FirstBank Celebrates 2021 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week, Calls for All to Adopt Kindness as a Way of Life.
SaharaWeeklyNG Reports Concerning First Bank That The best definition of kindness is not one provided by any of the world’s best dictionaries but one demonstrated by how we treat others daily. Kindness is a universal language that does not require any special knowledge, exposure, skills, training, or background to understand and appreciate it as a beneficiary or observer of a kind act. Neither is any special knowledge or training required to show and extend it to others. Just as anyone and everyone can be shown acts of kindness, all persons without exception can and ought to show and extend acts of kindness to others. Kindness flows from deep within us, from the better angels of our nature. Hence, the common idiom “the milk of human kindness”.
This is probably the backdrop to the theme “Kindness…a Way of Life”, which FirstBank has chosen for the commemoration of its 2021 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week (CR&S Week). This year’s CR&S Week, scheduled to hold from 26th – 30th July 2021, will feature Kind Comments Days, visits to orphanages/fewer privilege homes, webinars focused on the kindness theme, SPARK school engagement among other activities – lined up for each of the days. The yearly CR&S Week is a dedicated week designed to offer FirstBank staff, customers and the public opportunities to demonstrate the milk of human kindness that flows in them and give their time and resources to defined causes. It seeks to amplify FirstBank’s innate culture of giving and volunteering as embodied in its Employee Giving and Volunteering programme.
The Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week was introduced in 2017 as part of the bank’s longstanding Employee Giving and Volunteering programme created to enable and encourage staff to give back to society through donations and volunteering. Specially designed to reignite acts of random kindness in the society with events that are tailored to reorient people towards the right values, it provides a veritable platform for encouraging the citizenry to intentionally create a positive impact in their immediate environment. One of the main highlights of the first CR&S Week was the SPARK Initiative. S.P.A.R.K stands for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. But originally the “S” stood for “Staff”. It was changed to “Start” to broaden the initiative beyond just staff and encourage everyone else to be part of the kindness brigade. Also, “P” originally stood for “Promoting” but was changed to “Performing” to convey the sense that participants are equally involved in actually doing kind acts and not only promoting kindness.
Held between 25 – 29 September 2017 with “Promoting Kindness: Putting You First” as the theme, the maiden CR&S Week was the first of its kind in Nigeria’s financial services industry. It highlighted the role FirstBank’s corporate citizenship interventions was playing in driving positive impact across various communities – all within one compact week. It was aimed at encouraging people everywhere to step out of their comfort zones, shift attention from themselves and their personal needs to others in society who have not been as fortunate as they have and perform a random act of kindness towards them. The first edition of the CR&S Week provided the opportunity for FirstBank staff to give their time and resources to promote acts of random kindness within their communities and contribute to the welfare and well-being of others through giving and visits to orphanages/homes of the less fortunate and internally displaced people (IDPs). Within the same week, the bank held career counselling sessions with secondary school students across the six geo-political regions in Nigeria with FirstBank staff coordinating the impactful sessions that inculcated the values of financial literacy and inclusion in young students. Also, staff had the opportunity to nominate beneficiaries they believe are deserving of random acts of kindness. Through this activity, Baby Ijeoma was nominated as one of the beneficiaries that received corrective heart surgery in India which was in partnership with the Vama Wave Foundation. The impact of the first edition went beyond Nigeria as FirstBank’s subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK also participated, benefitting people and at least 22 charities in six countries.
The second edition of the CR&S Week was held from 19 – 23 June 2018. Themed “Touching Lives: You First”, the 2018 Week was intended to demonstrate FirstBank brand promise to always put stakeholders first. It focused mainly on five key initiatives/activities. First was the launch of a partnership with VisionSpring to advance social impact by providing vision screening and affordable eyeglasses for 10,000 low-income earners. This aligned with the bank’s financial inclusion and financial literacy approach of promoting accessible and affordable financial products and services to disadvantaged groups to bring these marginalised populations into the mainstream economy, improving their chances for resilient livelihoods and financial stability. Second were giving and visits to orphanages/fewer privileged homes. This was the biggest platform for employee engagement during the week. It followed a needs assessment of the orphanages to be visited to enable employees to donate appropriate items, and employees responded generously, donating at a scale that had never been done before. In all, eight countries witnessed this initiative while more than 26 charities participated.
