By Duncan Mlanjira
In its aim at making a measurable contribution in improving the well-being of underprivileged children and communities, World Vision Malawi engaged with the private sector on Tuesday to impress on it on how the future of these children can be secured through strong collaborative effort.
At the engagement dinner at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre that attracted top executives from the corporate world, World Vision’s National Director Hazel Nyathi said partnership is at the heart of what they do for them to be able to make a lasting difference to the lives of the poor.
She took recognizance that when the country was affected by Cyclone Idai last year, the corporate world positively responded to the flood disasters by assisting victims in affected areas in which some engaged World Vision to execute their corporate social responsibility (CSR) on their behalf.
Having observed that several others, who were not World Vision’s strategic partners, carried out their CSRs on their own and thus they decided to try and take them on board to create the intended strong and organized platform for leveraging CSR strategy.
“By being strategic about CSR, companies such as yours, can leverage your social goodwill to increase your profits and most of all the communities where your employees and customers live and work,” Nyathi said.
“Through this platform, we hope to bring great brands together. Together we can align your company’s brand with strong social and community values.
“We can work with you to broaden resourcing and effectiveness of your corporate social initiatives.”
She impressed on the chief executives that World Vision, a global NGO brand established in 1982 in Malawi and currently working in all 28 districts through 39 Area Programmes and Grant supported projects, can help bring to life companies’ strategies according to their brand and deliver meaning CSR results and integrity.
Amongst other values, World Vision proposes to mobilize and interface with communities for stakeholder buy-in; an opportunity to aggregate resources from different companies for CSR economies of scale and to measure results as they go.
It also pledges to offer a platform and mechanism for the private sector to tangibly identify their footprints in the attainment of Strategic Development Goals (SDGs).
“The objective of the business sector is no longer just to shareholders but increased accountability at large,” Nyathi went on.
“Our corporate partners make a crucial contribution to our work and we continue to see added mutual benefit through greater collaboration.”
World Vision also realigned itself to support the underprivileged communities by empowering them through business linkages between SMEs and large corporates.
To achieve that, it established its own microfinance arm — VisionFund Malawi — established in 2013 to empower communities through providing access to savings and credit.
VisionFund Malawi’s Chief Executive Officer, Chilala Hakooma said they believe that to bring a brighter future for children,there is need to empower families and communities, especially women, to improve their quality of their economic lives so that the children can be sent to school.
The loan products VisionFund Malawi offers are for business, linkage agriculture and they also offer savings group services, value chain finance and financial education.
“VisionFund Malawi provides financial services to people who would otherwise have little of no access to credit through community groups, savings groups, cooperatives and individuals,” Hakooma said.
Operating in 23 districts of the country, the World Vision Malawi financial service arm is dully licensed by the Reserve Bank of Malawi.