Proper planning and integration of corporate social investments by both public agencies the private sector backed up by reward system for organizations by the government could spur quick realization of some of the targets in the Big Four agenda.
Several organisations have been spending huge budgets on social investments in areas they are working in, and this if well harnessed and structured could make a significant contribution to the country’s development.
The success of the Big Four plan will largely depend on a efficacious partnership between the national government, corporate Kenya and the county governments where the projects will be.
Thus, the government should come up with guidelines on corporate social investments for the country and a reward system for any organisation that gears some of its CSI towards the Big 4 tough tax rebates, subsidies and or other ways that may inspire corporate Kenya to participate in this national initiative.
The private sector on its part should single out areas in the Big 4 they have the specialisation and expertise in and provide their services through the public private partnerships.
As its today, many of the investments by public agencies and corporates through the corporate social responsibility, though running in millions annually, is not well planned, aligned to national development or community needs.
CSI initiatives can be used to promote development. Even though development is a government agenda, in recent years corporate organisations have vigorously embarked on it and with good cause.
Government should welcome and work closely with corporates on mutually agreed initiatives, through laid down guideline that states what development interventions are necessary and how they should be carried out.
This will work for all parties involved, so that at the end of the day all are happy. The government, through the President’s Big 4 Agenda, has laid out their development agendas and the corporate funders, now have guidelines what the issues are and what may be sustainable in a certain area and thus the community in question have programmes or initiatives that they truly require.
Through lessons learnt over the year, the corporate sector has established that to live in harmony with its hosts, it is better to plough back into the community.
This is where corporate social initiative or responsibility can be traced back to. This initiative has been used largely by profit making corporates to promote development and thus aid governments.
As its today, Corporate Social Investment have not quite hit the mark in relation to development though many corporates including those in the public sector spend a bit time on such activities. The challenge is always that they are not structured and aligned to the big national development goals; they are always taken as tokens.
The distribution of developmental projects is grossly imbalanced based on where a company has its operations. Furthermore, what index do corporates use to measure the level of development? And is there any follow-up after the project or funding is done?
That said, CSI initiatives should not be the silver bullet that will boost the development agenda however it will surely make a difference.
Belinda Mulindi communications specialist