Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a concept started to attract attention in the 1960s, but has become more popular among most big companies in recent years. Developers too started focusing on how their behavior might affect society and the environment by leaving a positive impact through a number of CSR initiatives. For Ramadan, the month of goodness and charity, Invest-Gate sheds some light on some of the Egyptian developers’ efforts to give back to the society.

“CSR is important for any company, irrelevant of its industrial sector. CSR policies and activities need to be considered as a core and inseparable component of the overall service or product offering of any company,” Tatweer Misr’s Managing Director Ahmed Shalaby tells Invest-Gate.

CSR: A Rising Trend Among Developers

Out of their commitment to social responsibility and the development of both the community as well as the work environment, many developers race to launch CSR initiatives every year that touch the lives of millions of people. Invest-Gate explores a number of CSR programs introduced to support the livelihood improvement activities.

Believing that good education can help the youth become the leaders of our near future, Misr Italia Properties are building two schools in rural areas, according to the company’s Commercial Director, Mahmoud Bekheit.

The company partnered with the General Authority for Educational Buildings to construct a primary school in Qalyubia governorate, with expectation to be delivered in 2018. Misr Italia Properties is responsible for the construction and finishing of the school. The school will then be delivered to the ministry of education which in turn will start the furnishing process and admit students to start early next year.

As for the second project, the developer constructed a high school in South Sinai with the help of the Egyptian armed forces.

With a combined investments worth EGP 20 mn, both schools are expected to accommodate around 1,000 children, Bekheit said, adding that they also plan to pump a very big amount in their upcoming CSR projects, which will also tackle the education sector.

Misr Holding Company has two brands: Misr Italia Properties, which includes projects such as IL-BOSCO New Capital and Kai Sokhna; and Mousa Coast Developments, which includes Mousa Coast in Ras Sudr and the Italian Square.

Meanwhile, Palm Hills Developments is also heavily involved in CSR and contributing to the improvement of the community as well as people’s quality of life. In 2016, the developer launched its latest CSR project, Reviving the Egyptian Soul, to redevelop and transform impoverished villages in Upper Egypt and the Delta into sustainable communities flourishing with opportunities.

The initiative entails reconstructing housing, providing reliable access to clean potable water, implementing proper drainage and sewage systems, and developing educational institutions and medical facilities.

“We are committed to continuing our role in developing our society, in parallel with evolving the real estate sector, creating employment opportunities, and orchestrating fully-integrated urban communities, equipped with all the necessary services and facilities,” Palm Hills Chairman Yasseen Mansour said in a previous statement.

Earlier this year, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali signed a protocol of cooperation with Palm Hills Developments and the Orman Charity Association to contribute to the improvement of the housing environment and the national program for infrastructure development, Decent Housing (Sakan Kareem) Initiative, according to a statement. The three-year agreement will help raise the efficiency of some homes in the neediest 100 villages in Egypt from 2018 to 2020. Under the deal, a number of houses will be constructed with a total investments of EGP 250 mn.

SODIC, moreover, is another major developer that plays a role in the effective development of Egypt’s impoverished communities. “At SODIC, our CSR initiatives focusing on education and slum rehabilitation, impact the lives of over 7,000 families every year,” according to SODIC Managing Director Magued Sherif.

In its latest initiatives, SODIC has signed a contract with Greater Cairo Water Company in 2017 to connect 1,000 houses to the freshwater network in Ezzbet Khair Allah, one of Egypt’s informal communities. The project is to be carried out over one year and is fully funded by SODIC at an estimated cost of EGP 1 mn, with its first phase to benefit more than 1,000 families.

Last but not least, Tatweer Misr also supports the local communities with its CSR projects. Over the last three years, the developer has sponsored and implemented a number of initiatives that have directly or indirectly contributed towards entrepreneurship and education, including innovation awards and support of young entrepreneurs. The developer has been negotiating over the last two years with a number of international universities concerned with entrepreneurship and SME development, to create partnerships for the establishment of a unique university focusing on learning and graduating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“By the very nature of our business model, our primary sector is and will remain housing in all our activities. However, 90% of our CSR activities are focused on entrepreneurship and more specifically entrepreneurship education,” Tatweer Misr’s Managing Director Ahmed Shalaby says.

Tatweer Misr also contributed to the development of communities around Egypt through initiatives, including a partnership signed with UNICEF and Abdel Wahab Foundation late last year to support the annual Borollos Symposium for drawing on boats and walls with the goal of providing employability skills and entrepreneurship.

The developer has also sponsored a group of students’ initiative titled “MashrooSaada” in their efforts to turn the Nubian island of Heissa into a gallery of inspiring artwork. The company also signed a deal with Ahl Masr Foundation in 2016 to cooperate in the Safe Village Project and contribute to the development of Salem Khidr village in Beni Suef by supplying it with the necessary infrastructure and turning it into a fire hazardous free village.

As for Tatweer Misr’s future CSR projects, the developer is looking into the sponsorship of the Global Entrepreneurship Week for the forthcoming three years, as well as, continuing with its innovation competition for university students in 2018. The winners, of which, will be awarded with a training course in one of the biggest entrepreneurial hubs in the Middle East.