The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts
The many challenges that Egypt currently faces present many opportunities for us to contribute on both the individual and corporate levels. Here at EFG Hermes, we believe that giving back to our communities is just as important as serving our clients and delivering returns to our shareholders. The creation of the EFG Hermes Foundation in 2006 was a way for us to consolidate all our community development work under one umbrella in a sustainable, organized and systematic manner.
For the past eleven years, the Foundation has been committed to undertaking integrated development projects and working with vulnerable communities in the most underdeveloped areas of Egypt. Today I am truly proud to say that we have successfully established a new social responsibility culture that views the whole as more than just the sum of its parts.
In other words, we can maximize our impact in these vulnerable communities by adopting an entire village, for example, and involving every member of the Firm’s employees, the local community and the government rather than taking on multiple unrelated projects as one-offs.
We generally start our work by collaborating with community development associations who can assess the situation on-ground to ensure that projects are designed to serve the real needs of communities. It is important to note that many of the most impoverished communities that we come across are in need of more than just donations and grants. They need replicable integrated pilot projects that can tackle multiple problems simultaneously and ensure sustainability long after donors have gone.
In my opinion, any successful development model must address three very important dimensions: economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Poverty cannot be tackled by simply donating funds. We have to develop healthcare services, education, housing, water and sanitation, and extend financing for small projects that can create jobs and sustain the local economy through income generation for young people.
EFG Hermes has followed this approach to successfully support a number of villages in Upper Egypt namely Al Makhzan village in Qena in cooperation with the Kuwaiti Initiative Group for the Support of the Egyptian People and Ezbet Yacoub in Beni Sweif. In both of these communities, we constructed housing, modernized schools and nurseries, rebuilt sanitation systems and water treatment plants. Most importantly, we created community centers to house healthcare units and act as hubs that can run training and awareness programs for community members.
Both projects were multi-year endeavors that involved local NGO’s, the employees of EFG Hermes who actively volunteered their time, the government and local residents who took ownership of the projects once we were done. These two projects have positively affected the lives of close to 30,000 people, a task that is unachievable without an integrated development approach.
Head of CSR at EFG Hermes,
CEO, EFG Hermes Foundation