Friday October 14 2011

Hidden benefits of social responsibility

 Hidden benefits of social responsibility

Members of the Rotary Club of Muyenga giving out jerry cans during a CSR drive. Photo by Edgar R. Batte  

By Ephraim Kasozi

The corporate social responsibility field is one of the arrangements through which university students pursuing various qualifications can enhance their career through research opportunities, promoters say.

“CSR helps to groom future managers through acquiring a wider knowledge about different employment sectors’ relevant CSR undertakings,” says Mr David Katamba, the chairman of the Uganda Chapter for Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives (UCCSRI).

He says: “As students and company employees learn more about CSR, they identify career opportunities in the CSR field, which exposes them to research opportunities. Through this field, various people, especially employees, will identify themselves with the wider community in which companies operate.”

Mr Katamba made the remarks at the second Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtable lecture aimed at building expert knowledge and competence among university students held at Makerere University Business School.

The lecture, a brainchild of UCCSRI, was initiated to safeguard against failure of community-based activities by corporate organisations, a platform for companies and their employees to share practical knowledge on how to sustain their projects for development.

He explains that through CSR, workers have a chance to voluntarily benefit from various CSR undertaking of companies like trainings which can help them develop their career in different directions.

Well being
“The families of employees can also directly or indirectly benefit from CSR activities of companies, for example, through scholarships, health initiatives of companies as well as safety and wellbeing of staff and company premises,” Mr Katamba adds.

Ms Grace Nyamahunge, the Brands and Special Projects Manager of Monitor Publications Limited says the lecture is one way of transferring class work into practical setting through interaction with those already practicing.

“Bringing CSR closer to what is taught in class is one way to promote and establish a sustainable CSR network in Uganda. We want to encourage and support relevant stakeholders to integrate CSR in their business activities,” says Ms Nyamahunge.

She says the UCCSRI campaign seeks to advocate for better CSR practices and policies to enable companies mobilize resources for the respective activities.

Mr Katamba explains: “We have also designed a CSR curriculum that will be taught at the university level to groom managers academically through formal education. The curriculum starts with Makerere University Business School (Mubs) as a pilot.”

Wider view of CSR
Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business)is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms.

The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. CSR-focused businesses would promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

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