Social Contribution Activities
Sumitomo Corporation’s success in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely linked to the fortunes of the countries in the region, so engaging with the communities within which we operate forms an integral part of our activities. Here we introduce some of many social contribution activities we conduct in the region with sustainability and long-term commitment in mind: Growing together with Africa.
Southern and Eastern Africa
Improving Mother & Child Health
In 2013, Sumitomo Corporation joined the “Sankyu Thank You Project” to support the Japanese Red Cross Society’s mother and child health programs in remote areas of Kenya. “Sankyu” means “maternity leave” in Japanese, and under the project, we aim to protect the lives of as many African infants as the number of babies born to our employees in a year (approximately 200).
From 2018, the project supports various programs of the Japanese Red Cross Society to counter communicable diseases as well as to enhance nutritional health and wellness, especially amongst vulnerable children in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Mobile Library Project for Schools
Out of 24,000 primary and secondary schools in South Africa, about 15% have functional school libraries. Considering that reading is the basis of all learning, the South African Primary Education Support Initiative (SAPESI) was established in 2006 by business executives from South Africa and Japan to help improve literacy in the country. Second-hand, low mileage mobile library vehicles were donated by Japanese municipalities for use in South Africa and various Japanese companies, including Sumitomo Corporation, are involved as supporters and sponsors in rolling out this worthy cause. With Assistance of SAPESI, 57 mobile libraries donated from Japan are covering around 950 schools as of 2017.
Empowering Blind and Disabled Youth
ACTION for Blind and Disabled Children (ACTION) provides advanced computer training and entrepreneurship skills free of charge to South African citizens of any age who are blind, deaf, or disabled without employment. Over 20 young blind and disabled people are tutored daily, with some very favorable results. We have developed a strong relationship with ACTION over the years with visits and communication. During an upgrade of computer hardware at the office a few years ago, an additional 10 used PCs were donated to complement those donated by Sumitomo Corporation previously. We also support ACTION’s vision by sponsoring learners’ tuition.
The Dorper Wind Farm - Empowering Communities
The Dorper Wind Farm site is located between the towns of Sterkstroom and Molteno in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, a region where 75% of the economically active age groups are unemployed. As part of its obligations to the Department of Energy as well as a commitment to sustainably develop the communities in which we operate, Dorper Wind Farm has committed to help improve infrastructure in schools and medical facilities; academic training and development projects for primary and high schools; and training, development and business support for small enterprises. This has proved very successful for those enterprises being worked with so far.
Donating solar kits to rural clinics
In collaboration with the Italian non-profit organization Doctors with Africa CUAMM (Colleglo Universitario Aspiranti Medici e Missionari), which has a track record in the health-care field that spans more than half a century, our liaison representative office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, donated 580 Panasonic solar kits to health centres and dispensaries in rural set-ups identified by the local authorities in six (6) regions, namely Iringa, Njombe, Ruvuma, Simiyu, Shinyanga and Dodoma. These solar kits are being installed in 243 facilities to provide lighting for medical services that are offered during the night, including infant deliveries.
Up to now, they have been using kerosene lamps, torches, or similar devices. In addition to providing insufficient light, kerosene lamps are a fire hazard and produce harmful smoke.
Solar LED (light-emitting diode) lights ensure brightness, are recharged by sunlight, and are safe and reliable to use. Profound gratitude was expressed by the concerned local authorities as well as community members of the target areas. We are exploring ways of continuing support that will improve their conditions.
Transforming packaging waste from construction site into school furniture
Construction of the Kinyerezi 240MW gas fired power plant produces a large amount of packaging waste for the equipment and materials delivered from all over the world. Packaging waste includes cable reels, wooden pallets, and wooden boxes, etc. Faced with this situation, we explored innovative ways to minimize impact on the environment while simultaneously giving back to the local community. This led to our new initiative where we recycle wooden waste materials that would otherwise be disposed of and transform them into furniture that can then be donated to public schools nearby. Visits to primary and secondary schools in the Kinyerezi ward revealed that all schools lack basic facilities such as tables, chairs and bookshelves. In order to further maximize the benefit to the local community, we have selected a carpenter within the Kinyerezi ward for carpentry and finishing works. In 2017, a total of 46 tables, 60 chairs and 3 bookshelves were donated to four primary schools and three secondary schools in the area.
