carpentry classes for local women and menfolk, skills which they can use for supplementing their meagre income.

“In order for us to mitigate the impact of mining and thermal power generation operations, environmental conservation remains a key focus area. We endeavor to plant over 30,000 trees every year and continuously undertake rehabilitation of waste dumps in order for us to preserve our environment,” said Head Corporate Affairs PJ Sudhir.

Meanwhile, MDT Manager, Mr. Jethro Sikalunda highlights that, “MCL also provides much needed access to water for the people of Sinazongwe, by pumping water through a 28-km pipeline from Lake Kariba to SWASCO – to meet the community needs for potable water”.

He added that, “The company also provides support to the three chiefs in its area of operations”.

With the support of all stakeholders, MCL has been transforming the face of Maamba, bringing much-needed social and economic empowerment, and essentially, MAKING A DIFFERENCE by improving the lives of the community in Maamba and the district of Sinazongwe.

By Chris Phiri
Zambia Reports, 14 Feb 2020.

Inaugural CSR Awards

The Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zambia (CSRNZ) organised and hosted the national Responsible Businesses and CSR Awards, to recognise and honor Zambian companies implementing CSR in Zambia. Running under the theme – Shaping Responsible Businesses Towards the Attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, (Vision 2030). The awards Gala dinner was held at the Golden Peacock Hotel, along Kasangula Road, in Roma Township, on 29th November 2019.

The Guest of Honor at the awards was the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Hon. Christopher Yaluma, represented by Director of Cooperatives, Mr. Shadreck Mungalaba.

The following companies were honored:

  1. Airtel Zambia
  2. Kashikoto Conservancy Ltd
  3. Natural Valley Ltd
  4. Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)
  5. Lubambe Copper Mines
  6. First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FQML)
  7. Barrick Lumwana
  8. HLB Zambia
  9. FINCA
  10. Stanbic Zambia
  11. Ecobank
  12. Access Bank
  13. DHL Zambia
  14. Zambia Airports Corporation Ltd
  15. Zambia Railways
  16. IHS Towers
  17. Betway
  18. NECOR
  19. Cashbuild
  20. Maamba Collieries
  21. Zambia Sugar
  22. Sun FM
  23. Pick N Pay
  24. Action Aid
  25. G4S
  26. Madison Financial Services
  27. Trade Kings
  28. Tongabezi
  29. Dangote Cement
  30. Royal Air Charters
  31. Vision Care

These Annual CSR Awards are intended to be Zambia’s prestigious CSR and Sustainability accolades, recognising the contributions being made by individuals, the Private and Public sectors towards community development. Winners are mobilized from the diverse sectors and industries which have created positive impact towards Zambia’s sustainable development and the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals.

Zambia Partners with Huawei in ICT Development

Huawei and Zambia have continued to enhance cooperation in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector aimed at promoting ICT access across the country in line with the China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan 2019-2021.

Zambia’s Consular General in Guangzhou, China Daniel Chisenga noted that the Zambian government realises that ICT has the potential to contribute to the overall economic growth of the country as it is an enabler of the growth of several other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, agro processing, education, manufacturing, health, tourism among others.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Seeds for the Future Program, Chisenga said the Zambian government has identified Information and Communication Technology as a catalyst for socio-economic development by promoting competitiveness as well as being an enabler of good governance.

The Seeds for the Future program is a major CSR Huawei initiative designed to help ICT professionals fill the gap between theory and practice and master the required skills.

He noted that it is so gratifying that Zambia is part of the program and disclosed that so far, 40 Zambian students have benefited in just fou4 years and congratulated them for being among the most outstanding university students in the world.

“The Huawei Seeds for the Future program has created a platform for Zambian students to learn from the best in the ICT sector.  The program gives hope for the future development of the ICT sector in Zambia and the win-win cooperation between the two countries,” said Mr. Chisenga observed.

Impact Assessment is the CSR game-changer

Impact can be defined in different ways for every organisation’s CSR. One of the methods is by calculating return on investment wherein we measure the monetary value of benefits derived by the beneficiaries. The impact may also be based on the measurement of the outreach of a CSR project. For certain organisations, the impact can be defined as the actual change– social and environmental. An insight-driven method of evaluating social impact is mapping the behaviour change among the beneficiaries receiving the interventions. Assessments of impact differ as the organisations adopt their respective understanding of it.

Impact assessment has become a medium through which organisations can communicate to their key stakeholders—their implementation partners, shareholders, and board of directors about the effect of the initiatives shared with the beneficiaries.
For a CSR program to succeed, building commitment towards a singular and long-term vision of change from the key stakeholders like the board of directors is required. A committed board then directs the project towards producing a sustainable change in the lives of its beneficiaries. It is equally important to build trust among the beneficiaries. Accurate impact assessment can aid in building commitment from internal stakeholders and trust within the external stakeholders as it continues to identify the successes and limitations of the program.

In order to conduct an impact assessment that delivers on these key areas, investment to acquire expertise is imperative. It is also important to develop appropriate skill sets across the various partnerships for efficient and effective execution of a CSR project.

More often than not, CSR programs are evaluated on their investments and returns. There is a need for a shift in this approach and to capture the data on the lives impacted. This can be done using quantitative surveys with the beneficiaries and key stakeholders. These quantitative surveys can help identify the key changes we bring in through our programs. To complement these findings there is a need to understand the underlying reasons for change among the beneficiaries, which qualitative interviews can help address and build social impact stories.

Impact assessment helps the board direct the CSR funds towards its optimum utilization, where initiatives that have a maximum impact can be scaled up while programs leading to limited impact can be curtailed. For organisations implementing programmes in partnership with social organisations, it can be a useful exercise of capacity-building, where the two organisations can work closely towards achieving their common goals through the knowledge of outcomes shared by such assessments. The outcomes of these assessments can also be a way of communicating with the wider eco-system of beneficiaries who can learn about the impact and build their own agency towards addressing the community challenges. It becomes a proof-of-concept that organisations can use to build and scale their programs across geographies.

At WPP Foundation, we have defined its theory of change through a key process map which helps to direct our work towards achieving our vision through robust impact. The theory of change has identified over 20 interventions focussing on outcomes such as increasing retention in secondary schools, improving learning outcomes, enhancing work-readiness skills and addressing key social norms.

Through robust measurements, foundations can take quick and corrective decisions on regular intervals to ensure the rigour of their work in line with defined goals, as well as enables partners to build capacity to address gaps. This requires us to spend disproportionately. The positive encouragement towards this can be observed with government mandates now allowing more percentage funding towards Research & Development within CSR.


AUTHOR.
Rama A. Iyer, Director General WPP India CSR Foundation – December 7, 2019.

Director General at WPP India CSR Foundation. She is also a panel member to the World CSR Congress, nomination for ‘Expert Trainer in guiding CSR consultants develop strategies for Indian SMEs and exporters with a special focus on the European Market’. She has partnered with state-level Governments for evaluating, developing and advising in creating IEC material for interventions related to health, hygiene, gender, nutrition and skill development.