Procter & Gamble (P&G) has been recognised this week for its contribution to social and economic investment in Africa. The company received the African Leadership Magazine Award for Companies Investing in Africain recognition of its continuedcontribution in the continent.
P&G has been operating in sub-Saharan Africa for over 20 years. It has offices in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa and a strong distributor network to service other markets in the region.
Not only does the company contribute strongly to these countries’ economy through investments in manufacturing plants in the region but it also strives to improve the lives of consumers through its social programmes.
One such programme concerned with drinking water – the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme (CSDW) – is a non-profit initiative that has provided 4.7 billion litres of clean drinking water in 25 sub-Saharan African countries since 2004.
The programme makes use of P&G Purifier of Water packets. These packets are a simple, low-cost intervention that provide clean, drinkable water and can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal disease by an average of 50 percent in communities.
According to Vice President for South Africa and African Growth Markets, Standa Vecera, the company is committed to such projects as it believes that it has a responsibility to give back to the communities in which it operates.
“Every day nearly 1,600 children die from water-borne diseases, more than from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined – a real life tragedy in this day and age,” said Vecera .
“Our goal is to save one life every hour in the developing world by providing 2 billion litres of clean water each year through the P&G CSDW Program.”
Water projects are not the only initiative that the company is involved in on the continent. P&G reaches more than 2.5 million moms and 1.2 million girls through its health and hygiene education programmes.
It has also donated the equivalent of over 25 million tetanus vaccines to UNICEF to vaccinate mothers and their babies in 20 countries which has helped to eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus in 11 countries including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Through the Always Care Programme P&G employs professional nurses to educate over 1.2 million girls yearly on feminine hygiene and puberty. The Always Keeping Girls in School programme supports a further 40 000 underprivileged girls in South and East Africa with the donation of sanitary towels as well as puberty education and motivation to stay in school and complete their education.
In Nigeria the Always UNESCO program is helping to empower young Nigerian girls and women with basic literacy skills. This project will reach 60,000 disadvantaged women and girls over a two year period and build capacity of almost a thousand programme facilitators in the process.
Going forward P&G will partner with the United States Government and other public and private sector entities in support of the goals of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
Along with its social investment programmes, P&G is also having a positive impact on the economies where it operates. Its investment and operations in the region have generated over 6000 direct and indirect jobs in Sub Sahara Africa and hundreds of SMEs.
P&G’s capital investment in the region runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. Its recent announcement of new manufacturing facilities in Nigeria and South Africa brings its cumulative investment to $450MM, making it the current largest US investment in the industry within the region.
The company has taken an approach that seeks to customise products for each market. Says Vecera: “We innovate and design products with the African consumer in mind. For example our Ariel washing powder is formulated to remove strong African food stains in one wash.
Our Always pads give eight hour superior protection empowering girls to live their lives and receive an education while they are menstruating and our Pampers disposable diapers with its super absorbent core enables babies sleep through the night promoting their health and wellbeing.
“We are committed to the growth and development of the continent and delivering superior products to our consumers,” Vecera said.