Building relationships of trust with local communities through the Ambatovy Project
The Ambatovy project is one of the world’s largest nickel extraction projects. We are developing the project with our partners, Canadian resource company Sherritt International Corporation and Korean state-owned resource company Korea Resources Corporation. The impact of Ambatovy goes beyond economic benefits brought about by revolutionizing Madagascar’s exports and creating significant employment opportunities for the Malagasy people. The project is also contributing significantly to the growth of Madagascar through the development of human resources that will build the future of Madagascar’s industries. We have been executing a number of Social Contribution Activities through which we aim to address the needs of the Malagasy people in and around Ambatovy with their best interests at heart. We would like to introduce just a few of them here. To our delight, the Ambatovy Project has enjoyed a warm and continuous support from the Malagasy people as a result of bot tangible and intangible benefits it has brought to their lives while forming bonds of trust between project operators and the local community.
Contributing to biodiversity conservation
Madagascar is recognized for its rich biodiversity hotspot and abundance of endemic fauna and flora and the Ambatovy project places utmost importance on the protection of the environment. We aim to ensure that our presence results in a net gain for the area’s ecosystem.
Developing social infrastructure & human resources
The Ambatovy project has established a US$25 million fund to finance social and infrastructure projects in its intervention areas. Projects are selected in consultation with the Government of Madagascar and municipal governments. 17 main projects have been funded by the Social Investment Fund thus far.
Contributing to Sustainable Development
Sumitomo Corporation has partnered with Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) on PAPRiz (Rice Productivity Improvement in Central Highland), their project creating awareness on the appropriate use of fertilizer for the country’s principle food crop. Ambatovy project produces Ammonium Sulphate as a by-product, which could be used as a chemical fertilizer, and the trial project has demonstrated the positive impact of the usage. To strengthen their activities, Sumitomo Corporation financed the printing of 40,000 booklets that give a better understanding of the value of chemical fertilizers, their economic efficiency and how to use them. In addition, Sumitomo Corporation financed 330 starter kits; with each kit containing rice seeds, several fertilizers (including Ammonium Sulphate) and a technical booklet, in order to contribute to the agriculturaldevelopment in Madagascar.
Partial Scholarship Program for Learners of the Japanese Language
In March 2016, the Japanese language course was established at the University of Antananarivo for the first time. Due to the deep bond we have built with Madagascar over decades, Sumitomo Corporation decided to support Malagasy students who excel in Japanese studies at the University by providing them with partial scholarships. At the end of each semester, top five students from each grade are announced based on their academic results from the previous semester and awarded with scholarships to further motivate their learning. Madagascar has one of the largest number of learners of the Japanese language in Africa and it is our earnest hope that these learners will become the bridge between Madagascar and Japan in the future to take our existing partnership to a whole new level.
The Kpone IPP Project – Beach clean-up & protecting sea turtles
Turtles play important roles in the marine ecosystem as well as the terrestrial environment. However, the alarming rate of the sea turtle population decline in recent decades due to human activities have put turtles under the threat of extinction. Kpone IPP project site is very close to the shore and the beach area is a nesting area for sea turtles between October and March. The project team carries out turtle monitoring activities to assess the threats to the turtles, determine potential impacts of the project on sea turtles in the area and recommend measures to protect them. In addition, the beach area is littered with solid waste which has a potential negative impact to human health and wildlife. In an effort to improve sanitation at the beach and encourage turtle nesting activities, clean up exercises are carried out regularly together with the local community.
Introducing Japanese culture
With the aim of building good relationships with local communities, Sumitomo Corporation has been carrying out various events to introduce Japan’s traditional culture at its international business sites. When the Embassy of Japan in Ghana served as the host of Japan Week 2016, Sumitomo Corporation representatives traveled from Japan to Ghana to participate in the event. They joined the “Ghana Yosakoi Japan Festival 2016” and played important roles in various events in different places, including at the University of Ghana and a local automobile sales company. At the events, demonstrations and hands-on workshops were held to introduce Japanese calligraphy, wearing kimono, tea ceremony, flower arrangement and sushimaking, etc. Through these programs, Sumitomo Corporation employees enjoyed interactions with a total of 2,700 local people.
Clearing Landmines for a Better and Hopeful Future
Sumitomo Corporation began our support to Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) from 2008 for their landmine removal project in Angola, which was successfully launched in the following year. We provided this Japanese NPO with financial assistance, office space, and a variety of necessary support, using the local network that we had built over many years through our operations in the country. In cooperation with JMAS, we promoted skills transfer and expedited landmine clearance. The project was successfully transferred from JMAS to INAD, the National Demining Institute in Angola, in May, 2017.