Africa’s First Shared Value Summit to Showcase a Future-Proof Business Strategy Holds

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THROUGHOUT Africa, businesses are adopting the Creating Shared Value, CSV, business model to ensure that society benefits while business profits. The concept, first shared with business leaders and marketers by Harvard Business School’s Prof Michael Porter in 2006, is gaining momentum and picking up traction – but not quickly and forcefully enough. For too long, companies have relied on CSR and CSI programmes to balance their focus on maximising profits. Shared Value is now challenging the status quo.

The first Africa Shared Value Summit will raise awareness and advocate for the strategic implementation of the Shared Value business model, which brings about social change while positively impacting profit. Companies who create Shared Value do so through the normal operation of their businesses; it is not an (often short-term) add-on limited by budget, but rather a future-proof business strategy for long-term gain. There are corporate  that are currently taking the lead in changing the face of capitalist business practice, but it is the social innovators who are really embracing the practice and reaping the rewards – financially and societally.

The Summit’s keynote speaker will be Marc Pfitzer, managing director of FSG, one of the world’s leading consultancies focusing on social change strategy and creating business models and strategies that lead to social impact. Speaking on the growth of Shared Value, Pfitzer is optimistic that business is starting to catch on: “If you look at the spread of the concept, and you look at the continued emergence of new companies who say ‘we’ve got a built-in purpose in our strategy’, it’s not just a communication-based tagline, it’s really about making different choices in our strategy. We keep on getting new companies coming into the fold, so the underlining movement is happening and is spreading all over the world.”

Pfitzer’s expertise spans numerous subjects, including Shared Value, collective impact, agricultural development, impact measurement, and the mechanics of collaboration. His influential articles “Innovating for Shared Value” and “The Ecosystem of Shared Value” were published in the Harvard Business Review in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Prior to the FSG, Pfitzer served as principal at The Boston Consulting Group, BCG, based in Zürich.

Doug Place, chief marketing officer of Nando’s, one of the Summit’s sponsors, has received more than 30 international and national marketing and advertising awards, including The Media “Top 40 Under 40” in 2014, and was recognised as one of Destiny Man Magazine’s 2015 ‘Young and Powerful’ industry leaders. Through the implementation of Shared Value principles, Nando’s has achieved major successes in the development and recognition of African artists and the fight against malaria.

Another speaker highlight is Barry Swartzberg, group executive director responsible for international strategy at Discovery. Discovery Health’s pioneering approach to incentivising people to be healthier is world-renowned. The impact of the adoption of a Shared Value strategy underpins the organisation’s global success and new business growth. Other high-profile speakers include Sanda Ojiambo, head of corporate responsibility at Safaricom, who will share her experience in multi-sectoral policy and development work throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and Maria Papetti, Head of Enel Holdings, who will speak on sustainability, renewable energy growth and social equality.

The Summit will also feature Shared Value trailblazers like Sara Saeed, winner of the UNICEF Global Goal Campaigner Award 2016, who will share insights into the doctHERS project in Pakistan.

Other participants include: Michelle Constant (CEO, BASA); Gordon Cook (Activist, Stir4Change); Zaakira Mahomed (Founder, Happy with a Purpose and Mina Cup), David Blyth (CEO, Yellowwood); Claire Reed (CIO, Reel Gardening); Genevieve Leveille (Co-Founder, 0TenTic8); Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga (UNEP Head, South Africa); and Thomas van Viegen (EY Associate Director: Climate Change and Sustainability Services).

Embracing CSV is the key to long-term sustainability, enabling businesses to survive and thrive in a changing business climate. Shift Social Development, the team of women behind the Summit headed by Tiekie Barnard, aims to create an annual platform where Shared Value practitioners can share their stories and influence businesses and brands in the creation of Shared Value, thus embodying the Shift Social Development mantra of profit with purpose.

Merck empowers Ugandan infertile women for the second year through ‘Merck More than a Mother’ in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health

Through ‘Empowering Berna’, Merck in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health inaugurates today small businesses that been established this year to support infertile women across the country

KAMPALA, Uganda, February 27, 2017/ —

Through ‘Empowering Berna’ project, “Merck More than a Mother” empowers infertile women socially and economically.

“Merck More than a Mother” aims to improve access to information, education, healthcare and change of mind-set to break the stigma around infertility.

Merck (www.MerckGroup.com), a leading science and technology company, today continues their commitment for the second year to empower infertile women in Uganda through improving access to information, health, change of mind-set and economic empowerment.

Through ‘Empowering Berna’, Merck in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health inaugurates today small businesses that been established this year to support infertile women across the country.

