By Amin Kef (Ranger)
Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL) is making headlines not just for its exceptional brews, but also for its unwavering commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that are changing lives and promoting sustainable economic growth across Sierra Leone. Under the astute leadership of Foday Daboh, the Brewery’s Corporate Affairs Manager, SLBL is proving to be a true partner in the nation’s development.
Beyond its economic contributions, SLBL has been making a substantial social impact through its CSR initiatives, touching the lives of over 500,000 people in Sierra Leone. These programs encompass a wide range of areas, from health and sanitation to water and sports, and have transformed communities across the nation. Notable projects include the construction of hospitals in Wellington and Calaba Town, support for the Well Woman Clinic at Murray Town, and the establishment of mini-water dams, submersible solar-powered wells, and mega sanitation programs, among others. These initiatives have not only improved the quality of life for countless Sierra Leoneans but have also laid the foundation for sustainable development.
SLBL’s commitment to promoting local content and driving economic growth was exemplified by its strategic partnership with local farmers. This partnership not only highlights SLBL’s dedication to utilizing locally-sourced sorghum but also reinforces its commitment to sustainable economic development.
Under Foday Daboh’s leadership, SLBL is actively encouraging commercial farmers throughout Sierra Leone to cultivate specific sorghum varieties that align with the Brewery’s requirements. This bold initiative aims not only to ensure a consistent supply of sorghum but also to empower farmers, create employment opportunities, and enhance the overall brewing process.
A significant outcome of these efforts is the successful execution of the Pre-Planting Sorghum Cultivation and Awareness Campaign, conducted across multiple districts in Sierra Leone. At its core, this campaign involves the distribution of complimentary sorghum seeds to farmers, encouraging them to incorporate sorghum cultivation into their existing agricultural practices. SLBL’s ultimate goal is to reduce reliance on expensive foreign imports, thereby strengthening the local economy and enhancing Sierra Leone’s self-sufficiency.
While approximately 5,000 farmers are currently involved in sorghum production, their yield falls short of meeting SLBL’s production demands. In a strategic move towards local sourcing, SLBL is urging domestic farmers to intensify their production efforts, offering attractive incentives and a guaranteed market for the produced sorghum. This mutually beneficial relationship promises to benefit both parties significantly.
Foday Daboh emphasized that SLBL’s support goes beyond seed distribution. The Brewery is providing transportation services, deploying expert agronomists, and offering advance payments to contracted farmers. This comprehensive approach ensures the successful cultivation of local sorghum while solidifying the partnership between SLBL and the farming community.
In a clear commitment to sustainability, SLBL manages sorghum waste with great care. Byproducts generated during the brewing process are repurposed as fertilizer or pig feed, with SLBL actively returning these byproducts to the farmers. Additionally, to further incentivize local producers, SLBL has increased the purchase price of sorghum from NLe300 to NLe350 per 50kg bag, making it a lucrative venture for farmers.
Laurent Bukasa, the Managing Director of SLBL, highlighted recent community development projects during a press conference. SLBL, with support from the Heineken Africa Foundation, has launched substantial projects in Wellington and Calaba Town, valued at €70,585 and €89,589.5, respectively. These projects primarily focus on enhancing water supply and sanitation infrastructure. Bukasa emphasized the pivotal role of clean water in ensuring health and well-being, encouraging residents to take ownership of these projects for their successful implementation.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that since May 2020, the Heineken Africa Foundation, in collaboration with Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, has been working with World Vision International (SL) to combat the spread of Covid-19. This collaboration has led to increased access to sustainable clean water and hygiene practices for disadvantaged communities, positively impacting thousands of lives.
As Sierra Leone Brewery Limited continues its mission to support local agriculture and contribute to the nation’s development, the Brewery remains unwavering in its commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainable growth, aiming to uplift even the most remote corners of the community. SLBL’s CSR initiatives are a testament to the positive impact that businesses can have on society when they prioritize social responsibility alongside their core operations.