Bata Shoe Company says it has spent K5 million in corporate socio responsibility (CSR) campaigns on education and social welfare this year, a development it says has helped it become more responsive to community challenges.
Bata Children’s Programme National Coordinator, Grace Mvutho, said in an interview Thursday that one of the most successful programmes has been the ‘Children’s Programme’- an initiative currently being implemented in two Blantyre primary schools namely; Blantyre Girls and Chichiri.
The programme awards outstanding and most improved pupils in a bid to promote hard work and dedication towards education.
“We are proud of the successes we have achieved in the programme. These include the selection of pupils from Blantyre Girls and Chichiri to various national secondary schools,” said Mvutho.
She added that the programme has also increased competition among pupils, saying, for example, that it was becoming increasingly difficult for pupils who claim first position during one term to maintain the same in the next.
“What we have been doing is to give outstanding and most-improved students vouchers to buy Toughees (shoes). We want to help reduce the burden associated with the cost of purchasing school shoes for school-going children. The advantage is that a pupil can use these shoes for several years,” said Mvutho.
Mvutho added that part of the K5 million Bata has spent on CSR campaigns has gone towards alleviation of suffering among orphaned and vulnerable children. She said some of the funds have gone towards school construction and the provision of vocational materials to Non Governmental Organisations.
“We want to assure Malawians that we will continue to be responsive to community needs. In fact, we plan to extend the Children’s programme to other districts. We wanted to extend it to Lilongwe but, unfortunately, we were visited by one of our directors that time and we couldn’t go ahead,” said Mvutho.
Implementation of the programme started in Malawi in 2009, though it has been running in other countries for a while, according to Mvutho.
The Malawi programme is part of the Lausanne (Switzerland’s capital city)-based Bata Children’s Programme Foundation, created with the aim of contributing to the support and development of children worldwide.
“The Bata Shoe Organisation operates in over 50 countries across five continents. For 115 years, our core belief has always been to contribute and support the communities in which we work,” said Mvutho.
However, Mvutho said the programme was an independent, worldwide project backed by the Bata Children’s Programme Foundation.
“As a world-scale organisation, we aim to play a part in addressing international social concerns. More so, our historical strong presence in many developing countries provides us with a deep understanding of the local cultures and people’s needs,” she said.