Standard Bank has defined three pillars for its CSI strategy – strategic partnerships in education, employee engagement and disaster relief. This approach enables it to address both the ever-present socio-economic challenges in South Africa and the disaster relief that is periodically required.
Like many other corporates, Standard Bank is passionate about education. Securing a better future for all South Africans should be a top priority for every organisation that wishes to have a successful future. Businesses can only thrive if our economy is thriving, which requires a strong workforce and lower unemployment rates. To achieve this, we need to start with the fundamentals – high-quality early education that will lower school dropout rates and guarantee a higher number of Matric graduates.
Our approach to supporting early childhood development and foundation-phase learning is through multi-year strategic partnerships with community organisations. We support programmes that aim to strengthen the capacity of teachers and caregivers. As a contributing partner, Standard Bank works with leading organisations to develop and implement future skills curricula for ECD and foundation phase. Our goal is to envision a future workforce and focus on the skills they might need, and the programmes we support share this vision.
Future skills, together with the current curriculum, are taught from a young age to ensure a resilient generation that is prepared and able to thrive in a world that keeps digitally advancing.
Our programmes support children from the age of four years to Grade 3, the age group in which there is a high number of school dropouts. These programmes are specifically designed to help children succeed and thrive in their early school years and prevent them from falling behind during this time – the main reason why young children end up leaving school. Our partners are also dedicated to training and upskilling primary caregivers.
These projects are run in partnership with NGOs or academic institutions, and are typically implemented over three to five years. We also provide support to a limited number of programmes designed to improve access to tertiary-level education.
The second pillar of Standard Bank’s CSI strategy is employee engagement. We encourage our employees to contribute to charities through monetary donations, but we also want them to make a meaningful impact within their communities.
We created the ForGood volunteering platform to encourage employees to become actively involved in community projects and select causes that are close to their hearts which they can support in various ways.
Another initiative is Rand-for-Rand, which means Standard Bank matches every rand that an employee donates to an organisation on the ForGood platform.
Lastly, the third pillar of Standard Bank’s CSI strategy addresses humanitarian and disaster support. Standard Bank has responded to various crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the KwaZulu-Natal unrest and the Cape Town fires.
As soon as vaccines were being dispatched in our country, we partnered with the Dis-Chem Foundation to establish 32 vaccination sites across the country. The funding enabled medical personnel to be hired and for appropriate furniture, fittings, technological infrastructure, medical equipment, personal protective equipment and other consumables to be purchased. We also donated to the Pink Drive Foundation for mobile medical teams, employing previously unemployed nurses and drivers, and reaching over 37 000 people.
Food relief is another way in which Standard Bank supports communities. We support the OneFarm Share, a digital platform that multiplies food donations and streamlines procurement directly from farmers to registered charity organisations.
Through this initiative we have supported 273 emerging farmer and 1 577 charities, and we have sponsored more than one million meals.
In total, we have spent R75,9 million in South Africa on initiatives to promote access to COVID-19 vaccinations, and to provide food relief and humanitarian support to individuals and communities affected by social unrest and natural disasters.
Making a difference is at the heart of our business and, together with our partners and clients, we believe a better South Africa for all is achievable.