With a presence in nearly every continent in the world, we are
proud to show how we have helped our local communities.
If you want to find out how Bata volunteers are making a
difference in your region check out the stories below.
Serving the Community: An Interview with Alberto Errico
How do companies in your region benefit from BCP?
Today’s customer and the general public are well informed, and their demands are for much more than just the product. They are looking for organizations that engage in responsible business and sustainability, including giving back to society, being involved with the less fortunate in the community, and taking care of the environment.
Through BCP and other forms of community outreach, we are able to improve our corporate image and enhance our brand reputation through increased awareness of the company and its products.
BCP is a worthwhile and unique program, and the fact that it is volunteer-led helps employees have a sense of ownership in the various initiatives, and it means the program is self-driven. This also creates a volunteer culture that can be emulated by new employees and generally creates high spirits and motivation.
What is the effect of BCP on employees?
BCP has a major positive effect on employees and their families, especially in the region we operate in.
Employees get to bond during BCP activities, and their sense of belonging also enhances teamwork and team spirit. The special tie to the organization then contributes to employee retention.
BCP also acts as a pull factor, playing a major role in shaping the company’s image in the eyes of various stakeholders, including current and potential employees. Bata is seen as a good employer that cares not only about its employees but also the community it operates in.
What are some benefits of corporate community involvement that are sometimes overlooked?
It does not necessary lead directly to increased sales, but corporate community involvement goes a long way in giving the general public a positive image of an organization, leading to various multiplier effects in general business.
Giving back to the community has both short- and long-term positive effects. Many young people get interested in working with us, and obviously many governments would like to be associated with and support responsible corporations like us. The communities we live and operate in also feel proud because of our support for various community initiatives through BCP.
Tell us about your participation in BCP.
I have always given moral and in-person support to BCP initiatives, and I derive a lot of pleasure from this, especially when I see the smiles radiating from the children and youth when I interact with them.
I have helped to create a volunteer culture with extensive participation in BCP. Some examples would include nurturing environmental awareness with tree planting, mentoring students through a daylong job shadowing program, supporting youth sports in Limuru, recognizing BCP volunteers, donating blood for children and mothers, and supporting a drive for sanitary pads for girls living in poverty.
My personal involvement in BCP gives me a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction, since I know I am impacting lives positively and creating a brighter future for children.
BCP South Africa Commemorates Nelson Mandela Day
Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, celebrates the 67 years of service the South African luminary gave his country and the world.
For this special initiative, the public has been asked to help identify schools with children in need of school shoes, using the hashtag #Bata67Steps on the Toughees Facebook page or in person at any Bata South Africa store.
The nominations will be evaluated using photos, geographic poverty levels and verification with NGOs.
“The campaign that we are embarking on is more than just putting shoes on feet,” commented Khutjo Madisha, Toughees brand manager. “It’s about giving children their pride back and giving them confidence to achieve their dreams.
“For nearly 60 years, Toughees has been the choice of shoe for those who walked a few meters or many kilometers just to get to school and have an education.”
A Success Story for BCP Zimbabwe Close to Home
Bachi’s son, Julian Kudzai Bachi, (pictured above with his parents) grew up in Gweru, Zimbabwe, and his parents moved him to the Sarah Bata Primary School in the fourth grade. His family moved him to the new school as they were well aware of its excellent reputation for offering a great all-round education having one of the best libraries in the country, thereby offering him the ability to read and to appreciate books.
After completing his secondary school studies, Julian Bachi attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, where he recently graduated with a degree in environmental science and sustainable buildings. His choice of degree was thanks to his former headmaster at the Sarah Bata Primary School, Nugget Manyima, who had passed on his passion for the subject to the boy, teaching the children about the importance of caring for the environment around them, another of the BCP’s main focal points.
Prosper Bachi, speaking about his son’s achievements, commented: “We as a family are very proud of the Bata family in terms of what they have given to us and also to the community. Bata will always be part of our life, and my son remains very proud of the education and the foundation he received from the Bata school. When he visits Gweru, he will definitely keep in touch with his former school, and encourage others to strive for a better life, which comes with a good education.”
BCP Kenya: 80 Students Gain Firsthand Experience in Work World
BCP partnered with the non-profit organization Junior Achievement for this program. Junior Achievement is dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people for successful futures and inculcating in them a positive work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurship.
The participating students came from four local schools: Limuru Girls’ School, the Starehe Girls’ Centre, and Kanunga and Kiambu Boys’ Schools. BCP Kenya has longstanding relationships supporting the two girls’ schools.
