A recent philanthropic initiative embarked on by employees of Oando PLC, is proof that when companies and employees are aligned great things can be achieved. Oando employees recently visited Gbagada with donations of branded school supplies for the students of the three (3) schools that make up the Gbagada Schools Complex; an endeavour grounded on the Company’s ambition to play a role in enabling the country reach Sustainable Development Goal Four (Quality Education) by 2020 as well as furthering its Foundation’s Adopt-a-School initiative. The Company has actively reinforced to its employees the benefits of giving back not just as a good deed but to ultimately enrich the nation; hence this project initiated and implemented by the Company’s employees.
The month of February was tagged the ‘Month of Love’ and all Oando employees rallied together to raise funds to buy students of the Gbagada Schools Complex much needed school supplies such as educational books to encourage learning and reading, school bags, school furniture, raincoats in preparation for the rainy season, and other items to aid educational development; infrastructural renovation was also carried out.
The visit was led by both the Corporate Communications and Oando Foundation team, also in attendance were a selection of the Foundation’s volunteers, all Oando employees. In addition to donating school supplies, Oando employees visited all the classrooms and actively engaged the pupils via play and talks.
Speaking at the event, Alero Balogun, Head, Corporate Communications said: “I speak on behalf of all Oando employees when I say we have a common belief that education is an integral tool in building the right foundation for tomorrow’s innovators, business owners, community leaders, and nation builders. We understand and recognise that a lot of these students face a myriad of difficulties at home; despite these environmental and social challenges they make a concerted effort to attend school daily. This is borne out of an innate desire to learn so as create a better future for themselves and their loved ones – we must commend them for their efforts, zeal and positive outlook even in the most challenging of circumstances. It is against this backdrop that we embarked on this journey to raise funds, acquire and donate much needed school supplies. The greatest privilege has been in our giving and the most treasured outcome – the smiles on each child’s face. Like Malala Yousafzai said, let us remember one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world. With this, I say thank you to the teachers of the Gbagada Schools Complex for your invaluable role in building the leaders of tomorrow and thank you to every single Oando employee who has helped make this memorable event a reality.”
The Head Teacher of Idi Odo Primary School, Mrs Ayowole Ajibade said; “We truly appreciate Oando Foundation for adopting our school and financing many of our development projects. The Foundation has been our partner for many years; they have supported a number of infrastructural projects including the building of classrooms and drainage systems to stop the flooding of the school, as well as awarding scholarships to our pupils. Today, we are excited to have Oando here and on behalf of all the children, we say thank you. Thank you Oando Foundation, thank you Oando and thank you Oando staff for remembering us and the pupils today.”
The Assistant Director of Education, SUBEB Lagos, Mrs Margaret Morenike Ismail, who represented the Executive Director of SUBEB Lagos, said “Oando Foundations Adopt-a-School initiative is quite laudable, they have adopted over 8 schools in 5 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Lagos State and awarded scholarships to over 250 pupils in these schools. As a result of their efforts we have seen a significant increase in enrolment in our schools. I would like to use this platform to encourage others in the private sector to partner with us like we’ve done with Oando to push education forward.”
It is no news that public private partnerships are crucial to the development of any economy, especially emerging economies like Nigeria where the need for infrastructure far outweighs available public funds. Oando recognizes that Nigeria’s population growth has put pressure on the country’s resources, public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for 45 per cent of the 171 million population and Nigeria having the largest number of out of school children, the burden on education has become overwhelming. This realization led to the creation of Oando Foundation an independent charity with a mission to improve the learning environment in primary schools by holistically creating world-class basic education systems to the community and supporting the Nigerian Government reach its education development goal.
Speaking on the role Oando Foundation plays in the education sector, Head Oando Foundation, Mrs. Adekanla Adegoke said: “Oando Foundation is delighted to partner with our parent body – Oando PLC on this project, and many others that have directly contributed to improved learning outcomes for children in our adopted schools. We remain the only independent charity established by a Corporate offering a holistic model to improve the basic education sub-sector in Nigeria. Our longstanding partnership with various State Governments, including the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Education Authorities continues to drive our achievements. We are committed to championing the cause of improved basic education in Nigeria; ensuring every child of primary school age has access to quality education.”
Oando, through the Foundation has successfully adopted over 88 public primary schools across 23 states in Nigeria, renovated over 40 of these schools; established 33 ICT centres and 3 Early Child Care Development Education (ECCDE) centres. In addition, the Foundation has donated over 5,000 books and learning materials across different communities. The Foundation has further successfully supported community involvement by strengthening the capacity of over 1,133 School Based Management Committee (SBMC) members, awarded scholarships to over 1,123 pupils and facilitated training of 2,169 teachers.