Dangote Cement Marks Host Community Day With Multi-million-naira Empowerment Programmes
•Ibese Plant awards scholarships, empowers youths, women, farmers
Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese Plant, has marked its 2023 Host Community Day in a grand style with the unveiling of four multi-million Naira empowerment schemes targeted at youths, women, farmers and students in the company’s host communities.
At the well attended event witnessed by leading traditional rulers, women and youth leaders from the host communities, 103 indigent and brilliant secondary and tertiary institution students across the 17 host communities were given scholarship awards and another set of 30 youths trained on shoe and bag-making were presented to the delight of the royal fathers.
In the same vein, the management of Dangote Cement Ibese presented 60 Weeding Machines procured for farmers to help them clear their farms with ease, given that the communities are majorly agrarian and crop planting has been their means of livelihood.
Not less than 50 women selected from the host communities were also empowered with deep freezers to help them cope with the prevailing economic challenge in the country. Same number of women were also gifted with ultra-modern grinding machines during the celebration of the maiden edition of the Community Day last year.
Recall that the Cement Company had earlier intervened in a prolonged outage in some of the communities by procuring cables and other materials needed for the restoration of electricity to the affected communities.
Speaking on the occasion held inside the cement plant’s staff estate in Ibese, the Plant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin noted that the company had stepped up its social interventions, given the prevailing challenging situation across the world.
According to him, businesses and families across the world and in Nigeria have been confronted with socio-economic challenges in the year 2023, pointing out that a lot has happened to test the peoples’ and organisations’ resilience and innovation, but that Dangote Cement has been able to weather the storm and remained afloat mainly due to the unalloyed supports received from the host communities.
“The challenges notwithstanding, we are able to continue the upward trajectory in the delivery of our socio-economic development promises, in reciprocation and in line with our commitment to improving the overall wellbeing of our people. We have stepped up our social interventions in our host communities according to their needs and we will not shy away from making the people happy”, he stated.
Mr. Nawabuddin said Dangote Cement’s commitment to the wellbeing and development of its people through intentional empowerment programmes remain unwavering, adding that the management would continue to get better in its stride to fulfill the pact it has with the host communities and to complement the efforts of the Government in improving the standard of living of the people.
Reeling out some social investments carried out during the year, the Plant Director said “this year, we embarked on 23 social investment projects and revamp of ten non-functional CSR projects across the 17 host communities, in line with the thematic focus of DCP’s Social Investments i.e. Education, Health, Infrastructure and Empowerment, and we have so far recorded remarkable progress in their implementations.”
He described the scholarship programme as the oldest of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the plant and added that the scheme, which started with 28 students, has grown to cover 103 tertiary institution students and 17 secondary school students on annual basis.
Noting that the selected students enjoy scholarship up to graduation stage, after which the concerned communities supply replacements, he disclosed that a total of 989 Scholarships have been awarded under the scheme to date with many testaments to the positive impacts on the various communities.
On youth empowerment, the Dangote Cement boss said youths are regarded as a very critical stakeholder group in every society, but expressed regret that it has become impracticable for governments and businesses to meet the employment demand of all the youths.
“Therefore, as a responsible organisation, Dangote Cement, Ibese annually trains and empowers Youths across the host communities in marketable trade areas, with various implementing partners since 2019,” Nawabuddin added.
According to him, “Host community Youths had been empowered in vocations such as Catering and Event Management, Acutherapy, Tailoring and Fashion designing, and Domestic Electrification in the previous years and that this year, no fewer than 30 youths selected from the 17 host communities are being trained on Shoe and Bag-making, with the Industrial Training Fund as the implementing partner.”
On empowerment of the farmers, Nawabuddin stated that the farmers need support to take advantage of the available large span of arable land and that was why Dangote Cement Ibese procured 60 Weeding Machines for the farmer beneficiaries, “as it is becoming increasingly difficult to source labour from the neighbouring Benin Republic as was the usual practice.”
According to him, the farmers have undergone one-day training on the usage and basic maintenance of the tool. The Implementing partner, Equinox, which is also locally sourced to promote local content, also offered to train specially two of the beneficiaries on the repair to guarantee sustainability.
On the decision to empower women, he said explained that Dangote Cement management recognised the important role women play in building families and by extension, the society; thus the company provided a platform for regular engagement with women representatives of the Host Communities tagged ‘Women Assembly’.
“This year, the Company reached out to assess the needs of the Women in our host communities and came up with the request for Chest Freezers to help our people start new businesses and expand existing ones. It is our joy that the proposal has now come to fruition. Fifty (50) lucky women have deep freezers to enhance their businesses”, Nawabuddin stated.
In his goodwill message, the Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Oluwaseyi Mulero thanked the management of Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant for its gesture in impacting their host communities positively, noting that the people are happy and the company should not relent in its social interventions.
While describing the social performance profile of the company as very impressive, the royal father stated that with what Dangote Cement has been doing for the people, it beholves on the community leaders and all the residents to reciprocate and ensure peace reigns for the good of all so that the company can do more.
Oba Mulero said, “much as the people and community leaders are lauding the company for the giant strides in the host communities, I am also enjoining them not rest on their oars. we are still asking for more because all these projects can never be too much for the people. Also, we want the management to consider someone from the host communities to be appointed into management position.
“In all, Dangote Cement has done excellently well, last year we were here when grinding machines were given to our women. Today, it is freezers, the youths and the farmers are not left out. Scholarship for the indigent students, what can we say than pray to God to continue to help Dangote Cement grow more so that they can do more”, the monarch added.
In his goodwill message, the Ogun State Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Adebola Sofela, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Olu Aikulola, commended Dangote Cement for the various interventions in form of empowerment of the people, describing the gesture as a kind of relief to the state government.
Of note, according to him, is the conflict resolution mechanism of the company, which he said has been very effective. He advised the management to sustain it while describing the Chairman of the Company, Aliko Dangote as the most progressive entrepreneur in the country.
Much as the Dangote Cement is a blessing to the people, he enjoined them to maintain peace because it is only in the atmosphere of peace that the company can thrive and help the people more, adding that the Ogun state government would be ready to assist should the need arises.
Oba Kayode Kusoro, the Olu of Aga Olowo in an interview with newsmen described the Community Day as a good one as it affords the people a good opportunity to bond together with the Dangote Cement Ibese management and compare notes on the journey so far.