By Honorine Kaze
January - February 2016
Prime Business

First National Bank (FNB) Namibia regards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an integral part of its corporate business practice, and therefore continuously invests into the community in which it operates.

FNB thus established the FNB Foundation, which supports worthy community development initiatives on an annual basis.

It is funded by 1% of the annual post-tax profits of the group. A board of trustees oversees its work to ensure that the funds are properly managed.
Ingrid Goeieman, FNB Manager: Sponsorships and Donations noted on the International Day of Giving that the FNB Foundation has seven major focus areas in which beneficiaries receive monies set aside from the profit after tax every year.

“These are community, health development and environmental guardianship, skills’ development, educational development, education, protection and financial inclusion, sports development, customer hospitality as well as arts and culture. Then, we also have a donation part from which, thus far, the SPCA has benefitted”, she explains.

According to the FNB Namibia Holdings’ 2015 integrated annual report, these contributions form part of the Group’s efforts to support the government’s Vision 2030, which is aimed at creating jobs, wealth and prosperity for all Namibians.

“FNB is committed to the social and economic transformation objectives as set out in the Financial Institutions’ charter, and actively engages in activities aimed at their achievement”, she adds.

The biggest portion of the N$ 11 million which was set aside for the initiative the previous year was given to skills’ development, totaling almost N$2,9 million; educational development was given N$2,48 million, and sports development came third with N$ 2,47 million. Community health development and environmental guardianship was given almost N$2 million. Consumer education, protection and financial inclusion also received support of N$84 240.

“Educational development is a primary focus area of the FNB Foundation, and it supports the development of leaders in education by working with the Africa Leadership Institute to expose all inspectors of education and selected Heads of Departments from schools across the country to value-based leadership. This brought about the FNB Inspector’s and Heads of Department’s Academies,” the report states.

In 2015, the FNB Foundation became a material sponsor of the Amos Meerkat pre-primary project which assists preparing children from farms and informal settlements for schools.

Furthermore, the FNB Foundation has been partnering with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to improve school attendance through the San development program and back-to-school awareness campaign.

Promoting sport is also part of the various initiatives the FNB Foundation engages in, as the latest report shows.
“FNB, through its Foundation, has a long-standing relationship with the Namibia Tennis Association (NTA) of more than 10 years, and is currently contributing annually towards its Play and Stay, an International Tennis Federation youth development program offered by the NTA.

The program has been acknowledged as the best development program at the Namibia Sports Awards, and is taking tennis to many rural parts of Namibia. Many of Namibia’s current top players came through this program,” the report reads.

The FNB Foundation has also consistently supported the International Rugby Board’s development program, which was introduced by the Namibia Rugby Union in 2013.

“The very first tournaments in Katima Mulilo and Rundu were hugely successful. In most areas, the facilitators were overwhelmed by the turnout, which exceeded expectations by far.

For example, 70 pupils from the Zambezi Private School and 1150 pupils from the Ngweze Primary School participated. The other areas are also growing fast, and the final numbers exceed 5200 boys and girls.

It is a long-term investment in both the youth, and it is believed that by taking the sport to more areas in the country, Namibia will improve its world ranking for years to come,” the report adds.

Other sports activities supported by the FNB Foundation include the Kwata Cricket program, the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s youth development program, which was accepted as a partner by the FNB Foundation in 2014 on a three-year engagement.

On their side, Rand Merchant Bank Namibia, which is fully-engaged in creating a better world, has sought to partner with key clients on selected initiatives.

One of such initiative is a project called Physically Active Youth (PAY), a Katutura-based organization founded more than 10 years ago. About 100 children spend their afternoons and some weekends receiving tuition and nutrition, life skills’ mentoring and sport training.
“The FNB Foundation has funded the mountain- biking component since 2013, with up to 30 children competing regularly in local and regional races. RMB’s staff help PAY in many of the races.
Bikes have become a catalyst for other PAY activities, and a number of lifestyle and business enhancement projects have been launched. Subsequent to their involvement, an RMB volunteer has been elected to the PAY Board to coordinate governance,” the report states.
Amongst other projects, the FNB Foundation has further approved funding for children from around Namibia to visit the B2Gold Education Centre at its Otjikoto Gold Mine, in addition to funding the Physics Shop.