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2008 Walk for Sight – Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria’s “Seeing is Believing” Initiative

November 3, 2008 in Lagos, Nigeria – On November 1, 2008, the Management and Staff of SCB Nigeria held their 4th “Walk for Sight” in support of their Group’s Seeing is Believing initiative. Seeing is Believing is a Standard Chartered Bank community investment program structured to invest $20 million to fund the development of sustainable eye care services in less advantaged areas of 20 cities across the world.

Initiated in 2003 and driven by the Bank’s employees, Seeing is Believing is helping tackle avoidable blindness, 90 percent of which is found in the developing world where the Bank’s business is rooted.

Working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), 20 countries have been identified as having a real need for support with eye care that matches as closely as possible with the Bank’s geographic foot print. This approach would align Seeing is Believing more closely to National Eye-Care Plans aimed at delivering national priorities. Nigeria is one of the countries chosen to benefit from this phase.

In support of the SIB initiative, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria has held a fundraising walk annually in the last three years, raising a total of $300,000 which has helped to fund successful cataract operations (still ongoing) for approximately 5,000 persons between January 2006 and June 2008.

The staff turnout for the walk the bank held on Saturday was very impressive and it’s the best the bank has had since they started this initiative on the 10th of December 2005.

The walk was an outstanding success and attracted over 600 participants from all walks of life. These included management and staff of companies the bank provides financial services for, spouses, children, friends and relatives of their members of staff.

The bank’s chosen implementation partners in this project are Sight Savers International and the Nigerian Society for the Blind. These are the same partners chosen in the last three editions and they were picked once again because of the fact that the bank has found them to be credible institutions with an unwavering commitment to aid the eradication of blindness in Nigeria.

Based on the funds raised, yesterday, the bank gave 2 cheques totaling =N=13 million to:

Nigeria Society for the Blind: =N=3.9 million
Sight Savers International: =N=9.1 million

Both cheques were given based on the funds raised within the country over the last few weeks with the support of the following companies:

7up Bottling Company, Vee Pee Group, Chi Limited, Chellarams, Studio Press Nigeria Limited, Industrial Cartons Limited, Far East Mercantile, Nagode Industries and Zartech.

The bank has raised over $400,000 from this initiative in the last four years.

According to Chief Olu Falomo, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Society for the Blind,

“We have received unwavering support from Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria for quite a few years now. Without this support, it would have been extremely difficult for us to achieve the objectives of our Vocational Training Centre for the Blind in Oshodi. Over the years, the bank has provided us with amazing financial, infrastructural and administrative assistance we will like to express our deep appreciation to the Board, Management and Staff of the Bank for their unwavering commitment to the centre.”

Dr. Kolawole Ogundimu, Kwara State Eye Ophthalmologist for Sight Savers International said:

“We are quite pleased with the generous support we have received over the last few years from Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria. Over the last three years, investment by the Seeing is Believing programme in Kwara State has meant that human resources have been developed, the number of surgeries performed each year has increased, awareness about eye services has been created and there has been an increase in the number of people accessing services. This means that the project is now well positioned to grow outputs over the next three years. With the support of Standard Chartered Bank, Sightsavers will be able to continue to provide Comprehensive Eye Care Programmes.

These programmes will continue to provide services specially created for those who need help most, such as the rural population, under-privileged people, school children, students and the irreversibly blind.

The Board, Management and Staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Nigeria have been real partners in progress with Sight Savers International in the development of our programmes and a large part of the success we have achieved so far can be directly linked with this support”.

According to Christopher Knight, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria’s CEO,

“We are very proud of what we have achieved with our Walk for Sight initiative in the last four years. However, we could not have done this without the support of a lot of our customers, friends, family members and the media. It is quite gratifying to see that the $300,000 we have raised from this initiative in the last three years has made a positive difference in the activities of our two partner NGOs. We are also happy, that today, we have added another $110,000 to this increasing the total amount raised from this initiative to $410,000.”

Clearly the Board, Management and Staff of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria have sent a message with this initiative that as a financial institution, they take Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously and are truly committed to Nigeria and the SIB Project.