Celebration of the UN International Widows’ Day on 23rd June 2018, which coincided with the last day of the CR&S Week, was the third activity. Driven by the International Women’s Society (IWS) in Lagos with whom the bank partnered to organise an empowerment outreach for 500 widows in Lagos, it provided start-up capital and capacity building required to successfully run start-ups and small businesses, to the widows. The fourth was a Career Counselling Day for over 10,000 senior secondary school students, as part of the broader FutureFirst programme of the bank aimed at ensuring the youth are empowered to be financially independent through fulfilling careers and the right financial knowledge. Fifth and final was the SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) initiative, which included a SPARK Day set aside in the bank for people to act within their individual spheres of influence to promote kindness. The initiative also saw the bank receiving about 200 internal and external nominations of people deserving of kindness, out of which 24 beneficiaries were to emerge. The 2018 Week was marked across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones with two states from each zone, totalling 12 states in all. It was also commemorated in the six countries/markets outside Nigeria where FirstBank already had subsidiaries – the UK, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
In 2019, the CR&S Week was held from 1 – 6 July 2019 with the theme “Ripples of Kindness: Putting You First”. The theme was informed by the bank’s belief that every act of kindness (regardless of how little or in whatever form) ignites a ripple effect that goes on without end. The year’s CR&S Week focused mainly on the SPARK initiative, which had gained so much traction since its humble beginnings in 2017. A Kindness Manifesto for both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders was introduced. There were other new activities or initiatives. A Nice Comments Day was introduced and scheduled to hold on the first day of CR&S Week. The basis for it, according to the bank’s committee that oversaw the planning and implementation of the 2019 CRS Week, is the important place of words in the “kindness ecosystem”. The committee underlined this point when it noted as follows: “One of the truest reflections of how kind we are in our choice of words. That’s why we have created Nice Comments Day to help build a kinder world [through kind words].”
Another new initiative introduced in 2019 was the SPARK School Engagement, which involved launching the SPARK initiative in schools to promote the 3Cs projected as the pillars of kindness – Compassion, Civility and Charity. The schools – secondary schools across Nigeria – were to be visited to educate students on acts of kindness, encouraging them to make kindness a lifestyle. A crowd-funding initiative was also added in 2019 to enable both employees and external stakeholders to donate to defined humanitarian causes, such as supporting widows, sending children (from indigent homes) to school and providing health care for the physically challenged and the old. As of August 2019, nearly N7 million had been raised through the crowd-funding initiative.
The regular initiatives/activities were also retained in 2019. There were visits to orphanages/fewer privileged homes. Widows’ empowerment was organised in collaboration with the International Women’s Society (IWS), Nigeria to empower a select number of widows across Nigeria. The implementation in Nigeria covered the six geopolitical zones with activities held in four states per zone, amounting to 24 states in all. Six subsidiaries of FirstBank also implemented the programme in their markets/countries – UK, Ghana, DRC, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal. In all, 25 schools benefitted with 6,000 students participating in terms of the School Engagement; 50 charities and NGOs, including Leap Africa and IWS, were partnered. Over 20,000 orphans/fewer privileged people including widows were reached and impacted.
No CR&S Week could take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions on public gatherings and visits. But FirstBank did not just fold its hand and sit idly. The bank did something absolutely amazing, demonstrating uncommon solidarity with a vulnerable segment of society – children. Realising that the harsh effects of the COVID-19 crisis were borne disproportionally by children, whose education and thus future was being endangered due to the lockdown and prolonged closure of schools, FirstBank embarked on a mission to do something about it. Working with partners, such as IBM, UNESCO, Robert & John, Curious Learning and the Lagos State Government, it launched the bold and ambitious e-Learning Initiative designed to move one million children onto safe online learning platforms. The Initiative was to minimise the disruption to children’s education, ensuring that they remained fully engaged during the difficult period and are not left behind by their peers across the (developed) world. There are already over 150,000 students benefitting from the e-Learning initiative in the height of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the Bank deployed communication material to create more awareness of the SPARK Initiative and to sensitize staff, customers and the public during unprecedented times.
What greater demonstration of kindness could there have been in 2020 given the circumstances the whole world found itself, especially vulnerable children? So there may not have been a CR&S Week in 2020 but the same kindness narrative that has characterised all activities of the various CR&S Week since 2017 clearly shone through FirstBank’s COVID-19 response, especially its e-Learning Initiative. In future, people would probably easily be forgiven if they assumed the e-Learning Initiative represented FirstBank’s CR&S Week in 2020. FirstBank has demonstrated uncommon consistency over the years to its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week and the ideals it seeks to project through the platform. This has earned the bank the right to make the bold call that is the theme of this year’s CR&S Week.
The question is whether we will heed the clarion call to adopt kindness as a way of life. Will we go out there and extend kindness to others in ways that will make them realise that kindness is not just a word taken from the dictionary but an act that should always be expressed to others? Will we embrace kindness as our new way of life? Will we commit to making our every day a Kind Comments Day, thus giving others permission and the strength to do the same? Will we Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness towards all and make them feel obligated to start acting kindly towards other people as their new lifestyle?