The day’s program also included a courtesy visit to Uganda’s First Lady H.E. Janet Museveni at State House, Kampala by the Merck delegation to brief her on the ‘Merck More than a Mother’ initiative and to explore possible areas of collaboration. The delegation consisted of H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady, Central African Republic; Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare; Virginie Baiokua, Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, Central African Republic; Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone; Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; and Lina Ekomo, Central African Republic.

Speaking at the event, Belén Garijo, Member of Executive Board and CEO of Merck Healthcare emphasized: “I believe in women empowerment and especially childless women – they are mistreated and discriminated in many cultures for being unable to have children and start a family. Empowering these women through access to information, health, and change of mind set to remove the stigma of infertility is needed. Through ‘Merck More than a Mother’ we are supporting this strong message together with our partners and we will continue our commitment to improve access to regulated and effective fertility care in Africa.”

“In Africa including Uganda, infertile women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. More often an inability to have a child or to become pregnant results in the woman being greatly isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This sometimes also results in divorce or physical and psychological violence. I am glad to see an initiative that addresses this challenge in the public domain in Africa as it is something that no one talks about and is treated as secret. ‘Merck More than a Mother’ is therefore very important for Africa since it aims to define interventions to reduce the stigma and social suffering of infertile women across the continent,” said, Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda.

Madame Brigitte Touadera, the First Lady of the Central African Republic (CAR) said: “I am very happy to participate in today’s launch another milestone of ‘Merck More than a Mother’ in Uganda as it follows the one we had for the Central African Republic (CAR) last month and in Kenya yesterday. As the champion for the initiative in CAR and for Francophone Africa, I acknowledge the social suffering infertile women go through and the role that ‘Merck More than a Mother’ is playing to eliminate this suffering and stigmatization by raising awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and the necessity of a team approach to family building among couples which is very critical for Africa.”

Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare explained: “Empowering those women across Ugandan rural villages was very essential, those women suffered great deal of discrimination, violence and isolation. Moreover meeting community members and leaders there to emphasize the importance to change their perception of infertility and infertile women in specific was very productive. I have witnessed firsthand the instant change of their mind-set and the transformation of those vulnerable childless women to strong, proud and productive community members.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lower levels of development are thought to be associated with higher levels of non-genetic and preventable causes of infertility such as poor nutrition, untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unsafe abortion, consequence of infections caused by the practice of female genital mutilation, exposure to smoking and to leaded petrol and other environmental pollutants. Hence prevention awareness is very important,” Sarah Opendi added.

“The businesses established by ‘Empowering Berna’ project are benefitting over 800 women in many districts in Uganda who have come together in groups and have been trained and supported to establish bakery, catering and tent hire businesses and more. They are currently able to earn an income to support themselves from their own new businesses – they are now ‘more than mothers’,” Rasha Kelej added.

Over 1,000 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, CAR, Ethiopia, Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through ‘Empowering Berna’.

The event in Uganda was attended by policy makers including ministers and fertility experts and included: Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda; Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone; Virginie Baikoua, Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, CAR; Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Fertility Society; Joe Simpson, Past President, International Federation of Fertility Societies; Paul Le Roux, President of Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy; Kamini Rao, Chair International Institute for Training & Research in Reproductive Health, India; and Mohamed Kamal, President of Future Assured Foundation, Nigeria.

Watch videos below of Ugandan women who are infertile and have been supported to start their own businesses through ‘Merck More than a Mother’s’ ‘Empowering Berna’ Project:

Merck More Than a Mother with Ugandan Women: https://youtu.be/NwptKwSagzg;

Merck More Than a Mother with Atieno Petwa: https://youtu.be/Ir_9SclIycs;

Merck More Than a Mother with Aketcho Mary: https://youtu.be/Ryq11JwQcfw;

Merck More Than a Mother with Alow Manzeliana: https://youtu.be/NkSMaH0ZELw;

Merck More Than a Mother with Atieno Jennifer: https://youtu.be/IQGafGwKJwg;

Merck More Than a Mother with Auma Rose: https://youtu.be/oZWlm15fV5g;

Merck More Than a Mother with Apio Jessica: https://youtu.be/4VrJGS93F5A;

Merck More Than a Mother with Rose Nyagol: https://youtu.be/K1066Po7S9Y.

Watch below the video of a Ugandan couple Byansi and Sawuya and their battle with infertility and how they sought fertility care together and got a baby:

Merck More Than a Mother with Byansi Adrian Ssemugga and Sawuya Ntongo, couple from Uganda: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNwVZ5MkNN0.

—  Feb 27, 2017 @ 17:30 GMT

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