Corporate companies are in a position to make a real difference in society. At Island Hospice & Healthcare (Island) in Zimbabwe, our corporate partners and donors are incredibly generous despite the fragile economic situation we face as a country.
At our 39th Annual General Meeting in September we announced to donors, partners, staff, volunteers and friends that Island had seen an increase of 68% in local funding compared to the previous year. This is in spite of the difficult economic situation which worsened over the same period. Many were surprised about this development, and I have to confess that initially I was as well!
The private sector do not have to support charities. It is tempting when there is little money, time and resources to draw in, close ranks and say: “we have to survive.”
It is uncomfortable, but generosity at such times is what is critically needed for organisations such as ours. At Island we remain grateful and inspired by the generosity of the Zimbabwean business community despite the situation on the ground.
One powerful example is of internet service provider ZOL. This corporate has for several years provided our Harare branch with free and fast internet services. Over the past two years, Island has brought all four of its branches under one umbrella. This expansion has improved our service delivery and referral network which ultimately supports more Zimbabweans in need of our services, but it has also raised our cost of doing business.
Specifically our communication and travel costs have been rising. To curb this we approached ZOL and they agreed to generously extend their fast internet services to all four of our branches. The fast internet has enabled seamless meetings across all branches. This has cut down on travel and communication costs considerably.
Island’s Finance and HR Manager had this to say about the facility: “The fast internet has cut down on my travel time. To give you a recent example, a few weeks ago, I video conferenced into two interviews each held in separate cities – Bulawayo and Mutare – to support my colleagues with the recruitment process of a key position.
“These cities are at opposite sides of the country and travelling for the interviews would mean that I would have had to be away from my desk and spend 2 – 3 days out of office. The costs for Island if I had travelled would include my time, fuel, accommodation and a flight! The money we are saving from this is being channelled towards our much-needed core business of providing palliative care.”
One Island staff member from Marondera branch had this to say: “It has made our lives easier by allowing us to conduct all staff meetings from our branches instead of travelling to Harare. This has created more time for us to see our patients.”
The finance department weighed in and said that they had calculated that the savings made as result of the donation are enough to buy a month’s supply of morphine for five patients!
With so few resources available for palliative care globally, the generosity of corporates is essential in fragile economies such as Zimbabwe to delivering quality services.
Image: Support from internet service provider, ZOL, enables Island staff at different locations throughout the country to conference call instead of spending precious budget on travel expenses.
You can donate to support the important work of Island Hospice and Healthcare via Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/island-hospice-and-healthcare/
Make sure you visit the Island Hospice and Healthcare website to keep up to date with their work.