Through BCP and the contribution of 25 employees who volunteered, Bata Kenya was able to host 40 students on each of the two days of job shadowing.
First, the students were given an overview of the company’s history, values, vision, mission, core activities and functions, as well as BCP.
Human resources manager Peter Giathi took the young people through various career paths available at the company and the general job market as it pertains to them. “It is important that you pursue careers that you have passion and love for,” he emphasized. “In this way, you will get joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in your professional lives.”
Product development manager Esther Kute called upon the students to utilize their time in school wisely, as education is the surest way to land a dream career. She encouraged them to gather as much knowledge as possible as they could put it to good future use.
The high school students were then given a guided tour of the factory, and they were very excited to see how shoes are made, especially the back-to-school articles like leather Toughees.
Afterward, the students were spread out among various departments. They were assigned to departmental managers who served as their mentor for the day and allowed the students to observe them as they went about their normal work day.
The students then had lunch with BCP volunteers before resuming job shadowing in the afternoon.
At the end of the day, the students gave their feedback. Most of them showed interest in working at the company when they complete their academic and professional studies.
Ruth Siriba, a participating student from Limuru Girls’ School, conveyed her group’s appreciation for the job shadowing program. “Personally, I have received great career guidance, and I am leaving with new mentors. We hope to come back one day as professionals and be part of the company’s productive workforce. Specifically, I hope to be a designer in the product development department. I really loved the experience.”
Participating employees, for their part, were also positive about the experience. “What a team of budding entrepreneurs!” leather factory manager Stephen Gichuki commented. “Their intelligence levels are also high. The future of our nation is surely bright.”
BCP volunteers will mentor the students at their schools as a follow up to the program.
BCP Zimbabwe: Another Milestone for the Sarah Bata Schools
With unwavering support from the Bata Children’s Program (BCP) and Sarah Bata, Bata Zimbabwe again upheld its commitment to support the empowerment of the Midlands community’s youth through quality education.
The new block of classrooms was built to accommodate up to 60 Form 3 students, and the textbooks were donated to both the Sarah Bata Senior and Junior Schools to share in part with the Ministry of Education.
In attendance were many distinguished guests. Besides the Batas, they included Zimbabwe’s Education Minister Lazarous Dokora; from Bata Brands, Nicole Voillat, Hala Zakhour and Lucia Lot; Bata Zimbabwe country manager Ehsan Zaman and his wife; the Bata Zimbabwe management team; BCP volunteers; the parents of students; and members of the local government such as the mayor of Gweru, a representative of the Ministry of Provincial Affairs, and Midlands Education Director Agnes Gumbo.
The day started with a tour of the Sarah Bata Schools, during which the guests were treated to spectacular performances by the students. The young people recited poetry, sang and, undoubtedly the highlight, did traditional dances.
Another memorable moment during the tour was the impressive presentation by the senior school’s woodworking students, and young Tapiwanashe Maradzi was full of excitement when the minister took him up on his offer to make him a wooden briefcase.
Dokora, Zaman and Mrs. Bata each addressed those gathered.
Dokora thanked BCP and the Sarah Bata Schools for taking a leading role in the implementation of the new curriculum introduced by the government of Zimbabwe early this year. He expressed his optimism in the curriculum’s ability to usher in a new educational paradigm to encourage the emergence of all-rounder students with skills relevant to the current and future economy.
Zaman remarked, “I am so moved by the support and donations of Mr. and Mrs. Bata, the untiring work of BCP, and the support of the government of Zimbabwe and local authorities for the development and upgrading of the Sarah Bata Schools. We at Bata Zimbabwe will continue to uphold our commitment to sustainability and continue to support the schools as they take on the new curriculum.”
And the schools’ patron, Mrs. Bata, enthused the community with her commitment. “I am very much committed and willing to see the schools successfully prepare the learners for their future lives. My husband and I therefore pledge to fund the construction of a multifunction pavilion as part of our effort for adequate facilities for the senior school. I welcome the new curriculum as it focuses on ensuring there is no child left behind through nurturing the talents and interests of each child.”
After their remarks, the minister, Mr. and Mrs. Bata, and Zaman, together with other guests, did a ceremonious ribbon cutting for the Form 3 block of classrooms and officially presented some 10,000 donated textbooks to the minister of education.
The success of the inauguration ceremony was made possible by the committed BCP volunteers who served as ushers and worked tirelessly to organize the event.
BCP Zimbabwe Congratulates Volunteers for Hard Work in 2016
The event, which was attended by Bata Zimbabwe country manager Ehsan Zaman, along with BCP coordinator Bongani Mafuwe and all of the BCP Zimbabwe volunteers, began with a round table introduction session, where every volunteer was given the opportunity to express their ideas and thoughts on how BCP Zimbabwe could improve its impact on the community.
