Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at Brand Spur urges businesses to revise their corporate social responsibility initiatives in order to support marginalized communities during coronavirus.

• Why is it important to develop a cohesive corporate social responsibility attack plan? How can you help strengthen food security in more impoverished nations with improved corporate social responsibility?

• Find coronavirus response efforts to support.

The battle against the virus will be won or lost in the poorest communities, which are most vulnerable to COVID, and it’s a long-term struggle. In deploying solutions and support, businesses should focus particularly on those being left behind, such as poor rural farmers.

Most Africans live precariously at $1.90 a day. In Nigeria, 90 million people live in extreme poverty. Sixty per cent of the continent’s population live in overcrowded and unsanitary urban slums. Here the social distancing needed to fight COVID-19 is impossible to enact, and informal sector workers balk against lockdowns which bar them from eking out a living.

I have seen that businesses’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives tend to be small-scale, individual efforts. These activities do not address challenges in a holistic way or bring the breadth of resources and expertise needed.

Momentary humanitarian assistance has value in light of immediate food security challenges. But CSR programming and investment should focus on strengthening the food value chain from its roots in mainly rural farms to the table.

Businesses can through both CSR initiatives and investments:

  • expand financing opportunities for the farmers
  • create access to appropriate training in agricultural best practices
  • investing in logistics, transportation and storage systems
  • enable greater access to retail markets at fair prices.

This refocusing of attention and resources can enable Africans to make it out of the current food security crisis and build resilience towards a sustainable future. The coronavirus crisis teaches us that it is essential for companies to take a long-term view and systemic approach to addressing poverty, to forge new corporate alliances and inclusive business models for the common good, and to disrupt and transform failing systems of public service provision and value creation.

Read the full article about corporate social responsibility at Brand Spur.