, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – The Safaricom Foundation has launched the second phase of a Corporate Social Responsibility programme which seeks to encourage its employees to offer their expertise in developing Kenyan communities.
In the programme, workers will be allowed a three-month fully paid leave to allow them work on a community project of their choice.
The Foundation’s chairman Les Baillie said that the initiative will enable employees use their knowledge, skills and expertise in positively changing the society.
“We don’t want to just give money and hope that it does some good. We need to also use some of our staff so the initiative is going to give 28 of them the ability to take three months off work fully paid but go to work with some of our partners,” he said. “This will enable the experience and the skills that our staff has to be utilised.”
He said that the foundation was looking at drawing in other corporate organisations to share in the initiative.
“We believe that our staff needs to be involved in the Safaricom Foundation projects and we have extended the programme this year so instead of 12 of our staff working with our partners, we are increasing it to 28,” he explained.
“This year we also want to involve the media since we want them also to be involved.”
Apart from providing a unique capacity building and exposure opportunity for the volunteers, the initiative will enable them to work to extend and improve services, and in some cases will give the organisation the boost they need to move forward.
The initiative is currently running on a one year period seconding three teams of four Safaricom employees each volunteering with three local organisations.
Mr Baillie said the volunteers would share a host of skills including human resource, Information Technology, resource mobilisation, systems strengthening and marketing.
He said that by the end of the year, a significant change will have been realised among partners based on the need identified.
He stated that a simple yet effective monitoring and evaluation system will be used to capture the change across the entire placement period and to detail changes at the partner level, the volunteer level and the Safaricom level.
Lauding the initiative, Safaricom Limited Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said that the programme will strengthen the existing partnership with the company’s project partners and local communities in a sustainable manner.
“With this world of difference initiative, we are moving away from the typical CSR approach. We will be giving those who participate an opportunity to go for a longer time,” he said.
“They will get a once in a lifetime chance to contribute their knowledge, skills and expertise in positively changing the society,” he said.
He Joseph said that the motivation behind the initiative was to promote community work and enhance knowledge and skills in community based programmes among Safaricom staff.