Corporate responsibility in action sparks excitement for children in Botswana

Since January 2014, STEAG Energy Services Botswana (SESBW) has been responsible for operating the Morupule B power plant (4 x 150 MW) in Botswana.  The SOS Children's Village Serowe is located only approx. 40 km from the Palapye power plant site, near the community of Serowe with around 40,000 inhabitants.

In 2016, the managing directors of SES Botswana, Ralf Nagel and Stefan Strube, wanted to get an impression on life in the SOS Children's Village. They quickly realized that the residents, especially the children and young people, suffered a lack of things that we might take for granted, such as suitable clothing, shoes and school material. It was immediately clear that there was a great necessity for SESBW to take action within the framework of social responsibility.

After discussions with the head of the SOS Children's Village Serowe, SES Botswana decided to tackle a very urgent project, the necessary renovation and complete re-equipment of a so-called "Short Term Care House". A building in which the custodians of the children's village take care of children whose parents will not be able to provide the means for the care of their children for a foreseeable period of time. In order to ensure that this project was implemented quickly and without problems, the aim was to provide the SESBW with direct local help through an independent organization. In December 2017 the renovation work was completed and the new equipment with furniture, kitchen equipment and electrical appliances was installed. Just in time to combine handing over the house with a big Christmas party for the children and to celebrate together. (Pictures) But this action was not to be last efforts. In addition to the renovation of the "Short Term Care House" by SES Botswana, the management also supported a private clothing collection in Germany, which was to benefit the children, young people and their custodians in the children's village. Cornelia Nagel, wife of Ralf Nagel, was highly committed to organizing the clothing collection. She acquired so many donors in her private environment that a collection was created that completely filled a 20" container. The donations went far beyond clothing donations. Toys, play equipment and even prams were to find new owners in Serowe. "The idea of the clothing collection had drawn such attention that we hardly had enough space in our house, including the cellar rooms, to store the donation materials," says Ralf Nagel.

As the collected donations were to arrive safely and smoothly in Serowe, transportation had to be organized in advance. This meant, among other things, that the customs guidelines for overseas transport had to be meticulously observed. In order to comply with the strict guidelines, Cornelia Nagel prepared a 150-page table of contents of all donations for presentation to customs. In addition, the German Foreign Office in Botswana was informed about the planned delivery in order to receive support in the case of any import problems. But also the preparation and packaging of the clothes and the various other donations posed a challenge at first. Cornelia Nagel responded to this challenge with the idea of celebrating an ironing party instead of her birthday party. "So Cornelia invited friends and relatives to bring their irons and ironing boards with her to prepare a part of the clothing donations for Serowe together on this day with the motto "We iron for Botswana", Ralf Nagel reported. (Pictures) The campaign was very well-accepted without exception and was repeated several times, so that the clothing donation could be prepared with many helping hands. Freshly washed, ironed, counted and sorted into 272 banana crates, the donations travelled on by overseas container (with a total capacity of 2.7 t) towards their destination.

SES Botswana gladly agreed to pay the transport costs so that the donation container could be sent after the preparations had been completed. Due to the good planning he reached the children's village in Serowe at the beginning of April without any problems. There the container was received and unloaded for the children during a ceremony organized by the SESBW. "The children sang and danced and received presents", stated Ralf Nagel. Their reaction alone was enough gratitude for the efforts that had been made in the run-up to the event. In the end it even turned out that the donations were so plenty that two additional SOS Children's Villages in Botswana could be supplied and the corporate responsibility in action sparked far-reaching excitement of the children.