Alcatel-Lucent Social Responsibility in South & East Africa
In South Africa: Take a girl child to work! – Alcatel-Lucent South Africa Employees Engage in Corporate Citizenship
The Alcatel-Lucent South Africa team conducts regular employee engagement activities and on Friday, May 30th, 2014 they hosted 10 “Bridging for Life” learners from the Ponelopele High School, through the yearly campaign “Take a girl child to work”.
Valued Citizens Initiative’s (VCI) learners had the opportunity to engage with the team and learn about various career paths such as Pre-sales, Sales, Finance, Human Resources, Communication and Marketing. Our Bridging for Life learners questioned the world of work and how we plan growth in Africa as the second largest continent in the world, with rich diversity, culture and challenges.
Many questions were asked regarding internship opportunities and procedures relating to discipline, support and guidance when an intern does not perform accordingly, as the new Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) score cards will shift in October 2014. Inquisitive and relevant, the Bridging for Life learners explored deeper the layers of the world of work, from policies to the care and growth of employees within Alcatel-Lucent. They were fascinated about the branding of a company and its impact in society.
Mr. Ravin Naidoo, Enterprise Regional Director South & East Africa, delivered an inspirational talk looking at how technology can make us loose ourselves. He defined IT as Innovation and Transformation. He also emphasized the importance of understanding “Why” you choose this career path and not another one, and the importance of knowing your strengths in order to build from them. He also reflected on the fact that cell phones and new social media expose who we are and our families, and the importance of respecting the privacy of one’s life. Mr Vrek Meyer, Sales Manager at Alcatel-Lucent, left our learners with these words “Never give-up as failures will improve your success“.
“Alcatel-Lucent South Africa has a long history in terms of corporate social responsibility in the country – Our company and employees’ volunteerism show clearly both our commitment to CSR and our strive to make a sustainable difference by supporting education and youth development programs…. I am very proud of our teams for their continuous and selfless involvement in social change initiatives and we will continue to support employees who contribute their time, skills and generosity to the nonprofit organizations of their choice or to global educational programs funded by the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation” said Nthabiseng Mashilwane, HR Director for Africa, Alcatel-Lucent.
About the “Bridging for Life” Program: The “Bridging for Life” programme was launched in 2010 in South Africa by Valued Citizens Initiative (VCI) with support from the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation. VCI provides life skills support programs which are endorsed by the Department of Higher Education and Training of South Africa and the National Department of Basic Education. These programs offer a great mix of innovation and practicality, and the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation is pleased to support their efforts to help young people realize their potential.
“Bridging for Life” is an effort to raise well-rounded young citizens who will have a chance at a meaningful life despite disadvantaged backgrounds and challenging life conditions. The 2010/2011 edition started by covering six public high schools in rural and township communities from three provinces: Gauteng – SG Mafaesa and Forte’ Secondary Schools; Free State – Mohato and Thalabodiba Secondary Schools, and Limpopo – Bokamoso and Mphengwa Secondary Schools, with very successful results: 85.89% pass rate amongst the learners; 74.35% who qualified to enroll at University, and 30.12% who achieved distinctions in certain subjects. 300 committed candidates grade 11 initially took part in the program. The distinctions were achieved in Life Orientation, Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. VCI currently supports grade 12 learners (124 learners) from Mamolemane (Ga-Moledji), Eqinisweni (Ivory Park) and Nkhobiso (Qwa-Qwa) public high schools, whom they motivate to achieve excellence.
VCI is passionate about building a citizenship movement where young people take responsibility for their future, strengthen their self-esteem and develop a “walk-the-talk” attitude towards constitutional values. In March 2014, after 4 years of successful partnership and continuous support, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation has renewed its confidence in the Bridging For Life program, supporting two high schools – one in QwaQwa (Free State, rural) and Kopano High School, Lebowakgmo (semi rural- 38Kms from Polokwane) in the Limpopo province.
In East Africa/Kenya: Winning combination with Kenya Red Cross Society: Sustainability, Green and Innovation!
The Alcatel-Lucent Foundation made a donation to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in 2011 to help combat the severe humanitarian crisis devastating East Africa, brought on by the worst drought in some 60 years. The donation was a result of a Global Matching Gift Program launched by the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation for Alcatel-Lucent employees. In 2012 and 2013 the foundation renewed its support by funding a new program of KRCS to improve food security and livelihood through climate change adaptation and environmental conservation in Inkisanjani – Loitokitok, Kajiado, by 2016.
Since then, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation continued its support to KRCS program which aims to:
- To enhance food security and livelihood through sustainable and appropriate technologies.
- To mitigate the impact of climate change through protection of the springs.
- To enhance access to clean and safe drinking water in the community.
- To strengthen and build the capacity of Kajiado branch thereby enhancing the branch volunteers
The project targets the rural population in Enkaroni Sub-locations, Kuku location in Loitokitok, Kajiado County, on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near the Tanzanian boarder. Once completed, the above components will directly benefit approximately 9,500 people with the irrigation component directly benefiting to more than 40 families.
No limits – Solidarity reached Kilimanjaro: From a distance of 240 Kms from Nairobi capital city of Kenya, a group of employees from Alcatel-Lucent East Africa accompanied by their Country Senior Officer (CSO) travelled to Loitoktok to support the KRCS during 2 days of full volunteering actions. Loitoktok is located in the South Eastern Kenya, at the international border with Tanzania. The town lies within the foothills and in full view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Armed with energy, enthusiasm, some stationeries and snacks for the kids in the community, a group of 12 employees boarded the van and left Alcatel-Lucent East Africa offices in Nairobi Kenya for a journey that turned out to be adventurous as well as educational!” said Philip Sakwa HR Director of Alcatel-Lucent East Africa. “The sight of the towering Mt. Kilimanjaro was a sign that we were closing in to our final destination. The members of the local community and KRCS staff were waiting for our arrival and we were so excited to start right away our 2 day activities with the local community and the KRCS team“.
The Alcatel-Lucent team was given a tour of the project: already completed installations including boreholes, solar panels, water pumps and irrigation equipments. The volunteers were then briefed by the agronomist experts for their assignment, which was to prepare the beds where the crops in one of the demarcated one acre piece of land would be planted. A substantial achievement was realized from this target as this was done as a demonstration by the Alcatel-Lucent team and the expert agronomists for the local community, who will have to do the all the remaining 39 acres themselves.
The project is an ambitious one and its progression is very impressive – Thanks to the KRCS, the local community of Loitoktok is fully involved and one can already see them ripping big. However, there is a need to maintain sustainability before KRCS fully hands over the projects to the local community, at least after the second harvest.
The KRCS program also supports activities designed to meet the immediate needs of the disadvantaged and rural area affected, including training and innovative techniques and necessary skills to become self sufficient. It helps the local community acquire life skills that will lead to a healthier and more prosperous life.
“We are committed to improve and transform peoples’ lives in the communities we live and work and we hope that individuals and organizations will also support the KRCS in their projects. A volunteer serves others by supporting a cause without expecting anything return and this is the most efficient way to show solidarity and make a difference” said Tony Wood, Country Senior Officer of Alcatel-Lucent in East Africa. He added: “It was a really enriching moment and experience! It teaches you humility to see some of the obstacles they had to overcome to get out in the community and make their own contribution. I look forward for the next session“.