CSR is more than a buzzword – it transforms lives and supports communities
30 September 2022
By Hana Darwazeh Ramadan, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Hikma Pharmaceuticals
Being a good corporate citizen and a socially responsible business go hand in hand. At Hikma, CSR is not just a buzzword. It underpins everything we do. We have conversations and campaigns around corporate social responsibility year-round and we are constantly striving to empower our employees to support our community engagement activities.
CSR is at the heart of our business
For us, Acting Responsibly is about conducting business in an ethical, legally compliant, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible way. Corporate Social Responsibility sits within our ‘advancing health and wellbeing’ focus area, a driving force behind all that we do. Improving access to more affordable medicines is at the core of our business. But our CSR efforts go beyond our core business and we remain dedicated to supporting the communities in which we operate. Across our locations, we are making medicines more accessible to vulnerable populations through local outreach, medicine donations and disease awareness initiatives.
The MENA region has always been important to us. It is where my father, Samih Darwazah, founded Hikma more than 40 years ago. He believed that working closely with local communities makes a business healthier. My father used to say: “It is important to work closely with the local population and visit even the most remote areas of a country to really understand the culture, scratch its surface and get beneath its skin.” CSR is undeniably important on a global level, but we are particularly proud to give back to the region that is home to so many vulnerable groups and I am honoured to have been involved in the MENA focused initiatives that we outline below.
1. Providing better health
Hikma is driven by a commitment to improve access to medicines for disadvantaged patients. In MENA our focus is on low-income groups and refugees, ensuring that better health is within reach for people that need it most.
Last year, working with Save the Children, we directed $50,000 towards providing emergency hospital treatment for 240 children in Yemen, and in working with the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) in Jordan, we supported students and teachers in public schools through the Healthy Schools Programme. Through our medicine donation programme, we donated over $3.2 million worth of medicines to provide disaster relief to communities in desperate need. We also looked to address blood shortages at hospitals and health centres following the COVID-19 pandemic, by organising blood drives in six MENA countries, with more than 500 litres donated.
2. Supporting education
For us, education is critical for sustainable growth and the development of society. That is why we are focused on improving access to education and resources around the world.
We work in partnership with a number of organisations to provide people and communities with opportunities to realise their full potential through continuous learning and development. Some examples of these include; working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Aiming Higher initiative that has committed more than $545,000 over four years towards providing higher education scholarships to 40 refugee students in Jordan, Egypt and Algeria; providing more than 50,000 students with career advice through our partnership with Careervillage.org; and working with Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans, to fund higher education for 6 youth orphans in Jordan.
3. Helping people in need
We support programmes that address the plight of those that are marginalised in our communities, particularly low-income groups, refugees, and the uninsured. Our programmes aim to improve living standards and strengthen access to vital healthcare for those in most need.
In 2021, we participated in the construction of the Al Bagair road in Sudan, a major road that extends for 11 kilometres and connects six villages housing more than 15,000 residents. In Egypt, we collaborated with the local NGO Misr El Kheir to support 21 people in three low-income families by helping to rehabilitate their homes. We also supported the SOS Jordan Youth Care Programme to provide housing and care to seven orphaned youth.
Acting responsibly through volunteering
Acting responsibly is at the heart of everything we do at Hikma, and we will continue to elevate our approach in the communities in which we operate. We encourage our employees to play an active role in supporting our communities. Each year, thousands of Hikma employees in 13 countries participate in our annual volunteer campaigns and join together to support our communities. In 2021, more than 4,700 Hikma employees volunteered over 8,300 hours to help build better communities worldwide.
Our five annual campaigns have been designed to give Hikma employees the opportunity to come together as a business to support our communities. These include our year-round Educational Support Campaign; Breast Cancer Awareness month in October; Hikma Global Volunteering Day in April to name a few. For me volunteering is a pleasure, I participate as much as I can and all Hikma colleagues are strongly encouraged to participate in our campaigns.
I am proud of the great strides we have made in this direction and want to reinforce that our work in CSR is an ongoing journey which doesn’t stop here – it will only keep on growing in the years to come.