Coming out from behind the camera

Finalist - Corporate Awards: MultiChoice

With its expertise in the visual entertainment industry, it made sense for MultiChoice to focus a corporate social investment (CSI) programme on skills development in the film industry.

The company invested more than R3-million last year in its Film Talent Incubator, an intensive skills programme that provides up-and-coming filmmakers with world-class training and mentoring by experts.

‘Potential candidates have to come from previously disadvantaged communities. They are given skills that help them to secure employment, changing the course of their lives,” says MultiChoice corporate affairs general manager Jackie Rakitla.

Another of its initiatives invests in skills development at an earlier stage, by providing schools in impoverished communities with multimedia laboratories. Working with provincial education departments, it identifies the three top performing schools in each province based on the previous year’s grade 12 results.

Last year MultiChoice spent about R2.5-million on the programme. ‘Our contribution includes computers, educational software and teacher training. We facilitate sustainability planning workshops to ensure participating schools continue to benefit from these technologies on a long-term basis,” says Rakitla.

The programme provides support for orphaned and vulnerable children. It received more than R5-million last year, which will help to strengthen the capacity of organisations that provide safe havens for orphans.

Selection is made by the provincial departments for social development. Contributions range from funding for buildings to the training of caregivers. ‘We pay specific attention to helping those caring for these children to prepare them for independent living, enabling them to become productive future citizens,” says Rakitla.

MultiChoice’s staff volunteering programme, MultiChoice Make a Difference, gives employees the opportunity to support social causes they are passionate about. ‘In 2008 the executive team planted a food garden and donated R100 000 to community projects,” Rakitla says.

Customers contribute to community support initiatives through the Reach Out campaign. They are asked to nominate charities of their choice to receive cash donations of up to R25 000 from MultiChoice. Rakitla says this multi-phased approach to corporate social investment ties in with the MultiChoice slogan, ‘Enriching Lives”.

‘We are passionate about these initiatives because they play a pivotal role in our continued efforts to ‘enrich the lives’ we touch on a day-to-day basis,” he says.

The Investing in the Future judges commended MultiChoice for its structured and comprehensive CSI programme, which they said was making a real difference to the lives of many people in previously disadvantaged communities.

Fiona Macleod

Fiona Macleod

Fiona Macleod is an environmental writer for the Mail & Guardian newspaper and editor of the M&G Greening the Future and Investing in the Future supplements. She is also editor of Lowveld Living magazine in Mpumalanga. An award-winning journalist, she was previously environmental editor of the M&G for 10 years and was awarded the Nick Steele award for environmental conservation. She is a former editor of Earthyear magazine, chief sub-editor and assistant editor of the M&G, editor-in-chief of HomeGrown magazines, managing editor of True Love and production editor of The Executive. She served terms on the judging panels of the SANParks Kudu Awards and The Green Trust Awards. She also worked as a freelance writer, editor and producer of several books, including Your Guide to Green Living, A Social Contract: The Way Forward and Fighting for Justice. Read more from Fiona Macleod

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