Culled from Nigerian Tribune
Wonderland Lagos 2022: The Most Exciting Holiday Experience To Storm Lagos Nigeria Balmoral Group and Octoplus Marketing Group in partnership with CEC unveils
Wonderland Lagos 2022: The Most Exciting Holiday Experience To Storm Lagos Nigeria Balmoral Group and Octoplus Marketing Group in partnership with CEC unveils
Wonderland Lagos is made up of four villages, all existing solely to deliver an overwhelming holiday experience of excitement and delight to guests. These villages include Qatar Live in Wonderland Lagos, Christmas in Wonderland, Wonder X and Wonderland Market all in one venue, Eko Energy City.
At the unveiling/launch of Wonderland, which took place at Eko Energy City, Lagos, Co-founder Wonderland and CEO Balmoral Group, Ezekiel Adamu explained that Wonderland Lagos is out to be an enchanting experience for guests during the fun-filled festive season. He also pointed that the four different villages otherwise known as ‘Four wonders’ delivers its own unique experience to every cadre of guests as it cuts across the different age, gender, and social group. “The different villages makes a wholesome experience for every individual; from the kids to the teens, young adults and even our mummies and daddies, everyone is definitely catered for in Wonderland Lagos”, he said.
According to Vinni, Wonderland Lagos – the city that never sleeps would open doors to guests on 1st of December 2022 and run various activities across all four villages till January 2nd, 2023. “This is the biggest, never seen holiday experience coming to Lagos with this maiden edition and take on Africa at large”, he added.
The event which saw the attendance of HNIs and celebrities amongst which is Chimwemwe Chalemera, Country Director, Department for International Trade, British High Commission Lagos who showed her support and that of the commission towards Wonderland Lagos 2022. “The project is a really exciting one, as a Department for International Trade, one of our focus is to increase trade and investment between UK and Nigeria, and one of the sectors we are looking at is the creative sector and we have really done a lot in that sector, and we are really excited to see how we can get involved in this and support the success of Wonderland”, she said.
In the spirit of giving a unique experience to its guests, Wonderland Lagos would be using its own currency- Flakes. Each flake is equivalent to the naira value, and this would be the currency for every activity/payment in the Wonderland. Also, in contributing to the hospitality for visitors, particularly tourist and travellers from other states to the city, a tower of 110 fully furnished apartments of different specifications is ready and available to receive guests.
Wonderland Lagos is brought together by Balmoral Group, Octoplus Marketing Group, in partnership with Creative Economic Catalysts (CEC), Magic Moments Entertainment and MTV Base and Nickelodeon. With, Soundcity, TVC, Arise News, Max FM, Beat FM, Cool FM as official media partners and supported by Lagos State Government.
DANGOTE WINS ECOWAS’ MANUFACTURING BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARD
DANGOTE WINS ECOWAS’ MANUFACTURING BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARD
…Cement, Sugar win Brands of the Decade
Africa’s largest business conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited has been adjudged the Outstanding Indigenous Conglomerate of the Decade, carting home eight different Economic Community of West African States Manufacturing Excellence Awards (EMEA) in the process.
In the same vein, two subsidiaries of the Conglomerate, Dangote Cement Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc also received awards of the renowned Marketing Edge magazine’s Brands of the Decade.
While the EMEA awards were given by the Nigeria’s Daily Independent Newspaper and its BusinessDay Ghana counterpart, the Brand of the Decade for Dangote Group subsidiaries were received at the 10th edition of the leading brand magazine, Marketing Edge’s 2022 Summit and Award Night themed “Technological explosion in the digital Age – Imperatives for the marketing communications industry”, which held in Lagos.
It was a gale of accolades as the Dangote brand was named number one brand by all standards with its Sugar and Cement brands as the two brands, which company has contributed tremendously to the infrastructure development not only in Nigeria but Africa in the last 10 years.
Speaking at the event, Mr. John Ajayi, Publisher/CEO of Marketing Edge Publications described this year’s awards as one with a special attraction and uniqueness, designed to reboot, restart and re-energise the social, intellectual and entrepreneurial landscape of the Nigerian Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC).
While eulogising the management of Dangote Group for the business strategy that has helped in positioning the brand well ahead of others in the industry, he explained that the award event was organised to “celebrate the best and brightest brands”
According to him, the award to Dangote brands are in recognition of its leadership and domination in the various market segments and categories, adding that the recognised brands are brands that “continue to make the Nigerian consumers happy and satisfied”.
The Marketing Edge publisher, while giving the business trajectory of the past 19 years, saluted the various winners and their managements for their roles in making Nigeria proud, citing an instance of how Dangote Cement and Dangote Sugar have made Nigeria self-sufficient in cement and sugar production.
In his response to the new awards, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, Group Chief, Branding & Communications Officer, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), said the Group’s brand remains at the forefront of African enterprise and that the brand, since inception, has touched the lives of many by providing their basic needs.
