Sustainable implementation of CSR is the key to steady development — Expert

An expert in international business development, Mr. Fatai Afolabi, said that stable development is determined by the sustainable implementation of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligation of a government or a company towards neighboring people or communities.

Mr. Afolabi, former Executive Secretary of the Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria, is a management consultant with Foremost Development Services (FDS) Ltd.

He made the claim during a two-day training program he organized for Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc (OOPC) management and members of its neighboring communities recently at the company’s Okomu plantation. , near Udo, Ovia South West Local Government Area of ​​Edo. .

According to him, an effective and sustainable CSR is based on prioritizing the needs of the community based on an inclusive and participatory approach in the decision of the projects to be carried out.

He noted that to determine the priority needs of communities for the implementation of sustainable CSR, it is essential that a study assess the needs of communities, examine the CSR program of OOPC and recommend to the company priority projects and CSR implementation strategy that is sustainable.

He explained that when needs assessment agreements are truly and faithfully implemented, “it eliminates turmoil, suspicion and acrimony, but promotes lasting mutual and industrial harmony between businesses and communities of welcome”.

In his presentation, Dr. Joseph Ahmadu of FDS, explained that the essence of the training was to improve the relationship between OOPC and its host communities, saying that “both the company and the communities will greatly benefit from the results from the program”.

Ahmadu said it was imperative to conduct a needs assessment study in the 29 communities in OOPC’s operational areas, adding that “this will help identify and prioritize the needs that the company should focus on in order to improve the quality of life in the communities”. .”

According to him, the inclusive and participatory nature of the study will give communities a sense of ownership and ownership of CSR projects.

He listed other benefits to include that “the interest of communities will be satisfied, they will be satisfied, there will be increased income, food security, health, education, skills and social life of community members and a peaceful coexistence between OOPC and communities”.

Representatives from 15 of the 29 participating host communities, who applauded the training program, however spoke of the abandonment of some CSR projects in some communities.

They urged OOPC to see how it could address this shortcoming to avoid the situation where people would start to feel neglected and abandoned.

Mr. Madoku Rufus from Owan Community said, “We welcome this training as it will now give us the opportunity to express our desire in terms of desire.”

“We also want to advocate for projects to be awarded to competent experts for excellent (project) execution that will stand the test of time,” he said.


Comrade Austin Enabulele, representing Edo State Civil Society Organization who attended the training as an observer, said, “This training is part of our recommendation during a similar program by an NGO a few weeks ago.

“If faithfully implemented from what we have observed, the outcome will be of great benefit to both parties. Our advocacy as a civil society organization is that companies should always interact with members of host communities and agreeing on their needs rather than imposing needs on them.

Ms. Ese Joy, who represented Voice of the Earth Initiative, said the training was very good and praised Okomu company for organizing it and urged other companies to emulate Okomu.

Mr. Fidelis Olise, Head of Communications at OOPC, said his company has always made sure to implement CSR in its communities in line with known best practices as a multinational company.

Olise said, “From this program, we are ensuring that community representatives are distributed across relevant groups such as Exco members, youth, women and elders for wider consultation and more inclusive.

He revealed that OOPC has always allowed communities to nominate contractors of their choice to carry out the projects of their needs.

According to him, while the company will obviously look into some of the concerns raised, he revealed that as many as 287 needy students in the 29 host communities have benefited from the company’s scholarship award policy over the past nine years, among other CSR projects.

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