By Dhahabu Writer
China Road and Bridge Corporation has since inception employed over 38, 000 locals to work on the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project.
In its very first report, the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report 2015’ on the project in Nairobi, the Chinese firm allays fears that only foreigners have benefited from the SGR project.
CRBC hopes the report will enhance communication and mutual understanding between itself and the public, and show its management’s ability and determination to fulfill social responsibility and promote joint development with the local society.
“Since start of construction work in Kenya, the SGR Project has created jobs for 38,000 Kenyans and trained 19,000 workers and 4,000 technicians. The training program for operation and maintenance of the SGR project is under way,”
says the report released last week Friday.
The CSR report details how the firm’s engagement in Kenya has contributed and continues to contribute to sustainable national development in all facets: water, education, environmental conservation, infrastructure, health and economic empowerment, among others.
Speaking during the launch, Steven Zhao, who is the External Relations and Cooperation Manager at CRBC for the SGR Project, said
“We are committed to leaving an imprint of sustainable development in all our sites globally. Kenya is not an exception in this respect.”
He noted the critical role that the SGR, for which CRBC is the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor, plays in the regional and national economies.
In Kenya, it has been designated a flagship project under Vision 2030, the nation’s premier economic blueprint, while within the East African Community, it is a key inter-country infrastructural project meant to improve the transport of freight and people within the Northern Corridor.
The project was conceptualized under a tripartite agreement that brings together Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
CRBC has also sponsored students with the first batch of 25 students out of a total of 60 sponsored through CRBC scholarships leaving for China to study railway engineering as undergraduates for four years.
This, the country believes will create a pool of talent for railway development not just in Kenya but even East Africa.
Mr. Zhao added that the CRBC, in all its operations was guided by the principle of sustainability and sensitivity to human, plant and animal life.
“No segment is built without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report by a qualified consultant and certification by Kenyan authorities, including the National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA),” he said.
Among the measures the firm has taken in tandem with its principle of “green” operations is an animal-friendly design that allows free movement and uninterrupted life of animals through the incorporation of viaducts and watering points along the route.
Since the commencement of the SGR Project, local content has been one of the priorities during the construction of the project.
Some 934 local suppliers of materials, equipment and services and 212 sub-contractors are working together with CRBC on the SGR Project, spawning a win-win cooperation whose life-transforming effects are being felt in many Kenyan households.
Some of the over 200 social programs that the CRBC has undertaken to mitigate the effects of its construction work and improve the living standards of Kenyans include construction of boreholes, school facilities, trading premises, sports grounds and feeder roads, among others.
The contractor has also donated foodstuffs and water to needy communities and institutions along the SGR route. The projects cover an expansive hinterland along the SGR Corridor that includes eight Counties: Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, TaitaTaveta, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado and Nairobi.