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Increased community engagement even in the pandemic

In 2021, we decided to focus our community engagement on a Common Cause: children and youth. Our sites have supported young people in their communities and beyond with many projects.

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Reflecting our strong commitment to community engagement, in 2021 we increased our financing of volunteering activities, charities and community projects outside our company compared to 2020. Out of 17 countries in which we operate, 13 engaged actively with their communities through various projects. That is 77 percent, up from 50 percent in 2020. 15 countries engaged either internally with their employees or externally through community support.

In 2021, we also took a strategic approach to our community engagement, spotlighting a Common Cause for the entire Beckers Group: children and youth. We committed to focusing on children, youth and their caregivers in the community, as well as in the workplace and marketplace. Read more about our work in this area in the article about the framework of oureast Common Cause commitment.

Vietnam: Teaching kids how and why we sort waste

To show young people how everyday actions can offer a better future, Beckers Vietnam in Nghệ An planned and worked with one of our employees’ primary schools to introduce waste segregation. We offered instruction in sorting garbage for three types of waste into color-coded trash bins: green for organic, yellow for recycling and orange for other waste, and set up five sets of bins in the schoolyard with the schoolchildren. Sorting waste reduces the amount that is burnt and therefore also reduces the resulting acrid, toxic fumes.

Installation of bins and information boards in the schoolyard. 

Batteries for plants exchange

In February 2021, colleagues at Beckers Vietnam in Nghệ An organized a week-long event to collect batteries, which often end up in household trash even though they are hazardous waste. The event, “Exchange batteries for plants” was inspired by a similar initiative that has been popular with environmentally conscious young people in Vietnam. Often, batteries end up in landfill where they can pollute the water supply, or they are incinerated, producing toxic fumes. Volunteers collected around 16 kilos of batteries in exchange for plants.

Bring your batteries and receive a beautiful plant in exchange. An idea to raise awareness and avoid toxic waste. 

Improving water safety education

Every year, many children are victims of drowning in Vietnam due to a lack of water safety education. The Beckers team on our site in Nghệ An invited the local Beach Disaster Prevention and Rescue Center to a secondary school to educate young people on drowning prevention. We also presented the center with lifebuoys to aid their rescue services at the Cua Lo Beach. In addition, we worked together to raise awareness, printing brochures in Vietnamese and English with eight basic water safety tips as well as information on sea animals and swimming styles. The brochures were distributed at the school and to visitors at the beach, which is just 35 minutes by car from Nghệ An.

The Beckers team in Vietnam invited a local organization to educate young people on drowning prevention.

Poland: Donating school supplies to Gambia

Beckers Poland collected school supplies from employees for distribution to Gambian children by the Salesian Missionary Volunteers. They heard about the collection through a local social media campaign. The photo below on the right shows the materials that were bought and donated by our colleagues in Tarnów.

Colleagues of Beckers Poland collected school supplies for children in Gambia.

Sweden: Support for women’s shelter

Beckers Sweden supports the women’s shelter Kvinnojouren Sigtuna to help women who are victims of violence by a partner or family member. Kvinnojouren Sigtuna is a non-profit association where they can get support and guidance, by phone or via chat. The experienced staff also offers sheltered accommodation on behalf of social services and helps to sort out thoughts and feelings about the situation.

The women's shelter offers support and guidance as well as accommodation and other practical support for victims of violence by partners or family members.

India: Offering job training for young people

At Beckers India, the local team organized a skills development project for local youth with the Government Industrial Training Institute, Pernem Goa. The project helps young people in a rural area to develop new skills and job opportunities. The team identified the relevant skill development needs and provided equipment. Our community engagement also included the provision of sanitary napkins to girls at three different schools, along with awareness training by a doctor on the benefits of using them. The team made sure that the product was biodegradable and thereby also helped prevent pollution. The project is ongoing, and we aim to cover more schools and other local communities.

South Africa: Sports to raise funds for girls

To build community spirit, Beckers South Africa entered each employee in the fun walk and run, Spar Women’s Virtual Challenge. It is known across the country as a key fundraising event to help disadvantaged girls. Proceeds will be used to help the “Petals Project” donate packs of sanitary pads to girls who lack these basic necessities and therefore often stay away from school when they are having their periods. This also helps give them an equal chance to participate and lead a full life. The team also organized an African drumming team-building exercise, which helped us learn to listen to each other, participate and cooperate. Because rhythm is a universal language, drumming as a team created unity that bridged the barriers of culture, gender, age, religion, and hierarchy. It was the perfect antidote to COVID-19 fatigue.

All employees in South Africa took part in the SPAR women's challenge to raise funds for disadvantaged girls.

Star for Life

For many years now we have supportedopen_in_new Star for Life – and the children they work with. We continued that engagement in 2021. Star for Life is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire young people to believe in their dreams and live healthy lives. The NGO was founded in Sweden and offers educational programs and training to schools around Africa.

Argentina: Community gardening

At Beckers Argentina, our small team of just under 20 colleagues got together for a community gardening project. We grew vegetables in a garden located onsite at Beckers. This project uses a sustainable water supply from rainwater, which is also collected for a fire safety system. It enables us to support the nearby community by providing fresh vegetables grown in our garden to local residents.

The community garden at Beckers Argentina was built entirely through the cooperative efforts of the team. At present it can generate complementary food for at least 15 people.

UK: Socks raise funds and awareness for testicular cancer

Now a year old, our campaign at Beckers UK to buy and wear colorful socks from Oddballs.com, which raises money for testicular cancer, is going strong. Members of the operations team not only buy the patterned, multicolored socks; they have also introduced a sock rota that prescribes which pattern should be worn on a particular day. They come to work color-coordinated and ready to answer all the questions that come their way – so they not only raise money, but also awareness about testicular cancer.

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