- CSR as a first step in building a legacy
By Muhammad Aftab Alam
The very first word that jumps to mind when we have a glance at the pyramids and such iconic landmarks is ‘wonder’ but what these actually reflect is ‘legacy’–of some visionary leaders who built these marvels centuries ago. Today’s leaders should also aspire to leave the legacies. They should ensure that whatever they do must have sustainability so that long after they are gone, whatever they started continues to evolve.
To achieve this level of transformational legacy, we have to pursue more than the typical concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that entails a few nicely-worded hollow promises on official websites and some feel-good philanthropist initiatives. Rather, such legacy requires taking CSR to the next level that is deeply engrossed in all the activities of an organisation.
And that is exactly what Karachi Nuclear Power Project (KANUPP) has been aiming to achieve for over four decades. On the Arabian Sea coast, approximately 18km east of Karachi, KANUPP is Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant inaugurated on 28 November 1972. It comprises a single-unit Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) pressurised heavy-water reactor supplied by the Canadian General Electric Company with a gross output of 137MWe. The plant is one of the five nuclear power plants currently owned and being operated by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
Nuclear power plants are often located in rural areas that receive considerable benefits from a large industrial complex. Utilities and government departments operating nuclear energy facilities are involved in the economic uplift of nearby towns and communities, offering better quality educational institutes, dispensaries, hospitals, and markets. As the plants operate over several decades, their presence encourages continuity in their communities by offering employment to more than one generation.
At KANUPP this has translated into a reality through building shared value across all stakeholders from owners to regulators and to the surrounding communities. These shared values have helped create a thriving community. As goodwill gesture, poor communities of the surrounding areas including Safar Goth, Soomar Goth, and Abdul Rahman Goth are regularly provided with dry ration bags for sustenance.
Projects like KANUPP, based on the legacy of public service, need ownership at national level. For success of these national-level projects, we require to evolve the notion of stewardship– a core leadership quality– at every step of the project. It is hoped that the top management at PAEC, KANUPP and now K-2 and K-3 NPPs, nearing completion, would stick to this good old tradition
KANUPP takes CSR and community development very seriously. The KANUPP plant operation has contributed immensely in various ways of job creation and skills development of the population especially the youth. KANUPP Management has ensured that all unskilled and semi-skilled jobs are given to people hailing from the immediate vicinity. A total of 172 area residents have been inducted in special pay scale 1 to 5.
The work of PAEC Foundation and Hunargah (Industrial Homes) is worth mentioning as it is doing remarkable job in polishing the talent of skilled and semi-skilled workforce living in the vicinity. The Foundation School (junior to middle) has been providing free education and uniforms to the students of surrounding areas including Grexi, Bhudhni Goth and Musharraf Colony. There are 222 students currently enrolled.
Hunargah arranges free training for the girls in surrounding areas. The art and crafts of the trained girls as well as local skilled women are promoted through exhibitions all over the country on its platform. This promotional campaign helps local community women earn, which is crucial for survival of the poor families.
For provision of standard health facilities to the poor neighbouring communities, visits of mobile health units/dispensaries arranged by KANUPP management is a regular feature. So far, the radius of service area receiving free medical dispensary services has been expanded to 17 villages/goths.
The proof of an organisation’s successful CSR campaign can be gauged by leaders from the host community speaking on the organisation’s behalf whenever there might be an issue with the regulators. That is what I saw when Sindh Environment Protection Agency conducted a public hearing on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report submitted by PAEC seeking permission for the construction of two plants, K-2 and K-3 of 1100 MW each, near the KANUPP site on 27 April 2015. Some dissenting voices tried to create much hue and cry based on the worst-case scenario but the local community leaders gave them a real tough time and the sceptics had to go silent because the public at large favoured the siting of the plants. The community leaders from nearby villages not only expressed much appreciation for the efforts of KANUPP management for the benefit of locals– mostly fishermen, but they also defended the K-2 and K-3 power plants’ siting in the close vicinity as they were sure that these projects of much bigger size would definitely improve their standard of life by providing them access to quality healthcare, schools, jobs for children and overall development of the area.
The greatest contribution of KANUPP in terms of community service and CSR is, perhaps, the supply of potable water to the residents of localities in immediate vicinity, otherwise nowhere to be found. There was neither any pipeline to supply this basic commodity nor was the groundwater fit for consumption in performing household chores and for drinking. KANUPP has been doing a great service to the locals by supplying potable water through tankers at their doorstep for decades. Currently, a tanker of 1000 gallons of potable water is sent to nearby villages including Arab Goth and Safar Goth, weekly.
Projects like KANUPP, based on the legacy of public service, need ownership at national level. For success of these national-level projects, we require to evolve the notion of stewardship– a core leadership quality– at every step of the project. It is hoped that the top management at PAEC, KANUPP and now K-2 and K-3 NPPs, nearing completion, would stick to this good old tradition.
The writer can be reached at [email protected]