AkzoNobel’s community service efforts reach out to people across the globe. These endeavours, driven by the heart yet bearing the Company’s characteristic imprint of excellence, have resulted in several stories of success and fulfilment. Akzo Nobel India works with mothers and children, farmers and NGOs, on a wide spectrum of issues, encompassing health and hygiene, education, environment and so on. The joy of giving (be it their time, other resources or skills) has translated into many happy moments for all employees.
As corporate citizens, ANI entered the interiors of Maharashtra to work with below-poverty-line farmers to help them develop barren land. The Company collaborated with the Department of Botany (RJ College) so that it could assist the farmers in planting fruit-bearing trees and also help them with inter-farming techniques. This project won an award for being the best community practices project, within AkzoNobel, globally. The motivated team is working on a water harvesting project on the same land.
Extending a helping hand to street children at the Jan Vikas Society for Boys was another project that has provided great satisfaction to all involved, especially when one of these boys was employed by the RD&I centre at ANI’s Thane factory. The Company is also associated with Balikashram, a centre for girls at Vaduz, where its employees have renovated the dormitory, thus ensuring that the girls are provided basic, hygienic and healthy living conditions. And, at Snehalaya, an organisation for children with disabilities, ANI has painted the building and donated towards the construction of the school’s skills centre.
The Begur Health Care Centre that ANI runs in Bangalore concentrates on general health. It is a community programme that reaches out to four villages consisting of around 1,000 people in each village. About 400 ANI employees have worked there as volunteers since the inception of the project. The Company has helped with the construction of a government school classroom in Cholappanahalli, a small village about two kilometres from its factory. It has also initiated a vocational training programme on industrial painting at its Bangalore site.
Realising the importance of reaching out to mothers and assisting in pre-natal, post-natal and infant care, women employees at the Bangalore site started a unique women’s welfare programme. They began by conducting a survey in the nearby villages to estimate the target audience. The first medical camp was held in October 2011. So successful was this endeavour that it has been extended to orphanages, old age homes and youth vocational training centres. It includes saving animals and birds from extinction. In addition, a thousand Neem saplings have been planted in the Hoskote industrial area and a dormitory and play area built at Siragu Montessori School in Chennai. A team consisting of employee volunteers worked extensively in raising contributions to construct a new building for a rural school—Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya, in Navi Mumbai.
These CSR activities have, besides increasing employee integrity and responsibility, helped employees take ownership and develop leadership qualities, thus promoting entrepreneurial thinking. And, behind it all, is the backing of AkzoNobel, an organisation that believes in creating opportunities and changing lives. This is highlighted in its investment in the AkzoNobel Art Foundation, which supports community programmes and projects around the world; an ongoing one involves art conservation in the ancient monasteries of Ladakh—another project that comes straight from the heart!