“The difference between doing good and being good at what you’re doing.” – by Andrew Mahiga
Being a country that is just sinking its teeth into capitalism, it is safe to say that social responsibility whether its corporate or on a individual level, is still a new ideology to most of Tanzania. I can go as far as saying that Tanzania was more socially responsible during our socialist days when we were under the government of our first president the late President Julius Nyerere. There was a stronger sense of the “This is my brother/sister, we are from the same place therefore we must all lift each other up or no one gets lifted” mentality.
Today we see companies giving out educational material, building water pumps, supplying food and basic necessities to places of need etc. but are they really being socially responsible or are they for a lack of a better term “Spending their leftover budget” for auditing purposes and tax exemption? I’ll let you decide.
To me being socially responsible – whether on an individual or corporate level – means not only doing something good for society but making sure that the people you help can help themselves even when you stop doing that good for them. Sustainability is key. That is what good social responsibility is to me.
But the social responsibility picture in Tanzania is not as grim as I may be making it look. There are companies such as Vodacom Tanzania (through The Vodacom Foundation) and Helvetic Solar that conduct socially responsible and sustainable business that not only put money in their pockets but empowers otherwise to improve their lives.
Tanzanians are becoming very innovative in their business ideas and are noticing the void that currently exists in socially responsible business and this void is getting filled very quickly. It is an exciting time to be living in Tanzania and I am optimistic about the direction we are heading.
by Andrew Mahiga