HARD TALK: THIKA BUSINESSMEN EARN BILLIONS BUT GIVE BACK NOTHING TO THE COMMUNITY IN RETURN.


I believe that everyone has a responsibility to give back to the society. Be it an organization or individual, social responsibility is an ethical framework and an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Focusing on community initiatives impact on economic, social and environmental terms at the local level.

Social responsibility demands that any investor in a locality sustains the equilibrium between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society he or she is benefiting from. Companies need to get involved in the community and address the concerns of the public that is hosting them.

Thika Town boasts of one of the most successful companies and richest individuals in the country and in the continent. Hardly a month passes without news of an individual or company from this town purchasing properties worth billions of Kenya shillings. These investors earn millions daily from sales. I will restrain myself here from pinpointing anyone in particular but these peoples' wealth is in public domain.

That not withstanding, Thika too has quite a good number of people who cannot manage a meal a day due to poverty. Mothers and children die everyday due to lack of medical attention.

Most public institutions like primary schools in this town are in deplorable condition with majority of these schools are struggling to give quality education. Their learners take their lessons in very inhuman environments due to the lack of essential facilities. It doesn,t also need rocket science to know that very many kids in Thika are dropping out of school everyday due to lack of school fees. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. In fact, education should be a top social concern to everyone.

Some of these hardships would only call for less than just a fraction of what these corporates net as profits. We read in the news daily how they are raking in money in sales and at the stock exchange. Unfortunately,  majority of these big earners do not even have social welfare programmes for their employees. They pay them peanuts in the name of salaries and wages. They deny them the luxury of joining labour unions to fight for their labour rights. In most of the industries in Thika Town, the workers work for longer times that the stipulated 8 hours yet they earn no extra coin for the extra money they make for their employers.

Giving employees an avenue to give back to the community is important to morale and builds a collaborative and inspired team. Volunteering provides leadership opportunities for employees, leading to increased staff performance, fulfillment and ultimately, increased productivity and sales.

Using profits to improve the community that hosts your company doesn’t hurt. The bottom line is that it helps immeasurably. The modern society gives some great  rewards to entrepreneurs who find what people need and want, and provide it. Successful business people are well rewarded for their ability to provide what society wants. Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors and see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees.

Corporates should identify the needs within the community they are earning from or ask prominent local organizations what they need help with, and make targeted efforts to contribute. When businesses help other people, those people tend to want to support the company in return. Building a reserve of goodwill in your community means that there will be people there to back you up and speak up on your behalf in the future. Giving back to the community improves a company’s image in the eyes of community members and results in a better place to live and work for the company, its employees and the people who live there already.

Successful corporate leaders understand promoting public opinions that are favorable to their company, boosting internal morale, and improving the area they live in are all good reasons to make positive contributions to their community.

My polite reminder to our corporate brothers and sisters in Thika Town is that, every time they open their doors, they make a commitment to bring about a brighter future for their team members, their communities and the world they live in. Why not just try giving even if it is 5% of your profit to the community? Donating your time, talent and resources is equally important as the income you give. Try working closely with partners and organizations to meet corporate responsibility goals in the areas of education, sustainability, team member well-being of the society.

I think that it is the high time Thika started moving forward as a unit. A society of one billionaire surrounded by a million beggars will never be safe for everyone, and more so, that billionaire. No wonder we invest heavily on security in our homes and businesses since we feel insecure wherever we are.

This is a situation that can so well be managed by empowering those around you. This is by doing very simple acts of corporate responsibility that even do not cost much. It can also be made possible by starting a foundation that your organizations or businesses can use to raise money from friends, business partners and other donors. Through this, the community will feel that you are part them thus contribute towards your success.

I would like to thank the few who have been taking that responsibility to give back to Thika  community. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver. Be that giver and make Thika a better place for yourself, the community and the generations to come. Make Thika the wonderful place that you would all enjoy to live in.

Rudisha mkono kama shukrani kwa nafasi uliopata hapa Thika.
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