Expressing gratitude to the management of Marketing Edge publications for the recognition, Mr. Chiejina explained that consumers are loyal to brands that are purposeful and that is “why we have designed a strategy that creates that purpose.” “Because we understand the power of brands, we have positioned all our businesses to be consumer-centric so that it can inspire millions of people behind it”, Mr. Chiejina stated.
The ECOWAS awards won by the company included ECOWAS Manufacturing Company of the Year; ECOWAS Manufacturing Company CEO of the Year; ECOWAS Manufacturing CSR Company of the Year; ECOWAS Cement Manufacturing Company of the Year; ECOWAS Sugar Manufacturing Company of the Year; ECOWAS Salt Manufacturing Company of the Year and ECOWAS Fertiliser Manufacturing Company of the Year.
The awards won during the Marketing Edge Magazine’ 2022 summit included Outstanding Indigenous Conglomerate won by the Dangote Industries Limited, and Cement Brand of the Decade and Sugar Brand of the Decade.
DANGOTE BOOSTS ABUJA TRADE FAIR
DANGOTE BOOSTS ABUJA TRADE FAIR
The Dangote Group has been described as a significant premium player as over 300 corporate exhibitors are participating in the 17th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) that is expected to be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
Speaking to newsmen, the Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ms. Victoria Akai said: “As a member of ACCI, the Dangote Group further strengthens the position of ACCI in implementing business activities and advocating for business-friendly policies.
”The DG said the Dangote-ACCI partnership is strategic and geared towards showcasing made-in-Nigeria products, which will help inform prospective exporters about the available opportunities and processes.
Ms. Akai said the company had been a significant sponsor of the Abuja International Trade Fair, including this year’s Trade Fair. In the same vein, the President of ACCI, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, told newsmen that the theme for this year’s exhibition: “Creating an Export Ready Market through SMEs Digitization,” offers a wide range of opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises to ginger their performance, and especially in relation to the non-oil sector.
He said: “The Abuja International Trade Fair, since its inception, has served Nigeria as a trusted global trade destination and a potential market for over 50,000 consumers.”
The 17th AITF is scheduled to hold between Friday, September 30 and Sunday, October 9, 2022, at ACCI Abuja International Trade Fair Complex.
The Dangote Group’s Executive Director of Government and Strategic Relations Engr Mansur Ahmed said the partnership with ACCI offers the company the opportunity to display its numerous innovative products while contributing its quota to the Nigerian economy through Trade Fairs and expos.
He said the President of the Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote is passionate about developing the Nigerian economy, exporting made-in-Nigerian goods, earning foreign exchange, and creating jobs for the populace. Engr Ahmed said the company is desirous of entering into any strategic partnership that will set the country on the path of rapid growth and development.
Aside government, the Dangote Group is the second biggest employer of labour in Nigeria.
A statement by the Corporate Communications Department of the company said a special help desk has been set up at the company’s pavilion to respond to queries while urging participants to leverage the numerous innovative products which include the: Dangote Fertiliser, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, Dangote Salt, and lots more.
AFCFTA: DANGOTE TO BOLSTER AFRICA’S EARNINGS
As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) implementation commences, experts say the continent is in a privileged position considering the Dangote Group’s huge international investment portfolio.
Pundits say Dangote Group has positioned its subsidiaries as multinational conglomerates which have continued to play a pivotal role in the industrialization of Africa.
The multi-billion naira Dangote Cement Plc, for instance, has a presence in over ten African countries, while the newly incorporated Dangote Fertiliser and oil refinery are capable of mitigating the continent’s shortfall in foreign earnings.
The Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ms. Victoria Akai said the Dangote Group has been a pacesetter in manufacturing while boosting Nigeria and Africa’s earnings.
She said: “The founder Alhaji Aliko Dangote is a visionary leader and has led the Group to become one of the leading brands in Africa and the world, which is a pride to every Nigerian.”
According to her, the company is one of the biggest and most strategic partners of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
The 17th Abuja International Trade Fair is scheduled to hold between Friday, September 30, and Sunday, October 9, 2022, at the ACCI Abuja International Trade Fair Complex. Dangote Group is the major sponsor of the 17th edition of the Abuja International Trade Fair, which seeks to deepen trade across Africa.
Speaking on the role of small-scale industries, the DG of ACCI said with the heightened interest in the African market, coupled with the implementation of the AfCFTA, Nigeria is in a privileged position given the role of the Dangote Group and many other big companies.
She added that Nigeria has enormous potential for export considering the number of SMEs.
According to her: “SMEs represent about 96% of the business fabric and generate over 70%of employment while contributing to about 48% of Nigeria’s GDP, making them the engine of Nigeria’s economy and playing a vital role in the economic recovery.”
The AFCFTA, established in 2018, is a free trade area comprising of most African countries as signatories, making it the largest free trade area by number and second only to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under the agreement, parties are committed to eliminating tariffs on most goods and services, as well as eliminating other impediments to free trade.
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