A business development expert, Mr Fatai Afolabi, has solicited sustainable corporate social responsibility projects among corporate entities for steady community development.
Afolabi, the managing consultant at Foremost Development Services Ltd., said this at a training programme he convened for the management of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc. and members of its neighbouring communities on Friday at Okomu, near Benin.
According to him, effective and sustainable corporate social responsibility is based on prioritised community needs which is also based on an inclusive and participatory approach in deciding the projects to be executed.
He noted that to ascertain the prioritised needs of the communities for implementation, it was essential for a study to assess the needs of the communities, review the company’s corporate social responsibility programme and recommend the projects of priority.
He explained that when the agreements of the needs assessment were faithfully implemented, “it eliminates restiveness, suspicion and acrimony to stimulate industrial harmony”.
In his presentation, Dr Joseph Ahmadu from Foremost Development Services Ltd., explained that the essence of the training was to improve the relationship between Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc. and its host communities.
“It will help to identify and prioritise the needs that the company should focus on to increase the quality of lives in the communities.
“The inclusive and participatory nature of the study will make the communities to have a sense of belonging on the projects.
“The interest of the communities will be met, they will be satisfied, there will be increase in income, food security, health, education, skills and social life of the community members,” he said.
Representatives of the participating communities applauded the training programme and urged Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc. to carry everybody along.
Mr Madoku Rufus from Owan community, said “we commend this training because it will give us the opportunity to express our desire in term of want.
“We also want to plead that projects should be awarded to competent experts for excellent execution of projects that will stand the test of time”.
Also, Mr Austin Enabulele, representing the Edo State Civil Society Organisation, who attended the training as an observer, said “this training is part of our recommendation during a similar programme a few weeks ago”.
Mr Fidelis Olise, the Head of Communications, Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc., said that his company had always ensured it carried out corporate social responsibility to their communities in line with the known best practices as a multinational firm.
“We ensure that representatives from communities are spread across concerned groups such the executive members, youths, women and elders for a wider and more inclusive consultation”, he said.
He said that no fewer than 287 indigent students across the 29 host communities had benefited from the company’s bursary award policy in the nine years, among other social responsibility projects.(NAN)