Ramadan is a month of giving and sharing, the rewards for which are greatly multiplied this season. Every year, Muslims around the world indulge in charitable activities and initiatives in an attempt to help the needy and ease their sufferings, as well as in the fulfillment of the religious obligation associated with one of the tenets of Islam i.e. zakat (almsgiving). This year, the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the resulting economic downturn is affecting the most vulnerable sections of society, calling for acts of greater generosity and kindness.
W7Worldwide recently ran a poll on Twitter to get insights into the corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans of companies in the Kingdom this Ramadan.
The poll asked “What are your CSR plans during Ramadan?” and generated a total of 2,411 votes in both Arabic and English. Around 26.3% of respondents in the English poll and 23% of respondents in the Arabic poll said they are “partnering with NPO (a non-profit organization)/ NGO (non-government organization).”
Around 38.6% of voters in English and 21.4% of voters in Arabic said they are “working in communities.”
More than half of the respondents in Arabic (55.6%) said they are doing both – partnering with an NPO/ NGO as well as working in communities. Meanwhile, 35% of the participants in English also said they are doing both.
The poll results suggest that a majority of the companies in Saudi Arabia have their heart in the right place when it comes to upholding their social responsibility as they want to do the best they can and benefit as many people as possible by working with other organizations as well as by taking it upon themselves to get to know the communities they operate in and contribute toward them.
Indeed, a number of big and small firms in the Kingdom have made contributions worth millions of riyals to various philanthropic organizations. In what is the need of the hour, many, including telecom companies, energy firms, Saudi banks, etc., have donated to the Ministry of Health’s Health Endowment Fund, to support the efforts of the Saudi government in tackling the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, like every year several companies have involved themselves in the distribution of iftar meals and food kits to the poor and needy.
Aramco, for example, has donated SR200 million ($53 million) to the Health Endowment Fund to contain the virus. The money is being used to provide ventilators in hospitals. Moreover, its employees have raised around $1.7 million to support vulnerable people through the provision of basic foodstuffs, preventative equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer, and educational materials. Aramco said it will match that figure, bringing the total raised to $3.4 million of essential supplies to be distributed to 20,000 households in 15 cities across the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Jarir Marketing Company announced a commitment of SR20 million ($5.3 million) toward the Health Endowment Fund, in addition to distributing 10,000 new tablets and laptops to enable e-learning for needy students during the lockdown period.
As part of its CSR program, SADAFCO also pledged SR10 million toward the Health Ministry’s Health Endowment Fund.
Dettol and its Saudi distributor Arabian Trading Supplies (ATS) have offered products worth $1 million (SR3.75 million) to support frontline health workers in the Kingdom.
These are just some of the praiseworthy examples of the social responsibility initiatives taken up by companies in Saudi Arabia to support local communities and governmental initiatives driving social welfare and preserving community health and wellbeing.