Africa’s growth potential starts with its children
According to the World Health Organisation, the early childhood period is considered to be the most important developmental phase in our lives. What happens to a child in the early years is critical for their developmental trajectory and life course. Numerous initiatives have been carried out across many of Standard Bank’s markets. Giving back to people and the communities that support us is important to our people and we can find no better way to give back than investing in children.
Our partnership with General Electric (GE) and the opening up of children’s hospitals in South Africa and Kenya is evident that our investment starts early in a child’s life. Understanding that healthcare is crucial to this continent is important to us and numerous smaller initiatives have taken place where staff choose to raise money, such as Stanbic Bank Ghana coming to the aid of a baby with a hole in its heart.Our female employees using the power of mentorship to encourage young girls to stay in school and to be powerful agents of change.In Malawi, we partnered with UNICEF to establish a girl mentorship program which encourages girls to continue with their education. Targeted at girls between the ages of 8 – 15, female employees of the Stanbic Bank Malawi act as role models in a country where 57% of girls enrolled in school drop out before they reach secondary school.
A 2- day hackathon held in Ghana was supported by the bank at the Kwame University of Science just recently. Empowering and promoting young, talented app developers and encouraging idea generation is key to problem solving.Stanbic Bank Zambia’s Personal and Business Banking team share their day with the Bauleni Special Needs Project and make a donation of K60,000 of much-needed items for its school.When it comes to giving back to the community, our staff in Zambia reached out to Bauleni Special Needs School with donations of much needed school items. Included in that donation was a shower wheelchair for children who have mobility issues. This will go a long way in ensuring the comfort and safety of the user in the shower. The Bauleni Special Needs Project seeks to create an enabling environment for the most marginalised and vulnerable young people in the country and this touched the hearts of the staff in the country who wanted to be a part of that.
Donations are one thing. But in South Africa, investing in the professional development of ECD practitioners is recognised as the single most effective measure that can be introduced to improve educational outcomes. However, changing the teaching style of most educators can be difficult, it needs intense classroom support and takes time. In 2015 in SA, we invested R15 million in the training of ECD practitioners to ensure children are given the best start to their education.
Childhood education will continue to be one of Standard Bank’s key focus areas. We believe that realising Africa’s growth potential begins with an understanding of the needs of its people and we remain committed to the progress and prosperity of this continent we call home.