CSI News: Good Practices

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Over the past few months I have been conducting meetings and interviews with many CSI Practitioners to try and understand why we are not seeing the results that we should, given the billions that are being spent on CSI annually.
It is evident that there is a lack of coordination in our industry. Despite this, there does appear to be consensus on a few matters:

There is a lot of ‘job hopping’
The high turnover of staff, within the industry, is worrying and it creates a strategic problem. In order to integrate CSI fully into the business and to develop a robust strategy and programme, time is required and the process needs to be refined annually, without losing sight of the clear goal. Continuity is essential so as to ensure systemic development and consistent funding.

The CSI Industry needs people with passion
People need to be passionate about what it is they do. They need to have a good understanding of what development is and they need to be confident and willing to develop knowledge internally on how CSI should be done. This can be a trying process and if there is no passion few will take on this task.

Too many companies are fixated on compliance and are not participating in CSI for the right reasons
‘Ticking the boxes’ at the expense of sustainable community development is very short sighted and does not bode well for company sustainability. After all, few companies can function in a non functional society.
“Why you do it affects the how you do it. The popcorn approach does not work.” Setlogane Manchidi, Investec.

Companies cannot be everything to everyone
If we look at the projects that are making a sustainable impact, the following commonalities are evident:

  • Each project has a clear focus on a specific area
  • Substantial amounts of time and money are spent on researching, understanding and working systemically to do the project really well
  • They are doing it in partnership!

Partnerships are vital
Without partnerships projects WILL fail. By partnerships I refer to either:

  • company/community partnerships – we need to move away from traditional grant funder mentality
  • company/ NPO partnerships – work with those that have expertise
  • company/government partnerships
  • company/company partnerships
  • and then the famous PPP’s.

“Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) was a buzz word a few years back but it seems to have lost ‘flavour of the month’. However, they are still critical if we are going to reach our CSI goals. Public Private Partnerships can work exceptionally well in the CSI space”, as is evident in The Tiger Brands Foundation’s breakfast feeding programme, “we are talking real working partnerships not just so called ‘buy-in’. ” Kelvin Glen, Director: The Tiger Brands Foundation.

Let’s work together, share our learnings and ensure that every project makes a positive sustainable impact!

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Warm Regards