With a mission to enhance socioeconomic growth in Rwanda, Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) recognizes the call for action to embrace and implement comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Definitively, CSR is “the commitment of businesses to behave ethically and contribute to sustainable economic development through working with relevant stakeholders to improve lives in ways that are good for business, the sustainable development agenda, and society at large” as defined by the World Bank.
Owing to the above, BRD has prioritized CSR initiatives with an overarching need to give back to society with an intended outcome of improving the welfare of the Rwandan community. Against the backdrop, BRD set aside almost 50% of its marketing budget to bankroll the bank’s intervention in social support projects for the year 2013. Areas of interest to BRD’s social support besides being divergent bear a common attribute of their potential to induce socioeconomic transformation. Major interventions have been in Health, Education, capacity building, environment and the private sector development.
During the course of 2013, the bank registered significant community investments (voluntary donations and sponsorships) in support of initiatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and institutions involved in health, education, sports and culture. Besides positively impacting society, the CSR undertakings strengthened BRD’s relations with its various stakeholders. Commonly, the bank’s interventions were driven by the need to reduce poverty thus all the undertakings of the aforementioned period looked at projects that presented potential to improve the livelihood of Rwanda’s poorest and disadvantaged members.
Key CSR activities in 2013
The initiatives that received support from the bank are scattered across the various sectors of interest and a few outstanding ones are detailed in the subsequent paragraphs.
Support to Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa in Ulinzi campaign
The Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa (BCIEA) organizes month-long campaigns aimed at encouraging women to regularly test and take preventive measures against breast cancer. The awareness campaigns kicked-off on September 29th 2013 with the Ulinzi Walk (‘Ulinzi’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘protect’) and were aimed at helping to spread the word that early detection can save a life. On October 5th a fundraising dinner campaign where breast cancer survivors, artistes, and various stakeholders were in attendance, was held at Kigali Serena Hotel and proceeds were directed towards BCIEA initiatives to support breast cancer patients and survivors. BRD was among major contributors.
Social welfare interventions that have born smiles on crying faces
In similar efforts of supporting projects geared towards poverty reduction and improvement of standards of living for numerous Rwandan, the Development Bank of Rwanda supported social transformational projects including these listed below.
BRD made a financial contribution worth Rwf34.8 million to UNITY Club towards the construction of decent housing (composed of 4 Units each valued at Rwf 8.7 million) for orphans under– “Turemere abana bacu, tubahe umuryango n’urukundo.”
The Bank donated 5 Diary Milk cows worth Rwf5 million to Komera Center.
Komera Center (Education and Rehabilitation for Life Centre) was started by Father Murenzi Eugene in Mushubati Parish, Rutsiro District in the Western Province and supports 173 children and adults.
It has as a main objective supporting handicapped children who include the deaf, mentally disabled, traumatized and orphaned).
After assessment, BRD donated 5 Dairy Cows in support of KOMERA Centre’s modern dairy farm project which will enable them generate revenue to make the centre self-sustainable and provide milk for the 117 vulnerable members.
On November 30 2013, BRD donated iron sheets worth Rwf30million to Rwandans evicted from Tanzania who are temporarily camping in Kirehe District in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. A cheque was handed over to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), Ruvebana Antoinne following communal activity involving BRD staff at the Kiyanzi camp where efforts were made to clean and improve the standards of living in the area.
Respect for history, constructing the future
Unlike many other countries, Rwanda had a troubled past which included the Genocide of 1994 against the Tutsi. The catastrophic happening left many devastated lives and cost the country strong citizens who were contributing to its growth. Healing the wounds of the genocide entails supporting the wellbeing of those hurt and unlike other places where similar catastrophes happened, in Rwanda, almost the entire population were victims of the genocide.
Those who did not lose loved ones to it in one way or the suffered in its aftermath while the entire country was setback in its development agenda. Therefore for an institution like BRD which equally lost staff during the 100 days of darkness, supporting Rwandans to stand strong in the ashes of the world’s worst genocide is a priority. In light to the above, during the 19th commemoration of the genocide against Tutsi, BRD engaged in numerous activities including; refurbishing the Karama Genocide Memorial, paid health insurance for 100 genocide survivors on the mutual health insurance scheme of Rwanda, and supported a sewing association of 25 members most of who are orphans and widows of the genocide with two sewing machines and a generator. In building for tomorrow, the bank distinguished itself among the biggest supporters of Rwanda’s Agaciro Development Fund where Rwf155million was contributed. The fund aims at facilitating economic development that is financed by Rwandans and in so doing usher the country into an era of self sustainability.
Forward going, BRD’s commitment to social support projects remains high. In late February 2014, the bank extended Rwf15million support to Maranyundo Girls School in Nyamata Bugesera District intended to facilitate the construction of the school’s advanced secondary classes. An Initiative dedicated to continued improvement of the quality of education in Rwanda with a focus on building and developing a model secondary school for girls in the Nyamata region, Maranyundo School presents a beacon of hope for girls from poor families in Bugesera to access good education that should enable them transform their lives.
“By supporting socioeconomic transformation through working together with other institutions, we not only help the involved parties to improve their lives and subsequently of those around them but also create a market that will consume our products in the future. Our corporate social responsibilities represent a win-win relationship between us, the beneficiaries, and the general population.”