Strategic CSI is defined as CSI that has positive developmental, as well as business impact (beyond reputational impact). The Trialogue Strategic CSI Award, which recognises projects that exemplify best practice in strategic CSI in South Africa, was presented to Singita in 2015, for their cooking school in the Kruger National Park. At The Trialogue Conference, held in Bryanston on 24 and 25 May 2016, human resource and community development director for Singita, Pam Richardson, presented the project to delegates.

Singita School of Cooking

“The challenge we encountered when we opened in 2004 was finding entry-level chefs,” said Pam. They took over an army base kitchen and set up the Singita School of Cooking, taking in 10 students at a time, from two villages in Mpumalanga near the game reserve. “Once qualified, we help them with placements if we have no vacancies in our kitchen. Finding them a permanent placement is a measure of our success. And our food quality has gone up with professional chefs learning in our kitchen,” says Richardson.

“The Singita School of Cooking was the strongest applicant because alignment was embedded in the initiative. It adds value to the whole experience of the guests, who can interact with the chef, and will come back to spend more money, allowing the company to employ more people and train more chefs,” said Anthony Wilson-Prangley, judge and member of the full-time faculty at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

He added that the ecosystem of the project was broader than the organisation itself. “Chefs are employed at competitors, building up the strength of the whole area.”

Companies are invited to enter their CSI projects for the next Trialogue CSI Award, before 29 July 2016: