Productive inclusion: resources for the hands of the poorest

Productive inclusion: resources for the hands of the poorest


Developing Corporate Social Responsibility in a country with great social difficulties is a challenge considering any on-ground effort may be easily diluted; but also, if set with a clear conceptual definition is achieved and a purpose bounded to stakeholders is set, very desirable goals can be achieved. For five years and on a bi-annual basis, the DAABON Group companies carry out socioeconomic characterization of its group of employees, smallholders and communities, so that their input constitute the participatory basis of information required for social programs.

The first of these measurements allowed us to identify a fact we immediately considered a high risk: both workers and suppliers were depending exclusively on the palm cultivation. We firmly believe, that reliance on one source of income (usually families of four and five members); is not favorable for achieving objectives of welfare or human development. This consideration led to the formulation/ implementation of the “productive inclusion program” conceived and implemented from two different perspectives: the undertaking of new economic options and the education or training as a mechanism to achieve employability skills.

The first projects were promoted in order to articulate them into the corporate purchase program in the form of labor garments and broidery that then included shoe making, with the hope that women and youth family members of our farm co-workers, provide us the footwear required for tasks within the DAABON companies. Both cases, in neighboring rural areas to oil palm plantations. After that positive experience we dared to leave our immediate environment - workers and smallholders- and headed our efforts to benefit families surrounding our areas of influence that had no direct link to the Group companies; many of them victims of the armed conflict. In this context we identified very quickly, that the purpose of generating entrepreneurship requires a tool to transfer economic resources: Thus was born what is now known as the “DAABON Microcredit Fund”.

Over the last year we have been taking the first steps. We articulated to the Fundacion de Microempresarios Del Magdalena, an NGO that supports the emergence and strengthening of productive units at micro level and family businesses, in Santa Marta our corporate headquarter location. There are very big challenges in placing money via credit in households without access to the financial sector, with negative reports on credit bureaus, productive schemes destroyed by forced displacement, social marginality, among multiple factors. But it is a challenge we gladly accepted within our Corporate Social Responsibility processes. As we work to strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of the beneficiary families of our line of action, we supported a government policy aimed at generating entrepreneurship culture from the early school years and started implementing the “Youth enterprising” project in different schools in Santa Marta.