Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of those phrases that has become highly recognised amongst established businesses almost as routine. I don’t believe it would take you long to think of a well-known brand with a well-known CSR campaign… perhaps Persil (Unilever) and its campaign to provide education for underprivileged children, Innocent Smoothies and their woolly hats campaign to provide warmth for the older generation struggling to pay for heat… I know you’ll be able to think of many others.
At this time, Covid-19 is robbing people around the world of their lives but also their livelihoods and whilst times are uncertain for business, CSR is one of the easiest items to remove from the budget.
Businesses are the life blood of any economy. They create jobs, build infrastructure, feed families, develop new technologies, pave the way out of poverty and make a sustainable future for us all. Kenya is no different. In Kenya, Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) contribute nearly 1/3 of the country’s GDP and make up about 98% of all registered businesses. They are the greatest contributor to employment in the country and they employ over 30% of Kenya’s youth population. Jobs from this sector equate to about 15.1 million or 83.4% of employment in the country (Statistics from the Economic Survey by Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)).
The Central Bank of Kenya has warned that ¾ of these businesses could fold by the end of June without support and with them will go the associated jobs. The Kenyan government now has an Economic Recovery Plan ready to go but it is unlikely to arrive in time for many SME’s and, although the lockdown is far from over in Kenya, they must start looking to the future and how they can re-build.
Businesses in the UK understand how much difference they make to our economy and the livelihoods of our communities and we need them. Kenya is no different. If you are a business with a CSR programme and your business is in a sector which has escaped damage and weathered the storm of lockdown, I encourage you not to cut CSR but to think instead about how you could re-allocate it to twin with a community whose businesses could never survive such a blow. Helping families back onto their feet and back into business will be an investment that keeps multiplying. The benefits will grow out into the community like ripples on a pond and the effects will be felt long after lockdown and Covid-19 have become a distant memory. If you would like to talk to us about CSR, please get in touch with our development manager to talk about a mutually beneficial partnership: