Inspired by the African term for the universal concept of ubuntu – a shared humanity – since 2004, the Clover Mama Afrika initiative has fostered a spirit of caring, protection of vulnerable groups and the development and transfer of income-generating skills in low-income communities across South Africa.
Project ambassadors or ‘mamas’ are women who have already positively impacted their communities and who are passionate about empowering others to become self-sufficient. These women are trained with skills such as cooking, baking, sewing, crafts, haircare, welding, food gardening and business and financial management, and are then required to pass these skills onto others in their communities. They also receive the necessary equipment and infrastructure to create local industry centres, based on their honed skills.
When comparing the investment in Clover Mama Afrika since the project’s inception, to the income that project participants have generated, return on investment stands at 116%. Over 30 blue chip partners have joined the project, which has contributed to its success. Site visits are conducted regularly to ensure the smooth running and sustainability of the centres. Clover staff are kept informed about the project through the InCLOVER newsletter and have the option of getting involved, helping to boost staff morale and cultivating a sense of community.
FEEDBACK FROM THE JUDGES
The key question is how this project links to the core business objective. At the obvious level, there is a focus on cooking and baking in which milk is a core ingredient. At a deeper level, Clover is representative of a vast agricultural industry with deep rural roots where far more work opportunities are afforded to men than women. Thus, the project addresses a gender issue, an economic issue and, moreover, a social issue in relation to wellbeing realised through participation in enterprises. Further, the project is a mature one and is recognised by numerous partners to the dairy industry, thus enhancing its impact.
This entry was the best example of developmental CSI, with some excellent leveraging to ensure appropriate company benefits in the form of employee engagement, strengthening of client relationships, BEE and brand development.
“Sewing has always been a great passion for me and I was proud to have been trained through the Clover Mama Afrika project. All the hard work has enabled me to start on my own and, with the support of Clover Mama Afrika, I can only grow from strength to strength”.