Rashidat Adebisi, Deputy General Manager at AXA Nigeria, took part in a solidarity project in the Raphuthi community in South Africa, along with many other AXA executives from all over the world. She shared with us what this day meant to her, and how she enjoyed creating a sustainable impact.
My favourite definition of Corporate Responsibility (CR) speaks to the ethics of an organization over time, especially how it adds value to its activities, while ensuring it has a positive and sustainable impact on the environment, society and the overall economy. Thus it speaks to the actions an organisation takes to further social good beyond the interest of the firm and what the law requires. Organisations can engage in corporate responsibility by dedicating financial resources to the “causes” close to their heart, dedicating time and efforts to support them or even better combine both.
I strongly believe that when both time and financial resources are combined to drive social responsibility, the recipients of CR investments are not the only beneficiaries because the employees of the company involved, their family as well as society gets impacted. A popular Nigerian proverb says “it is better to teach a man to fish than give him a piece of fish”. This speaks to the need to create CR impact that will empower recipients to break cycles or at the minimum live a better life.
Along with around 166 senior executives of AXA, we took part in a project in the Raphuthi community in South Africa. Our objective was to help building infrastructures that could serve as a first step to foster employment within the community. As part of the project, we helped locals build chicken sheds, install fences around food gardens and ramps to enable wheelchair access. It is not much, but sometimes it is game changing, especially in some communities that lack essentially everything.
The Raphuthi community experience confirmed how enriching it is to dedicate time and financial resources to enable a deserving community to improve their lot. The community was happy to see a diverse team of people work together to create enduring benefits from them. We shared an intense moment of mutual curiosity, awe and pleasure. The camaraderie, team work and physical exercise was also really refreshing, despite the South African sun. It was a humbling experience which reminded me of all the wonderful pleasures I take for granted every day.
The team spirit was high and discovering the hidden gardening skills of members of my team was priceless and I can’t fail to mention our creative gardening efforts. The fulfilment of helping create a garden that could keep feeding the family over time made the whole exercise poignant.
Giving time for others is a great way to bring people together around a cause that speaks to everyone. I am certain that both parties (members of the Raphuthi community and AXA representatives) benefited from the exercise and in my mind it follows our corporate drive to help people live a better life.