Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

The last month of our internship

This week has been filled with administrative odds and ends. Its fun to do these things because it gives me a break from doing research and sitting behind the computer all day, which often takes its toll on the body. Our research on Change and Communications Management toolkits is going great and Mpho helps me a lot. This is the task we have been given right at the beginning of our internship and every now and then, between all the other tasks we have been given, we will sit down and concentrate on this work.

I’m very excited for next week. We are invited to a seminar on Change and Communications Management with our other supervisor, Michele Wickham. A couple of weeks ago she went to a worldwide conference on this specific topic in Colorado and is going to give us the feedback on Tuesday.

I’ve have loved working life so far. My daily routine never gets tedious and seeing friends for a quick drink after work is also great. Most of my friends work so all of us know that time is precious with your friends. I was also told the novelty of working life will wear off but so far I’m still enjoying every moment.

Monday, June 19, 2006

 

CSI - Corporate Social Investment

Congratulations to all of those who are busy with their internships and those who have found a permanent job. But I must say I couldn’t expect anything less from our class. We all worked very hard to benefit from the training we have received.

I just want to give some information through to specifically Cyrille and also anybody who finds Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) an area of interest. To me its not only an area of interest but also an area of necessity for the South African economy and the companies who adopt this way of working.

I found great articles from my supervisor at work, Fiona McDonald, who is actually a consultant for Rand Merchant Bank. And part of her consulting is Corporate Social Responsibility. She gave me a journal to do some extra reading on the topic. It is called “Above Board – Africa’s Global Chronicle on Governance, Leadership and Ethics”. Fiona wrote an article on the importance of CSI and CSR called “The (Social) Butterfly Effect”. This article expresses the nature of these areas and explains that if companies invest in these two areas, the society who will benefit from this will in turn invest into South Africa’s economy, which in turn will increase, like Fiona says, the ‘brand position’ of the company. Here is a short extract from her article to explain it better:

“Investment in education, skills development, healthcare, literacy, child care, HIV/Aids, gender abuse and the like builds a society that can participate more effectively in the economy.

In doing this, we create more skilled employees, more consumers, a healthier nation with a longer lifespan – the ripple or butterfly effect – thus contributing to the economy for a longer period of time, and in a more valuable manner. And all the while, the brand position of the organisation is being enhanced.”
The Johannesburg Securities Exchange has a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index to identify which companies invest socially. This Index assists the JSE in choosing which company to invest in. Companies are ranked according to their achievements with regards to CSI and CSR. The JSE explains the bacground and selection criteria on their website at www.jse.co.za/sri/docs/Background%20and%20Criteria.final.06%2010%2003.pdf.

I thought you, Cyrille, might find this journal very interesting, and also the JSE website could give you more information so that you can incorporate this knowledge with your internship. There is still so much to say about this topic. And I do still think that many companies have not yet realised what a positive impact CSI will have on them and on the South African society as a whole. I think the whole process of the JSE SRI Index should be more publicised and companies who are part of the Index should be praised even more. What do you think could be done to increase investors and society’s interest?

Thanks to those who are still keeping this team blog running. Its great to see what everybody has to say and the interesting ideas and information coming through.

Monday, June 12, 2006

 

The World Of Work 2006 Team

I’d like to continue from Mpho’s comments about women in the workplace. A good place to start is to shout out that our own Zanele Mdoda (intern 2006) organised "Take a girl to work" at De Beers!

There doesn’t seem to be a call for us to run into burning buildings or march as South African women did in 1956 when they protested against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act which required women to carry pass- books. South Africa has much to be proud of in the emancipation of women from the paternalistic mindset of apartheid. Most of the assumptions of chauvinism are at least adequately discredited to ensure they get little public exposure.

Girls are growing up with national role models who attest to their freedom to dream of success - as an academic, like Mamphela Ramphele; as a scientist, like Wits University mathematician Mamokgethi Setati; as a pilot, like Asnath Mahapa, or Transnet Group CEO Maria Ramos who has shattered glass ceilings in some sectors of South African business.

But the news is not all good.

As you point out Mpho, women bear the brunt of the Aids pandemic, it is women who routinely pick up the pieces of shattered relationships and bravely raise their children with little or no help from men who refuse to take responsibility for their offspring.

