Getting involved in the community is a great way for any organization to build relationships and boost visibility and brand awareness. Whether it’s by sponsoring or taking part in community programs, or by enabling employee volunteerism, companies that encourage involvement in the community stand out among their peers and see multiple benefits as a result, such as a happier workforce, peaceful operations or a more loyal customer base.
In Nigeria, indigenous companies have impressively taken the charge in championing community development projects. A good example is the Energia / Oando Joint Venture (JV) social impact initiatives in its host community of Kwale, Delta State.
Since it began its operations in Kwale in 2010, Oando and its JV partner adopted a sustainable model of establishing Memorandums of Understanding with all its host communities in Delta state, through which three per cent of its gross revenue is set aside for the development of host communities and managed by two trust boards comprising experienced professionals from the community, the government and the JV.
One of such initiatives is the recently concluded its three-day community medical outreach in Kwale, themed ‘Health is Wealth’. The initiative is the JV partners’ first-ever medical outreach in Kwale, Ndokwa West Council Area of Delta State where it operates the Ebendo/Obodeti marginal field, OML 56. The event commenced at the Ebendo Health Centre and proceeded to Obodougwa, Isumpe, Umusadege, Umusam and Ugbani communities in Kwale.
To reiterate the importance of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to its company, Mr. Babafemi Onasanya, General Manager, Sub Surface, representing the Chief Operating Officer, Ainojie Irune, of Oando Petroleum Development Company said, “As a JV we believe that it is important to impact these communities positively. We want to show, through leading by example that you can be proudly indigenous, profitable and at the same time make the world a better place. We must deliberately always give back to our own.”
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The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Central Hospital, Kwale, Dr. Gabriel Abanum, representing the Delta state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emordi Ononye in his remarks said “It is commendable that Energia/Oando JV is partnering with its host communities in pursuit of the WHOSDG3, which includes grassroots healthcare provision for all. The development tallies with the state government’s investment in the health sector like free maternal care, free care for all under-five-year-olds. The initiative is also in tandem with government’s free HIV screening and treatment and the health contributory commission, where all civil servants registered to assess care free of charge. The state has even gone further to accommodate those from the informal sector to give residents a full complement of health all year round.” He further described the relationship between the company and Emu-Ebendo as a model to be emulated.
The medical outreach is aimed at achieving the World Health Organization Sustainable Development Goals 3 (WHOSDG3), in providing access to basic healthcare to its communities. Initiatives based in communities can have widespread effects. Not only can they transform the communities in which they are located, but they can act as seedbeds for similar programs elsewhere.
It is noteworthy that Oando and its JV partner is among few Nigerian indigenous companies, actively collaborating with the public sector in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through CSR projects.
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Speaking further at the event Mr. Babafemi Onasanya said, “Like the popular saying goes, health is wealth. Without people of fit mind and body and an effective health system, our economic growth as a nation would be jeopardized. Good health cannot and should not be taken for granted, it is like a well-run savings account; it will work for you in your time of need. Good health is the desire of every man, woman and child. The Energia and Oando JV understand the value of good health and as good corporate citizens we have prioritized the health of our host and impacted community members.” He said; This five-day medical outreach serves as the Joint Venture’s way of supporting the community, the State and indeed the country in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. We are confident that this medical outreach will significantly help contribute to improving access to quality health care for the people of Kwale and surrounding communities.
The Managing Director of Energia Limited, Leste Aihevba, during his speech said, “In furtherance of our support and commitment to our hosts and impacted communities, we will seek collaboration with the Delta State Government, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other NGOs for upgrading the Kwale Central Hospital into a fully functional referral hospital. In that capacity, it will provide improved health care delivery services to communities in Ndokwa West Council Area and its environs, a situation that will reduce if not totally eliminate the stress of travelling to Warri, Asaba or Benin for medical care.”
Dr. Abanum also described the community as a well-organized community structured to engender peace for businesses to thrive, saying, “Any community that is not peaceful will embrace chaos, which will be detrimental to the development they should otherwise be enjoying.
This has been demonstrated by the leadership of Ebendo– the Okpala-Uku, President-General and the Community Development Committee (CDC), who are all present here with the entire community to embrace this event.”
In a closing remark, the President General, Emu Ebendo Community, Mr. Friday Ozobeme said, “Let me use this forum to appeal to the oil and gas companies operating in Ndokwa West Local Government Area to take a cue from Energia Limited by supporting their host and impacted communities through CSR activities.”