How Safaricom Foundation is touching lives in the most rural parts of Kenya
Change for good is something almost each and every one of us would like to create, but for the most part, we all want to instantly create overarching change that has an immediate and transformative influence of global proportion. We all want to make everyone a good person, get rid of corruption in our political leadership, and pray climate change away. Although these are noble desires, we hardly ever have the capacity to miraculously change how society works. The best we can always do is to put a smile on someone’s face one soul at a time – and this is something Safaricom has been doing since 2013 through the Safaricom Foundation.
Safaricom Foundation was established in 2013 with the objective of contributing toward helping the most vulnerable in the society that reached out to Safaricom for help. Ever since its establishment, Safaricom Foundation has been able to impact over 5 million lives in the 47 counties through 2,773 projects that it has funded to date – projects that have cost the foundation Kshs 3.5 billion so far.
Most of the projects that Safaricom Foundation engage in are projects that are targetting those who are truly in need. For example, in the month of July alone, Safaricom Foundation has already financed 8 projects that have included the donation of lab equipment at St. Hilarius Nyabondo in Kisumu county, donation of maternity equipment for Esani Sub-county hospital in Kitutu Saba, Nyamira county, stocking the libraries of St. Peters Musikoma and Bukusu Primary Schools in Bungoma county in partnership with Zizi Afrique Foundation through the Accelerated Learning Programme, donation of water harvesting systems in three schools in Homabay and Kisii counties through the Safaricom Foundation’s #NdotoZetuUwezoWetu programme, donation of sewing machines to a youth group in Vihiga, and donation of maternity equipment in Busia also through #NdotoZetuUwezoWetu programme.
The programmes funded by Safaricom Foundation are programmes that are strategically placed to solve societal problems in Health, Education, Environmental Conservation, Economic Empowerment, Water, Disaster Relief, and Arts and Culture . In education, Safaricom has donated lab equipment, computers and books to select schools, constructed abulition blocks in schools such as Kibutio Primary School in Nyeri county, and renovation of classrooms in schools for disabilities such as Kathungi Primary School in Kitui county. In public health, Safaricom Foundation has donated water harvesting equipment aimed at ensuring the public is able to use clean water for cooking and drinking, and in healthcare, Safaricom Foundation continues to donate hospital equipment for maternity care and general health in several hospitals across the country.
Through the #NdotoZetuUwezoWetu programme, Safaricom Foundation has been able to provide income-generating opportunities to hundreds of women and youth groups across the country. For example, two self-help groups in Nakuru benefitted from the #NdotoZetuUwezoWetu initiative after Safaricom Foundation donated sewing machines, and yet another group in Kawangware Nairobi received car wash equipment to help them wash more cars at their car wash.
Safaricom Foundation can therefore be said to have been one of the foundations that have had the greatest impacts on Kenyan society, more impact than International Organisations that operate locally. This is because Safaricom Foundation targets real problems and offers real solutions that the 5 million Kenyans who have benefited from the foundation can directly point fingers at.
Safaricom Foundation has therefore not only shown how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ought to be conducted but has also set the pace for NGOs and other corporates to catch up to. Going forward, however, it would be nice to see Safaricom Foundation tackling large enough projects that can improve thousands of lives at a go. For example, the foundation could construct brand new schools in areas without schools and hand over the school to the government, put up boreholes or dams that can serve a community of 500, or build brand new hospitals in communities without access to health facilities. I believe that projects that benefit hundreds and thousands of residents of a community at a go would be more impactful compared to projects that target tens of individuals at a time.