DHL and Safmarine Team Up to Boost Literacy in Senegal

Long-term business partners DHL, the world’s leading logistics company, and shipping line Safmarine joined forces to create the first community library in Kolda, Senegal. The new Kolda Community Library provides free access to global knowledge in the form of 350 French school books in a purpose-built 95 square meter facility that caters to all ages from six to 60 and is open six days a week.

Children of Kolda enjoy the books at the Kolda Community LibraryChildren of Kolda enjoy the books at the Kolda Community Library (PR Newswire Photo Archive 2011)

The Kolda Community Library officially opened on July 14 with guests that included the mayor of Kolda, the regional council president and the governor of Kolda.

Amadou Diallo, CEO, Africa and South Asia Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding, said: “Many students in this rural area have gone through the school system without having access to a single book. To tackle the issues of poverty and social exclusion and give this French-speaking community the opportunity to increase their knowledge, DHL partnered Safmarine to build a community library. GoTeach is one of DHL’s three Corporate Responsibility programs with which we aim to champion education all over the world. The Kolda Community Library reduces the local cost of education by providing a valuable resource that’s free for the community to access.”

DHL and Safmarine jointly funded the building and the stocking of the library which includes French books covering a range of interests from fiction/non-fiction, biographical novels, rapid reads, school books, reference books, encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Tomas Dyrbye, CEO, Safmarine said: “Safmarine is continuously seeking opportunities with our customers and stakeholders to promote sustainable development through education. This is a great opportunity to extend a helping hand for the first time in Senegal. Like DHL, at Safmarine we believe our people should make a positive difference in the community in which we operate. The Kolda Community Library will help to improve the quality of life for young Senegalese through better literacy and education which in turn will lead to more job opportunities for the locals.”

The development of the community library is the first time long-term business partners, DHL and shipping line Safmarine have combined resources to help local communities.

Under the motto ‘Living Responsibility,’ DHL has a globally active Corporate Responsibility strategy which includes three programs: GoGreen (protecting the environment), GoHelp (delivering help after natural disasters) and GoTeach (championing education). Since 1991, Safmarine has been pioneering the re-use of containers in South Africa to create clinics, schools and community centers in impoverished areas as various other sustainability projects as part of its People Making the Difference initiative.

Mr. Diallo added: “The Kolda Community Library shows DHL’s and Safmarine’s long-standing commitment to meet the challenges of global sustainable development. For DHL, the collaboration with Safmarine in particular reaffirms the need for global solidarity and recognizes the importance of strengthening our work with global business partners so we can have a significant impact on global sustainable development.”

Source – CSR Africa Daily – By Millicent Njeri / Press Release / APO