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Leadership, ownership commitment can help get rid of poverty and boost CSR steps

Leadership, ownership commitment can help get rid of poverty and boost CSR steps

Internship is the best scheme to lift Pakistan’s skill development
Corporate sector must take right steps for the growth of CSR activities

Interview with Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala — a leading philanthropist

PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:

Rafiq Rangoonwala: I am associated with food business for last 40 years. I started my career with KFC in Houston, worked in Caribbean looking after English speaking islands, later on was transferred to Middle East as Market Director of KFC, MENA Region. Later I moved to Pakistan at the end of 1999 as CEO of KFC till 2014. Also managed brands, like Pizza Hut, Hardees, Burger King, Harry Ramsden, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, etc.

PAGE: Kindly share with us the CSR activities of your organization during COVID 19:

Rafiq Rangoonwala: Firstly we did awareness session with all our employees across the country, briefed them on the importance of following SOPs established by the government. Secondly, we have been doing counselling sessions with the employees who have come under stress due to the prevailing situation, either mental fatigue due to bombardment of negative coverage of COVID-19 and or someone in the family was affected.

PAGE: How much amount should FMCGs allocate for CSR activities and poverty alleviation?

Rafiq Rangoonwala: It all depends from company to company. In my opinion this is determined based on the commitment of the owners or the leadership of these organizations. The more committed they are, the higher the spending is. Some multinational companies have a minimum percentage of sales fixed for CSR as part of the policy. In my opinion, the important part is not the amount but how and where it is spent. Is it given to NGOs or company spends on its own to fulfill certain obligations or to say we care. Until and unless the top leadership takes ownership and personally gets involved with time and attention, it is a mere compliance.

 

PAGE: Which areas in our country do you think need more CSR activities by the corporate sector?

Rafiq Rangoonwala: Poor under-developed countries like Pakistan need help and attention across the board, be it education, health, Provision of clean water, a certain disorder specific services, vocational training etc. With the population increasing by seconds, the government be it federal or provincial can only do so much. Companies need to do brainstorming and develop a proper business plan, identifying the need of the community, their own resource, cause close to their hearts and the initiatives that would affect their own employees and their family first and then the community at large. Regardless of how large the company is, there is so much one can do. That’s why identifies the area (s) and allocate the resources accordingly. In simple words, do less projects, donate to fewer organizations, but do it right.

PAGE: What must the corporate sector of Pakistan do for the skill development programs to tackle poverty in Pakistan?

Rafiq Rangoonwala: Internship is the best initiatives but the program has to be effective. Unfortunately, some organizations take those interns as a burden or free labor to do the menial work. There should be a detailed program for the interns based on the department they are assigned to which should identify the objective and the KPIs to determine if the interns actually benefited from their time spent in the organizations.

Companies can also spend their financial and human resource in helping those organizations which provides vocational training and job placements with designing their training programs, helping them with latest technology and sharing the industry’s best practices. It should just not stop there, but the organizations should assign a senior person from their team to follow up and monitor the progress.

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