Transforming lives via Corporate Social Investment
Dr Macharia Irungu
In a recent gathering, I was stunned to hear of a parent who failed to enrol one of her children in school because she was living with disability.
Her simple explanation was that the child was differently abled, and hence did not require any formal education.
This is an example of how society discriminates children and fellow citizens living with disabilities, which include blindness, hearing impairment, mental illness, locomotor disability among many others.
The biased treatment of persons living with disabilities (PWDs) causes barriers that deny them social, economic, political, education and self-developmental rights.
It is against this background that Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), through its Foundation, moved to establish the Inuka programme.
The programme has two facets: Inuka Scholarship programme that facilitates children completing their primary school education to access secondary school education and Inuka Social Empowerment Programme that aims at building capacities of PWDs in skills-based training and other economic opportunities.
KPC set up the Inuka Scholarship programme in 2016, with the first batch of beneficiaries enrolled for Form One countrywide in January 2017.
The maiden class was supposed to have completed their Form Four schooling at end of last year, but they were delayed due to Covid-19.
With 94 new students joining the programme each year, number of beneficiaries has since grown to 376.
KPC, through its foundation, collaborates with National Council for persons Living with Disabilities in the programme, which enrolls two children, a boy and a girl, from each county.
The company pays school fees and meeting other basic needs of successful children drawn from modest backgrounds.
The programme has been instrumental in complementing national government efforts towards realisation of one of Vision 2030 goals of providing equitable access to quality education at all levels.
Towards this end, KPC spends a total of Sh14 million annually. While access to quality education is a constitutional right, a vast number of PWDs cannot afford to pay for their education.
That PWDs constantly need specialised medical attention and other needs, other household needs such as education are affected, thus stunting their economic wellbeing.
KPC has made and continues to make a positive impact on society through improving lives of individuals, special groups, and communities across the country.
We have set aside resources to give back to society as our way of appreciating not only resident communities along our easement - adjacent to our pipeline network.
We have made a deliberate decision to consistently set aside one per cent of our Profit Before Tax and dedicated it to Corporate Social Investment (CSI) activities annually.
Access to quality education for every child is a necessary ingredient to spur socio-economic growth.
This explains why we attach great importance to education as a key pillar in our CSI, aligned with government goals of access to quality education for all children.
As Africa’s premier oil and gas company, and as a responsible corporate citizen, we must meaningfully engage and direct our social investments to such issues sustainably and in line with our strategic objectives.
The provision of quality Education, health, infrastructure among others are key considerations in our strategic vision.
Our belief is that creating a lasting impact on society matters more than profits we may make.
In realisation of impacts of a proper CSI strategy and need to better realise benefits of our philanthropy, we needed a more organised vehicle to drive this strategy.
This moved us to establish KPC Foundation, through which we seek to accelerate our social investments to communities and transform lives through implementation of impactful initiatives.
Further, a Foundation is critical for effective and centralised avenue to giving back to the society in an organised, systematic and targeted manner.
It has helped us in broadening the scope of our community support options which includes offering grants to during emergencies in form of disaster relief and economic hardships. — The writer is the KPC Managing Director. [email protected]