Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the collaborative campaign kickstarted by Sahara Group tagged #SavingAMillionLives is a call to action to prioritise all and every effort to combat the effects and spread of COVID-19 through empowerment of communities with healthcare, resources and opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought immeasurable uncertainty and distress to communities across the globe. Yet even amidst the grief and despondence there are stories of great hope that underline the power of collaboration and bring reassurance that the road ahead will be smoother if we work together.
Over the last two months, stories of collaboration and positive action through vulnerable communities across the world continent have lifted spirits on countless occasions. Many of these have been led across the African continent by the Sahara Foundation, the Corporate Citizenship vehicle of leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group.
Beginning in March, Sahara Group introduced a collaborative campaign called #SavingAMillionLives. The campaign has resonated like a call to action across the group to prioritise all and every effort to combat the effects and spread of COVID-19. It is a simple and effective message that is driving the Sahara’s interventions on the African continent. The quest to save ‘a million lives’ is representative of any and every action geared towards ensuring more lives are saved from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign includes empowering communities with healthcare, resources and opportunities now and in the future as the world seeks to halt the spread and devastating impact of the COVID-19. The initiatives that the Sahara Foundation have led do not only inspire for the benefits they have brought today, but for the sustainability and engagement example they set for tomorrow.
Sahara Group’s #SavingAMillionLives response is predicated on collaboration, a factor that has inspired Sahara Foundation’s partnerships in the equipping of isolation centres and reaching out to the vulnerable in the society to help the African continent cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic.
According to Temitope Shonubi, Executive Director, Sahara Group, the severity of the crisis has shown that no single mind or pair of hands would be sufficient to meet the challenge.
“We are so grateful to the patience, commitment and diligence of the Sahara Group family, many of whom have been personally involved in our crisis response, readily volunteering to assist in various capacities through our work in Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire Nigeria and across the African continent.
“Each has contributed immeasurably and deserves every credit for delivering our shared effort to save a million lives. We are involved very aggressively in Europe as well, especially in Geneva where we operate. We have learnt that this is not a local or national or continental war, this is a global war and we have used all our global resources to fight it. Because, if this consumes mankind there will be nothing to live for,” he affirms.
Across Africa where communities are more disparate and living conditions can vary dramatically, Sahara’s campaign continues to bring succour to the vulnerable – providing and sustaining oxygen supplies for hospitals in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, donating dry and cooked food to over one million beneficiaries, face masks, hand sanitizers and relief materials to communities where Sahara’s power affiliates (Ikeja Electric, Egbin Power and First Independent Power Limited), upstream and other Sahara affiliates operate across Africa.
In Zambia, Asharami Energy Limited Company donated tens of thousands of hand-made fabric/Chitenge masks to shore up access to PPE and slow the spread of the virus. The company also publishes materials in English, Bemba, and Nyanja to facilitate the dissemination of information about the pandemic. In Kenya, Asharami Synergy Limited donated thousands of five litre jerrycans of hand sanitizers, whilst oxygen has been donated to hospitals in Ghana as well as Cote d’Ivoire to boost life support operations.
Sahara’s Downstream entity, Asharami Synergy working in collaboration with other members of the Depot and Petroleum marketers Association not Nigeria (DAPMAN) is providing support towards the completion and equipping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Hospital in Abuja.
The challenge has been enormous, but the response has been equal to it. For Shonubi, the enthusiasm for the collaborative efforts that have been witnessed across the globe should give the world a lot to cheer about. “We have seen different individuals and businesses respond quickly to the threat posed by the virus, especially healthcare personnel and other responders who are working night and day to save and protect as many lives as possible. I am immeasurably proud of the humanitarian work thatthe world has achieved at this time and believe that Sahara’s #SavingAMillionLives campaign will inspire many more acts of selfless devotion, collaboration and generosity in the face of great adversity.”
As pan-African Group with global footprint, Sahara Group through the Sahara Foundation has already delivered more than 500 projects with more than 2,000,000 beneficiaries in communities across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Sahara Group worked quickly to identify opportunities to support communities throughout their work across the African continent and in many of the worst-affected areas.
While the path ahead to recovery may be strewn with uncertainties, the response of companies like Sahara Group show that collaboration remains a strong tool for navigating through the pandemic. There is a sense of optimism that acts of kindness and teamwork can inspire in times of great uncertainty. In the words of Shonubi, “This crisis could never have been foreseen and its effects have been daunting; but our response is ours to define, and our #SavingAMillionLives campaign will not only protect the lives of millions but empower them too.”
On his take on businesses like Sahara who are committing resources to saving lives in spite downward reviews in their profit forecasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shonubi says the business of saving lives remains the most important business. “At Sahara, saving lives is part of the reason why we exist. We are passionate about being continuously MAD, that is making a difference in improving the life of mankind. While it is ironic that a company that might have lost money is still giving to causes geared towards saving lives, this sums of the purpose of Sahara, being a tool that can be used to bless mankind. This is Sahara’s overarching purpose, the very essence of our presence and probably the reason why Sahara will be around for a long time to come and achieve sustainable successes,” he adds.