Corporate Social Responsibility is akin to Humanitarian Gesture. In this report, Emeka Odom x-rays how NTICF has employed the scheme to affect the lives of the needy.
Obviously, humanitarian gestures are not new to this part of the world, this is basically due to endemic poverty and poor standard of living in Africa.
Also, the menace of terrorism attacks in Nigeria and consequent displacement of thousands of Nigerians increased the need for voluntary humanitarian services in the country.
The situation indeed attracted different Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), corporate organisations and religious bodies. But some of these bodies are fraudulent in their dealings, as they short change the needy through their sharp practices.
Many organisations had allegedly raised funds with the claim to assisting displaced persons in the northeast but diverted the funds into private use.
This attitude had over the years increased the burden of government, as the concerned states and the federal government were left to cater for the over 5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Notwithstanding, some credible foundations still share the plight of these IDPs and other vulnerable Nigerians, and as such have provided succour, without having to raise funds through international humanitarian organisations and donor agencies.
For instance, the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges Foundation (NTICF) was registered in June, 2013 to implement various social responsibility projects in collaboration with First Surat Group of Companies, theTurkish/Nigerian owned holding company of Nigerian, Turkish International Colleges (NTIC), Nigerian Turkish Nile University (NTNU), Nigerian Turkish Nizamiye Hospital (NTNH), and Vefa Travel Tourism Limited.
It also collaborates with Ufuk Dialoque Foundation and other willing partners in areas covering education, provision of health services and water, assistance for orphans and it undertakes special humanitarian projects for the needy during both Christian and Islamic festive periods.
NTICF designed a unique children education support programme which includes provision of writing materials such as Note books, Crayons, Sharpeners, Pencils, Geometric sets, Erasers and Drawing books in packages for pupils in government-owned schools.
These ventures chose humanitarian activities as their own Corporate Social Responsibility. For instance, the First Surat Group started its activities in a rented building with only fourteen students in Abuja, in 1998. But currently has its huge investment in education and health. Its consistent de-emphasis of material gain along with its strong support for charitable activities easily convince parents about a commitment to enduring values.
Although the Nigerian Turkish international Colleges, with its 17 educational institutions located in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Yobe and Ogun States and some 5, 000 students focuse on building knowledge based on core moral values which our modern society is in dire need of; it dedicates much resources to humanitarian causes being carried out under the banner of the NTIC Foundation.
Coordinator of NTIC Foundation Mr. Basaran Behlul, in a media intereaction recently, noted that the foundation also visits orphanages across the nation, to provide free medical check-up, food items and clothing and other items in addition to organising picnics and helping with renovation of such homes.
“Other activities include Sallah (Eid-el Kabir), Ramadan and Christmas programs. Every year, during Sallah, NTIC Foundation sacrifices thousands of cows on behalf of its well-wishers, the meat is then packaged into polythene bags, and shared by its team of volunteers to thousands of needy people in various states and Abuja.
“During Ramadan period, the foundation usually organizes Iftar dinner (hot meal) for thousands of needy people. Towards ending of Ramadan, the foundation provides raw food bags to needy families, each bag contains essential food items that last a family for a month. The same activities are carried out during Christmas when we distribute food items to the orphans and underprivileged people,” he stated.
The NTICF however does not do charity like most of the international donor agencies are wont to do. The foundation ensures all donations are used directly for the beneficiaries without taking off an excessive administrative and logistics costs.
“In the process of undertaking charitable works or philanthropy, most organisations inevitably spend a lot of their resources on logistics and administration but we were able to avoid this. This is done largely through the use of volunteers from NTIC Colleges, mostly school principals and teachers who act as representatives of NTIC Foundation and travel to various states or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and distribute goodies to people who need them,” Basaran revealed.
Even though there are no regulated time frame for charity works, the foundation recognises special festival periods like Sallah and Christmas to extend its hand of fellowship to the needy. During the last Muslim festival, the NTICF reached out to at least 20,000 families across Nigeria.
The targets of this philanthropy are the ‘genuinely needy people in the society’, these are not difficult to find if one would care to look deeply.
According to Basaran; “What we have done here is that we slaughtered seventy cows and ten rams to the needy, majority of whom are in the villages and (IDP) camps. For instance, in Karamajiji village which hosts the burial ground for Nigeria’s war heroes, soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their father land, we made sure that virtually everyone of some 512 families there received NTIC Foundation’s charity and humanitarian packages.”
The model for giving during festival periods is highlighted in the Lagos model. About 70 cows were slaughtered, packaged in about 200-250 kilograms each in almost 4500 packages and distributed. This was also done in Abuja, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Katsina, Kwara, Sokoto, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Nasarawa States.
However, the NTICF didn’t extend the gesture to the Muslims alone, during the Christmas celebration, the NTICF collaborates with the UFUK Dialogue and other Pentecostal churches to extend charity.
“We don’t discriminate on religious basis because human needs are similar and we work with both Muslims and Christians as the challenges are similar and we believe that genuine charity or philanthropy must involving reaching out to all of humanity with open arms,” Basaran stated.
According to him, it is the 18th year of giving for the NTICF and there is hope in the horizon.
The foundation in 2016, focuses on education with rehabilitation of school, with the aim of giving as much as it can for those who truly need it.
Already, the foundation has donated classrooms in Kaduna while its partners all over the world will be renovating hundreds of schools. One of the innovative ways of giving is to give out books to underprivileged students.
According to Basaran, every year, children in NTIC schools leave books behind after completing their session while many return to school to give back books they no longer need. We gather these books and distribute them to government schools in rural areas so that it can help them feel inspired or more interested in schooling.
At the moment, Basaran reveals that they have about twenty to thirty cartons of books in Abuja and other branches across the nation. They equally have significant numbers of books that are meant for onward distribution. They are also trying to gather and distribute items like good furniture such as tables and chairs that are no longer being used. Rural government schools make good use of such. At the NTIC Foundation, we try not to waste things.”