Monday, February 15, 2010

Interswitch invests in CSR with ‘Switch-A-Future’

The management of the pioneer electronic payment transaction and switching company, Interswitch has announced its entrance into the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the introduction of ‘Switch A Future.’

This initiative was launched in partnership with Freedom Foundation, an education focused non-governmental organisation.

Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos, Director, Technology at Interswitch, Mr. Akeem Lawal, said that the aim of the campaign is to touch the lives of Nigerian children who would have never had access to education, by providing them with an education.

Precisely, he explained that each time an Interswitch cardholder uses an Interswitch ATM Verve or Debit card on another bank’s ATM, Interswitch will make a donation to Freedom Foundation and by doing so  ‘Switch A Future’ for a Nigerian child.

According to him, the ‘Switch A Future’ initiative is also designed to examine how the future of Nigerian children is being tragically truncated because they are disadvantaged or orphaned without a care for them.

He also said the campaign would exclusively make use of celebrities as models to demonstrate how bright and promising futures may not have been achieved without some form of educational support.

“The campaign would heighten public awareness and engender the citizenry’s empathy and action to change the plight of Nigerian children who otherwise would have no hope,” he said.

Mr. Lawal pointed out that notable Nigerian celebrities and personalities have consented to be part of the campaign.

These include D’Banji, Zizi Cardow and MI. Others are Basketmouth, Kelechi Amadi, Joke Silver among others.

“These stars have endorsed the ‘Switch A Future’ programme as their contributions to changing lives of the children and would be included in all promotion materials,” he said. 

Equally, the Managing Director, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe was quoted as saying that the campaign would create awareness on the needs of the less privileged children and help Freedom Foundation to raise funds to meet the needs of the less privileged children.

“It would also create an avenue/channel through which members of the public can reach the less privileged in the society and encourage other private organizations to create social campaigns that meet the needs of their various stakeholders,” he said.

On the novel CSR programme, he said “investments in education are never an exercise in futility.

“Education often makes the difference, and with increasing technological advancement, many will find it difficult to operate in the global economy without it,” Elegbe said.

Stressing that education has the capacity to contribute to economic growth and stability of a country and studies have shown that increased levels of education in a country like Nigeria could reduce the outbreak of conflict.

“With education, children have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, even children who wish to pursue the creative arts in the future will find education a definite advantage as have many of the celebrities who have endorsed this programme,” he said.

Elegbe added that since corporate organisations do not function in isolation, some form of corporate giving should be part of a company’s activities, especially in developing societies such as Nigeria.

This is why Interswitch has developed the ‘Switch the Future’ framework, which covers not only corporate philanthropy, but economic, environmental and social responsibility as well.

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