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In the past, Lerøy used to give Christmas gifts to customers and business partners, but after the company introduced its new ethical guidelines in 2017, these kinds of gifts were no longer allowed.
“At that point, we decided that this money should go to a good cause instead”, says Anne Hilde Midttveit, who is responsible for Quality, Environment and CSR at Lerøy.
For the company, the obvious choice was to donate to charities that Lerøy already supported and cooperated with. Therefore, the money goes to MSF, and Save the Children.
Since 2017, Lerøy has supported this humanitarian organisation, which responds to emergencies and provides medical assistance to those who need it most.
Médecins Sans Frontières has a presence and provides medical aid in over 70 countries, and in 2021 it performed 12.5 million medical consultations. As a humanitarian organisation, the need for medical assistance is the only criterion that guides where Médecins Sans Frontières chooses to operate. In order to ensure that it is independent of political interests, most of its funding comes from private donors like Lerøy. This allows the organisation to work in places where others cannot, and it can quickly respond in the event of an emergency.
“We provide medical assistance in areas affected by war and conflict, respond to natural disasters and provide medical assistance to refugees. We also work in chronic and forgotten crises, and in countries with a weak health service”, says Mari Kaupang, a business advisor at MSF.
In 2022, the donation from Lerøy was earmarked for the organisation’s work in Ukraine. Médecins Sans Frontières is providing medical help to people in Ukraine’s conflict zones and to people who have been forced to flee from their homes. They are donating medicines, equipment and food to various hospitals and training health care workers. As of November 2022, Médecins Sans Frontières had over 700 international and Ukrainian staff on the ground in Ukraine.
“We also hope that Lerøy will inspire other companies to take their corporate social responsibility seriously. Thank you very much for your life-saving support!”, says Lovise Stette Høyberg, a donor relations representative at Médecins Sans Frontières.
Lerøy also supports Save the Children’s education programme in Malawi, a project that will last out 2023.
“Education saves children’s lives and gives children and adolescents the chance to build a future for themselves and their families”, says Anna-Elisabeth Flinstad, a partnership development manager at Save the Children.
Their focus is on protecting the most vulnerable and at-risk children in Malawi, ensuring they get a decent education and giving them a better life. The aim is for all children to learn, develop and be protected in an inclusive school environment with suitably qualified teachers.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries and its education system is in great need of improvement.
For almost 30 years, compulsory basic education has been free, and considering the circumstances, a large proportion of children start school. In recent years, the quality of the learning environment and of learning outcomes has declined, and many teachers lack basic skills like reading and arithmetic.
Each year, many pupils – particularly girls – drop out of school. This is often due to child marriage, teenage pregnancy and violence at schools. By the time they turn 18, almost four out of ten girls are married, and three out of ten have had their first child.
“In cooperation with local civil society organisations and the authorities, we are working to prevent this. We are spreading knowledge about the negative impact this has on children and society through various public information campaigns”, explains Anna-Elisabeth.
Schools are also not well enough adapted for children with special needs and with disabilities. The majority neither have teachers who are qualified to help children with these needs or infrastructure and teaching systems that are adapted to children with disabilities.
Lerøy’s donation helps towards achieving the project’s goal of giving 280,000 children better educational outcomes and a high quality education.
The funds are helping to give 4,000 teachers training in child-friendly teaching and better teaching techniques, providing relevant and good teaching materials, ensuring that schools are inclusive, helping to reduce child marriage and teenage pregnancy rates, helping to end corporal punishment in schools, and increasing the engagement and participation of parents and the local community.
“The project is achieving many positive results, in spite of the challenges associated with the pandemic. The pupils have improved their reading, writing and maths, and they feel more secure at school”, says Anna-Elisabeth.
As well as the high rates of illness and the deaths on a daily basis, the main challenge for this educational project was school closures. Schools were closed for 5 months in 2020, and a further 2 months the following year.
“Together we can ensure that children in Malawi have a chance to learn and develop in safe and inclusive learning environments”, says Anna-Elisabeth.
Every three years, Lerøy’s employees are asked which charities they believe the company should support, and each time it is MSF and Save the Children that come out on top. This shows that these two organisations mean a lot to Lerøy and its staff.
The company considers it an honour to contribute towards helping other people. Regardless of how big or small a donation is, the help may be invaluable to the person who receives it.
Lerøy therefore encourages everyone who can to donate to an organisation which helps other people, so that as many people as possible can enjoy a good, peaceful Christmas.
On behalf of Lerøy, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas!