Years ago, Brand SA launched a campaign with the slogan, ‘South Africa: Alive with possibilities.’ That slogan gave me so much hope – and I have come to see this hope activated again through the nomination process for the inaugural South African CSI Awards. We have been overwhelmed with the number of nominations we have received – just over 90 for only 4 categories. So many great companies and projects are coming to light, with one company nominated over 40 times. Tino, my right hand lady, could not believe it!
One can’t help but feel that CSI South Africa is indeed alive not just with possibilities but tremendous possibilities. Now that the nominating phase is closed, we kick in with Phase 2, where we explain the rationale and criteria in greater detail and receive your written descriptions of the projects.
A team of adjudicators have already been invited and confirmed, all highly qualified and expert CSI practitioners. Each will read all submitted descriptions and make their selection, based on clearly defined criteria. This phase will be the longest – we’ll need at least four weeks, possibly five, before we’re ready to announce the top three in each category. Phase 3 then kicks in – to be explained when the time comes!
Outside of that, you might have noticed some shifts here at CSRNEWS, as we prepare the ground for a whole new arm of the businesses. CSRNEWS is going African. Yep, we’re extending our reach beyond our borders, bringing CSI projects, news and marketing to a whole new arena where CSI is, in many cases, still in its infancy. I believe I mentioned this in our last communication – but I believe it is worth repeating.
Why the change, you might ask?
We have noticed a trend in the industry – companies with branches beyond our borders are wanting to extend their CSI reach. I have also spoken to African practitioners of the diaspora who are just beginning to engage with the African context. The question was, what is the most effective way in which to do so? For us it has to make sense and align with local priorities and conditions. Our partnerships with leading insurance and telecommunication companies have allowed us to explore conditions in SADC countries, to start with, in great detail, and to come up with a comprehensive and manageable approach.
For example: We’ve just signed a year’s partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). You might know them as simply as the Red Cross. In partnership, we’ll be introducing some exciting topics of discussion that challenge the status quo for South African companies doing business in SADC countries. CSI is expanding, and we will be right there all the way, pushing the boundaries and uncovering opportunities for CSI projects in each region.
You may have already noticed some interesting new work coming from our office, with our newly appointed African correspondence editor. I, for one, am excited about this fascinating new venture. We’re not the world experts yet, but we are, you might say, knee-deep in African CSI, and learning all the time.
Should you wish to discuss ideas around your own expansion into Africa, please give us a call! Our experience is expanding and a sharing of minds and ideas is precisely what I am looking for.
As many companies have discovered, piecemeal and half-hearted CSI gestures have almost no lasting impact. Real CSI – whether in South Africa or across our borders – takes knowledge of the terrain, tried and tested systems, and a sincere desire to benefit communities. It can and has been done by exceptional companies, who are raising the bar for CSI – and reaping the benefits.