Umalia

United Nations Development Programme

To create a multi-sector partnership to reduce poverty and stimulate employment in an African community

The Challenge

In Africa, the concept of corporate social responsibility is still in its infancy, and usually takes the form of philanthropic contributions. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wished to inspire a more active commitment by the private sector to reducing poverty through sustainable, community-based initiatives.

Umalia in action

We prepared the ground by organizing a series of conferences and workshops on CSR aimed at more than 25 companies from a dozen different sectors. Then, we created a partnership model and recruited two key partners for the project, including the largest local bank and the second-largest telecommunications provider in the country. We began by conducting an audit, then drew up the partnership agreement and its governance framework and established the tools necessary for its implementation. We then facilitated the partnership over the course of its pilot phase.

Outcome

A promising CSR partnership between the UNDP and the private sector

The UNDP and the Community

  • An employment development program based on strengthening the technical and financial capacity of a group of two hundred micro-entrepreneurs
  • Improvement of living conditions in a rural setting, with access to basic social services (health care, nutrition, housing, education, etc.)
  • Poverty reduction over time

Businesses

  • Access to new markets and clients
  • Alignment with business strategy (access to new micro-distributors)
  • Improved image and reputation
  • Employee pride and engagement
  • Visible and innovative CSR leadership