Driving economic revival

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

One of Sowetan's Nation-building partners in the Community Builder of the Year Awards, the Old Mutual Foundation, is a key driver of economic and social development in South Africa.

Also sponsored and organised by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the nine provincial social services departments, the Community Builder of the Year Awards give recognition to men and women who unselfishly give of their time and talent to improve the quality of life for others in their communities.

"As a leading investment and savings champion the Old Mutual Foundation drives economic and social transformation, with corporate social investment (CSI) an integral part of that agenda," Andile Ncontsa, the head of the Old Mutual Foundation, said this week.

Ncontsa said the Old Mutual Foundation sought to invest in South Africa's economic success by contributing to the local economic development of vulnerable communities through creating jobs and transferring skills.

"Old Mutual also seeks to integrate its employees into the social fabric of the communities in which it does business through our staff volunteerism programme," Ncontsa said.

Ncontsa said the Old Mutual Foundation's flagship corporate social investment and responsibility programmes included enterprise development, skills development and training, supporting local corporate gift practitioners, education and training, and volunteerism.

"Our flagship programme in enterprise development is small-scale farming, which is driven by the Organic Farms Group, a management and mentorship training organisation," Ncontsa said.

"It addresses the needs of small farmers throughout South Africa, from infrastructure, technical skills and access to markets, to enabling them to become major role players in the mainstream economy."

As an illustration, Ncontsa said, other projects linked to the enterprise development programme, such as the "sustainable village bakeries", were now producing bread "and other products 24 hours a day in the most remote rural areas to supply customers such as the school feeding schemes".

"We also support local corporate gift practitioners through the Corporate Gift Warehouse, or Gift, which is a joint initiative of the Cape Craft and Design Institute and Old Mutual," he said.

"Gift facilitates the trade of hand-made corporate gifts to the public and private sector, nurturing these craft makers into individuals and groups with business savvy.

"Gift gives companies and organisations an opportunity to replace mass-produced, imported corporate gifts with unique and beautifully handcrafted local products that preserve our heritage."

Ncontsa said other enterprise development linked projects included Umcebo Crafts, Legends and Bethesda Foundation, which, like Gift, are centred around skills training to supply quality hand-made South African products for local and overseas markets.