Social Welfare Case Studies
Olam has long recognised the imperative to support the well-being of the communities in emerging economies where our business operates. Communities are central to the decision-making process for social investment projects based on their immediate needs and can range through education, health and rural infrastructure.
In terms of health, we support health awareness and training, and in remote locations we construct physical facilities and employ staff to deliver health services. In education, we focus on primary education to help eradicate child labour, as well as vocational training focused on youths to develop their employment opportunities.
HIV/AIDS and Health Programmes – World AIDS Day
In December, World AIDS Day kicked off a four year global AIDS campaign themed, “Getting to Zero“… that is, zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. The campaign ambitiously seeks to unite the global community to bring about universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care. In support of Getting to Zero, Olam successfully held ten HIV/AIDS programmes across Africa, contributing US$142,000 to demonstrate our commitment to this important global initiative. Six of these programmes acted to initiate longer-term, comprehensive HIV interventions for employees, farmers and rural community members. Together, our World AIDS Day and long-term HIV/AIDS efforts this year will reach over 185,000 people…many more than ever before.
Our events included a wide array of activities with the common thread being awareness raising on prevention and treatment and also education to reduce stigmatisation. There were addresses given by prominent local leaders, entertainment-education activities such as dramatic and musical performances, radio programmes and advertisements plus the distribution of thousands of HIV/AIDS leaflets. We also provided other important support services such as voluntary testing and counseling, health check-ups, links to medical assistance, distribution of thousands of male and female condoms and blood donation services.
Three events were held in Mozambique, two events each in Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire and single events in Tanzania, Cameroon and Ghana. For Cameroon and Ghana, this was their first World AIDS Day commemoration, and it didn’t go unnoticed. In Ghana, a cotton farmer participating in our integrated programme said, “I thought Olam was like other cotton companies. Now that it kick started its commitment to us cotton farmers, I’m convinced that my cotton production will increase next season since I trust that all benefits will be shared with us by Olam.” Read the programme highlights to the right.
Honduras – investing in coffee communities through education support
Following our successful campaign last year, when we issued school bag kits to support children in rural primary schools within coffee producing communities, we have repeated this important programme. This year we have issued 3,000 school bags with notebooks, pens, pencils and other necessary school items to children between the ages of six and ten.
Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions
Olam is a lead partner in the Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions (ECHOES) programme – a World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and national governments’ education initiative. The programme aims to strengthen cocoa growing communities by expandingopportunities for youth and young adults through primary education supported by educational specialists. It is funded by the cocoa industry and USAID.Measured progress over the past three years – focused on rural populations:
4,850 in-school and 404 out-of-school youths receiving vocational agriculture training
250 family support scholarships awarded
7,215 pre-service and in-service teachers and administrators trained within the primary school networks
9 teacher and 3 community resource centres established
1,523 adults received functional literacy training
This programme aims to develop a scalable model for primary and vocational education in rural West Africa. Building on this approach Olam, supported by the WCF educational advisors, has led the construction of three primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire this year under the Olam Livelihood Charter social investment principle.
Supporting community health investments
Communities are central to the decision-making process for infrastructure investment that can range from education to health and rural infrastructure. This year two communities have requested social investments specific to health, so we have invested in two direct community health facilities, in Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire. In Gabon, for example, we have built a community health facility which offers direct care covering all basic requirements and also gives the community direct access to maternal and child care. National government also supports these facilities through the provision of staff and resources.