By James Ratemo, email@example.com
For any company that values its reputation, giving back to the community is key to boosting its brand awareness and cultivating good will among its clientele.
Read how Kenya Re is using CSR to boost its image and grow reputation.
Corporate Social Responsibility also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business, aids an organization’s mission and outlines what the company stands for to its consumers.
Kenya Reinsurance Corporation MD, Jadiah Mwarania says his company has centered its main CSR activities around disability.
Besides, the Corporation has supported children’s homes and participated in the annual Matter Heart Run, Stanchart Marathon and sponsors academic excellence awards in Kenya’s tertiary institutions.
However, in 2011 the Corporation reviewed this strategy and opted to sustainably focus on one major Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to establish impactful long term stakeholder value. Various considerations were made including taking an initiative in education and environment or support for persons with disability.
Kenya Re opted to assist people with disability as no other corporation had adopted such a CSR initiative before and recognizing the huge magnitude of need that existed in this area.
We eventually launched a campaign dubbed Niko Fiti (I am fit) Ability beyond Disability for the disabled persons, “which has boosted the company’s visibility and added value to our shares.”
For the past years when the initiative was launched, the company has been spending between sh30 million and sh80 million annually to buy the specialized devices for the disabled across Kenya
The objective of the campaign is to lift the stigma towards persons living with disability and to provide assistive devices that will enable them have accessibility and mobility to engage in daily economic activities. This will integrate them into social and community life.
Collaboration to cut costs
To create awareness on the campaign and sensitize on issues of persons with disability, Standard Group (SG) was approached to be the media partner. The other implementing partner approached is Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) whose role is to provide direct linkage and platform to project beneficiaries.
“Since the campaign is not our core business, we engaged APDK because they know the terrain in the disability world and would identify the beneficiaries easier that we could,” said Mwarania.
“We set aside a percentage of our profits annually to give back to community through the Niko Fiti campaign…there are still very many disabled people untouched and we need more corporates to step in,” said Mwarania.
So far the campaign has seen over 2000 assistive devices distributed to the most needy persons across the country.
Sustainability of activities
After achieving mobility for the beneficiaries, argues Mwarania, next focus is to empower them economically.
“We need to give the disabled persons trays, storage boxes and umbrellas which can be attached to wheel chairs… we will identify strategic places where they can come and do their business and train them on basic business skills,” said Mwarania.
Boosting visibility of company
According to Mwarania companies with active CSR activities reap increased visibility as the people whose live they touch get to know more about them.
“As we do our CSR, we cannot avoid activities that bring company to limelight… as a listed company, we believe visibility increases our share value,” argued Mwarania.
According to Mwarania collaborating in CSR activities helps to cut costs and enhance efficiency since it ensures companies are not distracted from core activities.
CSR objectives need to be well thought out and properly focused. One-off activities do not help much. We need to ensure the activities are self-sustainable in the long term.
Other sectors that Kenya Re believes could benefit from CSR include school feeding programs, helping spinal injury accident victims and tree planting.