As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Sahara Group has said it would be dedicating the next phase of its business existence the execution of sustainable development projects, to give back to indigent communities in its various locations around the world.
Executive Director of the energy and infrastructure firm, Tonye Cole, said Sahara Group had, since its inception in 1996, been passionate about giving and serving the people in its area of business.
“As we celebrate 20 years of our existence, I consider it a unique privilege and opportunity to increase our involvement in empowering lives and communities,” Mr. Cole said.
“Sahara Group would work closely with governments and interest groups in countries where we operate, namely the United Nations, European Union, sustainable development goals fund (SDG-F) and other partners to enhance the quest for inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication, food security and access to potable water.”
Mr. Cole said Sahara’s intervention projects would be coordinated by the newly established Sahara Foundation, the Group’s corporate social responsibility vehicle, which would focus on education and capacity building, environment, health and sustainable community development.
“Sahara has so much to be grateful for, having started from very humble beginnings 20 years ago to becoming one of Africa’s leading energy conglomerates. To mark this milestone, Sahara will initiate and support more projects that would help bring the world closer to achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030,” he stated.
“Over the past 20 years, probably the greatest source of inspiration for Sahara is knowing that we have stood as a sure source of inspiration for a generation of young men and women, especially the less privileged of our society.
“By giving them opportunities to fulfil their dreams, nurturing hope and belief in themselves that they can attain any goal they set for themselves, we have seen lives transformed for the better.”
Through its operating entities at various locations in the power, downstream, midstream, upstream and infrastructure sectors, he said the Group has expanded its vision of bringing energy to life from Nigeria to other locations in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
In recognition of its contribution to supporting sustainable development, he said Sahara Group was in 2015 inducted into the private sector advisory board of the SDG-F to enable it continue to play a role in the development for effective global collaboration towards realizing the SDGs.
Mr. Cole said Sahara Foundation would collaborate with the SDG-F and the Kaduna state government to unveil the Food Africa Project aimed at driving economic empowerment and poverty alleviation for over half a million people through food security.
He said the project would identify with the entire food value chain, while keying into the school feeding programme of the state government.
The Foundation hopes to continue working with the Carter Center to tackle the growing menace of water borne diseases at various Internally Displaced Persons camps towards the eradication of guinea worm in Nigeria.
Both organisations, he said, plan to donate boreholes to the camps, while some individuals in the camps would be trained on how to deploy basic toolkits to those trained.
To inspire students from over 50 tertiary institutions across Nigeria to develop sustainable projects in various deprived communities, Sahara Group would be sponsoring a Youth Creativity Challenge – in partnership with Enactus Nigeria.
In 2015, Sahara Foundation reached out to over 50,000 direct beneficiaries through its various projects and initiatives, while about 1500 staff volunteer hours were spent in line with the group’s policy as a core aspect of its Personal and Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) projects.
During the year, the Foundation received several awards for its contribution to the society, namely Down Syndrome recognition award, for contributions towards the upliftment of people with Down Syndrome in Nigeria.
The company also received special recognition in Dubai at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) for contribution to youth empowerment and Great Place to Work Award 2015 – in recognition for efforts at making the world a better place through best practice and excellent track record in Corporate Social Responsibility.
In 2016, Mr. Cole said the students would be required to design projects aimed at providing solutions to certain environmental and health issues in selected communities.
Sahara Foundation is currently working on how the projects would be replicated in other locations across the company is operating around the world, in addition to the development of a project expected to empower ten million youths directly through various engagements.
The foundation will also support more community health awareness campaigns, educational advancement programmes, clean environment projects and capacity building engagements in all its locations.