After this, BCP coordinator, Bongani Mafuwe provided a report on the year in numbers. She explained that, in 2016, a total of 1,655 people were assisted through the BCP program in Zimbabwe, thanks to the work of 179 volunteers who participated throughout the year.
She commented: “Let us all be aware that when we do our activities, we understand that we are representing our organization, and therefore we must make it our priority to leave good impressions in all the communities we associate with. It is our duty to uphold the values of the organization, and to continuously build the reputation of this organization.”
David Ngwenya, a 30-year veteran of the company, added: “As BCP, it is one of our many responsibilities to ensure we conscientize the public and our children on the importance of a clean and healthy environment. Therefore, as BCP volunteers, we must see to it that we protect our environment, not only by picking up the litter, but by correcting bad behavior when we see it.”
The luncheon ended with the country manager encouraging the volunteers to perform a skills analysis, in order to continue to promote projects that will make best use of the skills pool. He also highlighted that charity should begin at home, and that BCP should aim to lead by example when taking care of the surrounding community. He also took note of all volunteers’ suggestions on how the program could be improved, and promised to take them all into consideration.
Matching Aspirations and Aptitude to Skills Training for Young Adults
“This partnership between Bata and our training center will help to bridge the skills gap,” said Amon Chapisa, instructor at Mupfure. “The hope is that eventually these students will set up a small business, once they have completed the full two years of training.”
Chapisa has been lecturing in leather and footwear at Mupfure for 15 years. “The course teaches students how to make the full range of products that are made from leather. It is designed to build skills with progressively challenging items. When they get to shoemaking it combines theoretical background with hand-on training that takes them through every stage in the process.”
The partnership with Bata has now given these students access to the real-world training that the course was missing before: “At the start of the project we spent one week at Bata being trained. This was for the full group of six students, along with me, their instructor. When we arrived back we were in a position to start making sandals here in our workshop that can be sold in Bata stores.”
But more importantly, it also gives them access to materials and a sales channel: two aspects that training centers are not in a position to deliver on without private sector support.
Mupfure Training Centre is for students who are 18 years or older and want to train in a profession. The instructors work closely with the students to assess their aptitude and skills and guide them into a field that matches their abilities and interests.
The first team that are part of the footwear training program with Bata is making three varieties of sandals, but the plan is to soon introduce a second team within the same workshop facility and to expand the range of products produced here.
The principal of the Mupfure Training Centre said they worked very closely with Bata to get the project started, particularly on the renovation of the workshop and health and safety requirements. Working with Bata in this kind of private-public partnership is the best way to enhance the center’s training and production, he said.
BCP Malawi Helps to Keep Girls Attending School
Many girls from underprivileged families are absent from school during their menstrual cycle, as they cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins. Alternative homemade products resorted to by the girls include the use of a piece of blanket, old mattress or even banana leaves which often lead to infections. Other girls miss school altogether. Many then drop out of school, unable to catch up on the work they missed, resulting in low literacy levels.
Helping girls attend school through the provision of support resources and tools is one fundamental way of improving the situation in developing countries like Malawi. To this end, volunteers from BCP Malawi, led by Chimwemwe Mandalazi, donated 4,000 reusable pads to 1,000 underprivileged girls from Namiwawa primary school and Chichiri Secondary school in Blantyre.
In Malawi, the retail price of a regular 10-pack of pads starts from 2 U.S dollars, as most of these products are imported. Families in the region have an average of five children, and live on a wage of 1 dollar per day per household, and therefore low-income parents find the cost of these pads prohibitive.
At the donation ceremony, held in January, the girls and their teachers alike showed their appreciation, and one of the beneficiaries, speaking about how the new pads would affect her, commented: “I would like to thank BCP for providing us with the sanitary pads, as most of us used to skip classes when going through our menstrual cycle because we were not equipped.”
In her speech to the students at Namiwawa primary school, Linet Kiguru, country manager of Bata Malawi, spoke to the girls, stating: “You are the leaders, managers and mothers of tomorrow. These pads are a resource to ensure that you are able to attend school at all times, without being ashamed.” The girls all verbally confirmed that they would work hard in school and be the best they could during their school years.
The work of BCP Malawi was also covered on the country’s MBC television station, and in the main newspapers, highlighting the extent of the problem and the importance of the BCP’s involvement in improving the situation. In 2017, BCP Malawi intends to reach out to more girls, as there is a great opportunity to positively impact the girls’ education through suitable sanitation.