NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Athi River Mining (ARM) has launched the Rhino Cement Foundation aimed at driving the company’s corporate social investment initiative in the communities in East Africa.
The Foundation will be funded by the company to the tune of Sh30 million per year and will focus on channelling together and strategically managing different corporate social investment functions for more impactful results specifically in areas of education, health and environment.
ARM’s Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana said the Foundation will be steered by Titus Mbathi, a long-serving auditor in Kenya’s corporate scene as its Chairman assisted by Ramesh Vohra, a member of the institute of Certified Public Secretary of Kenya. Daniel Ndonye, a respected career accountant who has held positions in various company boards.
“Athi River Mining has invested heavily in various parts of the country today, for instance by building health institutions, funding the less fortunate through their education and planting and maintaining trees. By setting up this Foundation we hope to bring together all these disparate activities together through a more structured organisation that can track how impactful these initiatives are to our communities,” said Mr Paunrana.
In a marked departure from common funding practice for foundations, Mr Paunrana said the Rhino Cement Foundation will be financed through apportioning Athi River Mining’s profit.
Said Mr Paunrana: “Last year, ARM spent about Shs15 million in various CSI activities in the communities around Kenya. We are building classrooms, giving annual bursaries, helping with a women’s self help organisation, raising tree seedling and planting these in the area, and so on. We are now also planning to start a vocational training college at Kaloleni.”
Currently, CSI initiatives in the company are driven through staff teams committing their time to ensure projects are sustainable over a period of time. Teams with good knowledge of local communities are tasked with determining various needs in different areas, helping to offer help where it is needed most.
“We are encouraging our teams to look after projects they have initiated over a year or longer. They should see that our money or donation is actually being used correctly, and the benefits are recorded properly. The teams can decide on the scholarships policy, on monitoring the effectiveness of the program, on improvements, on new ideas for future projects and so on,” said Mr Paunrana.