Businesses have an important role in acting against climate change and contributing to social justice movements, and can make an immense difference in changing people’s attitudes. More companies are incorporating CSR work in the day-to-day running of the business, and encourage their employees to contribute with ideas and commitment.
Admincontrol has for a long time been concerned with CSR both on a green initiative and various aid projects. When trying to find a lasting collaborator, our focus was finding an organisation that shares our core values. We also wanted to know that the road from donor to recipient is short and reliable, and we wanted to follow the development of our projects first hand. Our choice landed on Sabona.
Children passed out
Sabona is a humanitarian organisation, working on grassroot level in the northern part of Zimbabwe. It was founded by Ynghild Solholm after she travelled to the country in 1999. Her journey led her to the small village of Dopota, where she started out as a teacher raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS issue.
When she saw children pass out in class of thirst and hunger, she knew she had to do more. She arranged a charity concert back home in Norway, with the money gained she started a food station, and with this Sabona was born.
Today, several years later, the organisation has expanded and is working on various projects focusing on education, nutrition and health. Projects are initiated by the locals, and through careful assessments, they agree on what is most urgent. Sabona works in a holistic way, meaning that they see all components in a society as equally important. As Ynghild herself says:
“You must see the correlation between access to clean water, food, education, health services and employment. If one of these areas isn’t working, nothing is,”
One of the key areas for Sabona have been education and promoting the importance of completing at least primary education. In the rural areas of Matabeleland North, lack of education and jobs are rampant, and the younger generation suffers from the consequences of years with political and economic decrease.
In Zimbabwe school fees, books, uniforms and stationary are not covered by the government, and families have to pay for this in order for the child to attend school. Children from economically challenged families and orphans will have limited to no access to education, and thus no way of getting out of the poverty circle.
Luckily, Sabona`s sponsorship program helps the most vulnerable children, and over the years Sabona has given 12 000 children the possibility to take control of their own lives through education.
New food stations
This year we wanted to get more involved with the organisation. After meeting with Sabona and talking about their needs, we have chosen to support two different projects: The food stations in Dopota and Lupote Primary School, and upgrading the maternity ward in the Fatima Clinic.
The food station Ynghild first started in Dopota, have been running for 17 years, and have been crucial for the attendance at this school. In areas with low food security, everything else than focusing on finding the next meal for the family will be given a low priority.
Parents will pull their children out of school in order for them to help earning money or working in the fields. In the cases where they do go to school, but have not eaten sufficiently and are lacking proper nourishment, the lack of concentration will affect their ability to learn. In too many cases this will cause the child to drop out altogether, and once out of the school system, it is very hard to get back in, as they quickly fall behind their peers, and don`t want to start at a lower level.
Having the food station present at school assures the children a hot and nutritious meal every day, and in the schools where Sabona is present, the attendance is close to 100%. The children are more focused, and their learning capacity has improved. It also enables the women in the community that rotates on preparing the food for the children, and secures them a meal a day as well.
Today, Sabona offers a hot meal each day to more than 700 children.
The maternity ward at the Fatima Clinic started out as an offer for pregnant women in the Lupane district. For the last couple of years, the ward has been lacking supplies to fulfil its purpose, such as interior, medicines, medical equipment, electricity and running water. In the rural areas where the clinics are far apart and all medical help costs money, most women will give birth at home.
This puts both mother and infant at high risk for infections, the infant will not get the necessary vaccines, HIV transmission is more likely, and should there be any complications both the infant and the mother`s life is at risk.
With the help of several donors, Sabona will make sure that the ward can offer the best help available for the women and children who depend on it. Access to free medical care, a safe place to give birth and professional medical help will help reduce homebirths and stop putting these women at unnecessary risk.
Admincontrol has been a sponsor of Sabona since 2012, and we are so happy to ramp up our support this year. The work Sabona does is priceless and the opportunity we have to follow the progress step by step is very valuable to us.
We will for sure continue our CSR work, and hope to inspire others as well.
Read more about Admincontrol's Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives here.
The article is written by Nina Ferlic.
Nina works as a Client Manager for Virtual Data Rooms in Admincontrol. She serves as our steering compass when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility. Nina has personally been working closely with Sabona for years, and spent three months in Zimbabwe in 2015 visiting the Sabona projects.