Retirement Fund decentralises social duty
RFS Managing Director Tilman Friedrich says the strategy draws staff and directors closer to the company, and gives the company a more accurate reflection of the needs of society, as seen through the eyes of its human assets.
Talking about the approach, Friedrich said that the company placed a high value on making a contribution to societal well-being, however discussions on the particular sphere of social responsibility did not yield consensus, as staff and directors reflect the diversity, and the diverse needs of Namibia.
As the social responsibility is viewed in a company wide light by RFS, and should have an impact on the sense of well-being of all staff members, the strategy allows all staff members who participate to provide for the needs of others in a way that is meaningful to them.
Friedrich said that projects have included donations of Apples for Cancer to school feeding programmes, support for a workshop on wheelchairs for wheelchair-bound people, gifts for the elderly in old age homes and sponsorships for groups of staff participating in walks. He also mentioned RFS director Günter Pfeifer’s donation to the Okanti Foundation which raises finance for children in need of major medical procedures, and director Marthinuz Fabianus’ donation of classroom furniture to a school in the north.
RFS also supports Projekt Lilie, a well-known initiative which supports schools that offer education in the German language by rewarding excellence in the classroom. Friedrich’s philosophy in this regard is that every teacher retained in the profession is a gain for Namibia’s education system!
He said that the company had also sponsored a number of sporting initiatives, particularly school soccer, but also wrestling, gymnastics, martial arts and horse riding. These sponsorships, Friedrich said, reflect the importance placed by staff on sports and physical fitness, mirroring Namibia’s own emphasis on the field.Talking about fragmentation of the social responsibility budget, Friedrich said it was an initial concern, however staff members were also expected to give hands-on time to the projects and that, in addition to their own personal time, time was also given during working hours. This, he said, forged longer term bonds on the part of staff, that endured beyond the budgeted time and money for the portion of the initiative by RFS.
He said RFS sees social responsibility as complementing facet of personal development, alongside formal and on-the-job training. Staff members are encouraged to explore the needs of others and interact, in order to be more responsive to broader needs.