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Evolution of CSR: Sport's contribution to its relevance

Author: Tito
Copyrights: Tito

Evolution of CSR: Sport's contribution to its relevance

This decade has witnessed companies giving back to society using the vehicle of sports not just on a one day basis but over a long period of time.

Planting trees and donating foodstuffs to children orphanages in one day events has always dominated the corporate social responsibility eco system for many years. Firms seeking to undertake such activities do so as a reactionary deed to boost their image in the locales in which they serve.

Often seen as a form of cementing their online and offline visibility, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is considered an after-profit, after-thought.

However in recent years, Kenya has been able to witness a shifting paradigm where companies are beginning to embrace the “social good” in the long term.

Despite exiting the Kenyan market, Supersport’s Let Play initiative played a critical role in raising awareness about lifestyle diseases that the current generation of children living in urban areas are exposed to such as obesity and diabetes. They have conducted this through sports clinics. By partnering with top tier governing body the Kenyan Premier League, they conducted a series of sessions across the country to inspire children to take up sports, whether as a recreational activity or competitive activity.

In 2014, Barclays Bank of Kenya teamed up with Mathare Youth Sports Association to implement the Sports for Kenya Youth Project. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Mathare got an opportunity to gain vocational skills to boost their employability such as masonry and upon completion, they were placed.

On a technical point of view, such engagements with non-profit organisations have been a result of proper strategic planning with various stakeholders. In the sphere of sustainability, more than ever before, companies are encouraging project partners to explore other avenues of financing. This coming at a time when crowdfunding tools such as M-Changa are slowly being endorsed as a reliable instrument of fundraising.

The viability of long term community programmes initiated by for-profit institutions is crucial if they are to make any meaningful impact. Whether financially or technically, involved actors should be able to know the effects that their objectives have on the target beneficiaries when they conduct monitoring and evaluation. 

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 10:19