African Reinsurance Corporation (South Africa) Limited (ARCSA) recognizes that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goes further than philanthropic, ethical, legal and economic concerns. It recognizes that the long term sustainability of the organization, of the economic and business environment in which the organization operates, of the workforce and, ultimately, society as a whole depends on it. On this basis, ARCSA takes CSR seriously and has been evolving a number of initiatives in this area over the years.
The key objectives of the company’s CSR programme and initiatives in the communities in which it operates are:
• To promote social cohesion and minimize societal conflict
• To support socio-economic transformation
• To promote skills development among the people for the benefit of the industry and the society at large
• To support environmental sustainability.
Our main focus is around education and ensuring we are able to support a lifetime of learning within the communities in which we operate, by focusing on these specific areas:
• Developing and producing educational material.
• Providing direct support to underprivileged primary schools.
• Our focus is on numeracy and literacy.
• Supporting training programmes which aim to enhance the standard of education in the country by focusing on teacher development.
• Partnering with leadership programmes to identify learners and grow their leadership skills.
In addition to our focus of making an impact through education, ARCSA also occasionally makes ad-hoc donations to various non-profit organizations.
ARCSA recognizes that there are many communities in need of help and support, but our CSR strategy is, primarily, focused on and aligned to supporting education, learning and skills development. The guidelines below provide an indication of projects and initiatives that we do not support.
• Projects that are not aligned to our five focus areas.
• Profit-making organisations and companies
• Political organisations or activities or any activity that promotes party political division, sexism, racism or regionalism.
• Individuals, or small groups in their personal capacity
• Labour unions
• Fee-paying Conferences
• Organisations with a history of misuse of funds or whose grants have been suspended by ARCSA or any other development agencies and/or corporates.
• Activities that may cause environmental degradation.
• ARCSA will not support any initiative if ARCSA is of the view that its assistance will not make an impact
• ARCSA will not support any initiative if there are at least three organisations already supporting that particular initiative.
ARCSA realizes the value of involving employees in the CSR activities of the organization. As such ARCSA will constantly endeavor to implement programmes that involve employee participation whilst also achieving the corporate objectives.
ARCSA started participating and observing this day in 2015. We visited Bethany Home for Abused Women and Children in Yeoville, Johannesburg. Donations of food, toys for children, sanitary towels, paint and painting equipment were made to the home. ARCSA staff painted the shelter’s fence, children’s play area, played with the children and had lunch with all of them at the end of the day.
Since 2016, ARCSA has been observing World AIDS day and pledging our support by purchasing the “Fight Against HIV” banner and display it around our premises for a period of one week. The proceeds of Banner Roll sales go to selected AIDS orphanage homes.
The company supports education at different levels – primary, secondary and business education – for which it has provided sponsorship to individuals and schools over the years. These sponsorships include the Liberty Challenge (an initiative to sponsor learners on understanding and building wealth on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange), sponsorship of an orphanage in Johannesburg and an orphan in Cape Town, and, lately, adoption of a primary school in Soweto for specific intervention initiatives aimed at enhancing educators’ skills, providing resources and improving learners’ academic achievement.
The adoption of a primary school emanated from ARCSA’s participation in a Leadership Development Programme facilitated by Partners for Possibility, a co-learning partnership between School Principals and Business Leaders, enabling social cohesion through partnerships, and empowering Principals to become change leaders in their schools and communities. The Partners for Possibility programme facilitates cross-sectoral, reciprocal partnerships between Business, Government and the Social Sector.
The Business Leaders form a collaboration with school Principals of under-resourced schools the purpose being to upskill and develop them so that they are empowered to effectively run the schools.
Our involvement in this partnership started in 2015, for a duration of two years. We started off with Lobone High School which later merged with another school. Due to the changes resulting from the merger, our participation was then transferred to Lufhereng Primary School which is situated in Doornkop, Soweto. Since then we have made a meaningful contribution in imparting leadership skills and continuously supporting the school Principal in achieving set goals of making the school a success considering that the kids attending there are from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have hosted and financially supported enabling programmes such as motivational training, progress awards events, a book donation, equipping the Library to a functional state, etc. The key aims of our intervention are to sustain learners’ interest in schooling to completion, improve the administrative capacity of the educators, and to support the Principal’s goal of improving the school’s performance in national exams from 69% in 2015 to a minimum of 85% over a three-year period. Happily, within two years of setting this target, the school once again consistently retained a pass rate of 85% in 2017.
Even though the arrangement with Partners for Possibility has ended, ARCSA decided to adopt Lufhereng Primary School as its key CSR initiative in the medium term. Under this initiative, priority attention is being given to equipping the library to a functional state by providing books and supporting material. This project started in 2016 and will continue subject to appropriate funding until the library is substantially functional. We have visited the school to assess their needs, and we have committed to equip the library to the fullest extent possible.
ARCSA started a learnership programme in 2018, in partnership with the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA), to train matriculants from disadvantaged communities in insurance and risk management. The learnship programme intake is done on an annual basis, with the learners attaining a NQF Level qualification in Short Term Insurance at the end of the leanership year. The Company also runs other skills development and mentorship programmes for its other members of staff.
We will continue participating and observing this day, to demonstrate our solidarity and support in the war against AIDS whilst simultaneously raising money for AIDS orphans.
As previously mentioned that we have assisted Bethany Home for Abused Women and Children in the past. We visited them again this year to see where we can help and make an impact, but we noted that we will not make any impact, as they currently have too many donations and sponsors. We are in the process of looking for more initiatives for 2018 going forward, where we can make a meaningful impact, and we will advise the committee as soon as that is identified.
We are still committed to making contributions in initiatives that are in line with our focus areas, but importantly where we will make an impact.
The CSR initiatives in ARCSA seek to position the Company as a good corporate citizen that is committed to making positive and impactful contributions to its host communities, the environment and the larger society. The Company will continue its existing initiatives and programmes while seeking out new ways of enhancing its contributions to development and sustainability in the society. Updates will continue to be provided to this Committee on this important subject for information and appropriate support.