In the words of one woman activist: 'We are more than half the world's population, and we are the mothers of the other half.' As mothers and carers, as producers and farmers, the work of women supports their families and communities. Yet, throughout Africa and indeed the world, the poorest people in the community are predominantly women and their dependent children. Women, on the whole, often work for no pay at all and, if they are paid, they usually earn far less than men. Two-thirds of the illiterate people in the world are women and in Africa they are more than 50%. Women face increasing levels of violence, because of their gender, and half a million women world-wide die each year as a direct or indirect result of pregnancy.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a pregnant woman with a child on her back and a twenty litre container of water on her head is certainly not weak, but I don’t think we African women have done enough since August 9, 1956 when some 20 000 women joined in the march for their rights, singing "You have struck the women, you have struck a rock." I don’t think we as African women have said anything with such passion since that time.

I think a good place to start, would be to start small. The list for the 100 Best South Africans has apparently been scrapped. I think that’s a good thing. I think we are intimidated by big names, words and deeds. So much so that we don’t appreciate how important it is to do small things and thereby contribute. Greeting people on the street, not buying stolen goods, recycling waste, not drawing the curtains when you hear signs of abuse next door, or simply giving the guy with the cardboard at the robot a smile, is as important as launching a programme to eradicate poverty. Another good place to start would be to value work that women do beyond and outside of the commercial arena.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

 

Gone for a learning experience

In the last comment I left in Celeste’s blog I promised two posts on the globalization debate by addressing in one the good side and the bad side in the other blog. I do apologize for not keeping that promise because this was another opportunity for creating rooms for more debate in this blog. My focus during the last two weeks was a little bit far from that topic but I will be working on that very soon

As for this post, there is something that I picked from Yoliswa and Mpho on their posts of last week. It relates to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is my current focus.

Indeed, there is a growing concern in national and international debates as to how companies should respond to social and environmental issues in the environment they operate. Many governments’ policies are more and more prone to that and corporations are also committing to that. The idea behind is sustainable development, which is defined as development that meets the needs of present generations without threatening the needs of future generations.

The reason why this is my present area of interest is that I got an internship with Central African Gold, a mining company with some of its operations in some francophone countries such as Mali, and the DRC. Part of my internship responsibilities there is to advice the company on social and environmental concerns that relate to their activities. Mostly, how the company can contribute towards achieving the goals of sustainable development and promote social well-being and community development where it has operations.

What I liked most is that this responds to my expectations of gaining some practical exposure to a diverse environment, the case here French and English cultures alike, people with diverse background, etc. The other thing that makes me happy is the expectation of being assigned some tasks related to development and poverty alleviation. The ride is quite interesting, the environment convivial and I feel very happy about this learning opportunity.

I just hope that this soccer world cup is not going to take all my spare time and prevent me from blogging!

Friday, June 09, 2006

 

Women emancipation

Some could argue that the status of women is still not well presented in the workplace spectrum and other spheres of life in most African countries. It is also evident that the problem that women face today differs from the problems that they faced in the yester years.The problems that South African women faced then in the1950s can be described as “trivial” matters in today’s times because then they had problems such as housing, food prices, and permits. In this era South African women are faced with a wide range of issues such as poverty, domestic violence, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, unemployment gender discrimination, etc.

It is when facing such situations that women stand up for themselves within the community to take up these challenges. South African history notices that women from all backgrounds have been the building block for transformation. Women in the township especially have been very active in fighting some of the problems they face. Through the movements that they form such as “stockvels”, women have really been a source of courage for the various communities. In most HIV/AIDS programs you find women from all spheres of life-rich to poor, coming together to fight AIDS. Foreign countries have lauded South African women for this.

Just to kill the old adage,” a women’s place is in the kitchen”, women have really taken steps to show that “their place is everywhere”. We now see them taking centre stage in careers that were believed to be for male-only. South Africa has a good presentation of women in their government cabinet. In addition, through programmes such as “take a girl to work,” girls are given an opportunity to explore different careers and to really experience for a day how it feels to work in various jobs. This is very encouraging because these girls will be focused in achieving their career goals beyond high school qualifications.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

Wired Magazine lets you in on the secrets of how to be a blogger

Build a Great Blog With WordPress


Want
to create a professional-looking blog? In this beginner-level tutorial,
Tim Ziegler shows how easy it is to set up a custom WordPress blog
using templates, tags and a little bit of code. In Webmonkey.

This snippet lifted unedited from Wired News.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?