ONE of Africa’s biggest financial institutions, Ecobank Zimbabwe, has pulled all strings to ensure that some local schools have access to clean and safe drinking water as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The bank donated seven drinking water tanks to the City of Bulawayo-run Sigombe Primary School in Nkulumane suburb during its annual commemoration event last Saturday. Ecobank has on-going charity projects at the school where it also runs a scholarship programme that pays school fees for 10 pupils.
The financial institution, which has branches in 36 countries on the continent, also gave a special gift to Chitungwiza Hospital where it sourced $4 000 that was used to purchase various medical sundries and sanitation supplies.
Another charitable footprint was at Mutoko’s Mother Peace Children’s Home, which received groceries and is also set to get a borehole. Speaking during the handover of the water tanks at Sigombe, Ecobank Zimbabwe head of commercial banking, Mr Johnson Mahanya, said their water and sanitation initiative was an annual feat that celebrates the bank’s entrance on the African continent.
“Every year when we celebrate Ecobank Day we unleash various projects in three centres in Mutoko, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. In the southern region we commemorate this at Sigombe Primary School in Nkulumane. Here we donated seven water tanks that we hope will alleviate challenges faced by the school and the community.
“Basically what we do is part of our goal to help communities meet the Sustainable Development Goals by having access to clean drinking water. Ecobank wants to be the first financial institution that promotes healthy lifestyles,” said Mr Mahanya.
He said the donation to Chitungwiza Hospital was meant to help the institution cope with high demands for medicine and manage the water problems it faces.
Parents and guardians at Sigombe Primary paid tribute to the bank. Ecobank Zimbabwe’s clean water and sanitation initiative comes at a time when the Government has called upon the corporates to work hand in glove with communities to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Results from the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey on water sanitation and hygiene show that 76 per cent of households in the country have access to improved sources of drinking water. However, the United Nations notes that this number hides a wide disparity in access to safe drinking water.