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.
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.
Bata Zambia Contributes to National Environmental Program
The event took place at a colorful event held at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School in Lusaka. Bata Zambia was among the major sponsors of the event, which was graced by the President, Prosper Bachi, country manager of Bata Zambia, and many other important guests.
The National Tree Planting Program was launched in January 2013 by the government of Zambia with the aim to plant trees to help promote economic development and alleviate poverty. The program intends to plant a total of 2,000 hectares of exotic tree plantation, as well as community woodlots, in each of the 10 provinces.
Bata Zambia’s sponsorship will make it possible for over 300 trees to be planted.
The program hopes to create 200,000 jobs and increase the productivity of the forestry sector, which will also lead to the alleviation of poverty. Additional benefits include improving protection of ecosystem services, such as watershed management, and increasing the forest area of the country.
Bachi, who led a team of Bata Zambia employees in planting a tree on the day, commented: "This is a very good initiative that the government has embarked on to restore forest cover, and will help us to stabilize our climate and weather pattern, for this reason we decided to support this program of planting three for every tree cut."
Serving the Community Through Entrepreneurial Businesses
“When we opened Malon in October 2011, we were stitching 500 canvas shoes per day,” explained Roderick Rutsvara, owner of the Malon ABU. “Then in 2012, Bata increased production to 3,200 pairs a day, and in 2013 to 5,300. In 2015 we were able to expand even further, adding a new conveyor for leather shoes. So now we have three conveyors in total, two for canvas and one for leather shoes.”
What this means for the community is that Malon is providing an increasing number of job opportunities. So more and more local people are benefiting from the salaries Malon’s employees are earning.
“We feel we are serving the community both through employment and through the training we provide. We can teach someone the basic skills they need to stitch here in six days, and this skill is then an asset to them and their families for the rest of their lives,” Rutsvara commented, adding that 89 percent of employees learned new skills at Malon.
A Malon employee could be supporting five or more members of their family. One of the most experienced stitchers, for example, is a widow who is able to support her entire household: her parents, her younger sister and her sister’s four-year old daughter. At the same time, she is paying fees and costs for her own daughter, who is doing a degree in computer science at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo.
As an ABU, Malon is fully supported by Bata, especially when it comes to machinery, which is all Bata-owned. “As a business, the Associate Business Unit model works well," Rutsvara said. "Economically, things are challenging in Zimbabwe, so if you own a business that is supported, it makes you feel more secure.”
There are two full-time Bata supervisors who are based at Malon, making sure the ABU is operating to the Bata standard and maintaining the Bata values and ethics. This covers all aspects of the stitching process, but also how the employees are treated and what provisions are taken to care for their welfare and the environment.
Health and safety is a key part of this. For example, Rutsvara said, “We recently did a fire drill with the support of a team from Bata. Everyone here was involved and it was really motivational to have this close and supportive connection between the two companies.”
Bata shares best practices and expertise across all areas of the business, empowering ABU owners with the knowledge to be the best business leaders they can be.
Bata Kenya Partners with Wildlife Organization to Help Save Lions
The agreement will see Bata Kenya help care for lions through its Safari brand, and the partnership, dubbed ‘Collar a Lion,’ will be activated through social media using the hashtag #Footprintsforthewild. The partnership between KWS and Bata Kenya will strive to control the conflict between humans and these large carnivores, which has a significant impact on society, particularly this year, where a number of lions have broken out of national parks and entered cities.
The launch of the partnership was attended by Alberto Errico, Bata President for Africa, and KWS director general Kitili Mbathi. Speaking about the new project, Errico stated: “Next year, Safari will donate three million Kenya shillings to Kenya Wildlife Service, which will go toward this partnership. So every pair of Safari boots purchased will contribute toward this amount. Through this donation, we shall not only be enhancing conservation but also helping in boosting tourism, a major revenue earner for the country.”
The funds donated will be used to purchase GPS collars for the lions, which will improve monitoring of the lions’ movements and population by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
For the Safari brand, the partnership will go a long way to enhancing brand visibility through branding of various tourist attraction sites and parks, periodic joint participation in tourism exhibitions, both locally and internationally and World Lion Day celebrations in Kenya. The partnership will also incorporate joint marketing communications in selected stores and parks.
Evelyn Njeri, Safari brand manager, commented: “With the realization of the existence of human-wildlife conflict in the country, the Safari brand decided to step in and work in partnership with the KWS by donating funds to enhance the conservation of lions. Safari resonates with wildlife: the logo encompasses the acacia tree and a lion, which clearly depicts the African savannah.”
News of the partnership was also announced on the website of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
Italian Ambassador Praises BCP Zambia’s Work in Local Community
The Koinonia Muthunzi home is located around 15 kilometers from Lusaka at the heart of the Koinonia community, and provides assistance to over 150 orphaned and vulnerable children, from ages 3 to 19. These children come from low-income families and difficult economic situations, and many of them had previously been abandoned and were living on the street. The center’s staff provide the children with rehabilitation before integrating them into a nearby government school.
The aim of the center is to provide a holistic response to the needs of these children, helping them to become responsible citizens through providing access to education, medical services and human and spiritual development, giving them a chance for a better life. It is able to provide full residential care to up to 70 children at a time, and in many cases aims eventually to reintegrate the children into their families after their stay.
In order to help the center in its valuable work, BCP Zambia donated 100 pairs of shoes and school bags, which were presented to the top students in each class at the community school. The presentation event was attended by 12 volunteers from BCP Zambia, also was graced by the Italian Ambassador to Zambia Filippo Scammacca and Father Kizito, the community priest, along with a number of other guests.
In addition to the donations, the day included a variety of entertainment to show the children’s excitement at the kind gesture from BCP Zambia and the Italian Ambassador.
His Excellency Filippo Scammacca, Italian Ambassador in Zambia, commented: “We are very excited and happy with the work you are doing here and your emphasis on the importance of education for children. We hope that this partnership to better these children’s lives will continue."
The manager of the school Giacomo D’Amelio also showed his appreciation, thanking the volunteers for their support and for coming to visit their children.