For the past couple of months, we have engaged in an aggressive and deliberate effort to engage the community that we work with and serve in Kilifi. Our belief has always been that when we work with the community, the benefits of such a partnership far supersede any corporate social responsibility efforts we might work on. Yes, CSR is important and we undertake CSR activities from time to time. However, partnerships with the community have co-benefits that meet the community at their points of need rather than the points of desire for the company. Even with a clear preference for working with stakeholders in the community rather than blind CSR, the big question is how to engage the community.
There is a significant risk that a business does not appreciate the role of stakeholders as participants rather than beneficiaries of the business process. Businesses that identify and appreciate this differentiation get the most out of stakeholders.
At Green Heart of Kenya, we prefer partnering with the community and working together with them. We enjoy this model because we believe it:
- Enables us to know the specific needs of the community we work in and their intersection with our own business needs.
- Enables us to know the community’s perception of our needs in relation to their interests and participation.
- Facilitates co-design of a working environment where co-benefits and co-challenges are identified and systematically planned for.
- Moves the idea of community-based and locally-customized solutions to the existing challenges closer to the discussion.
- Endears the business as part of the community rather than a mere player looking to benefit from the community.
- Removes the risk of collision or conflict with other external stakeholders engaging the same community because the co-design approach will help us to know about such stakeholders.
All stakeholders within our ecosystem are encouraged to speak to us and provide their feedback. For us, we will work with the stakeholders rather than for them. You become part of us by engaging us. Reach out today.