Jan 27, 2011

Light a Candle than Curse the Darkness

Alfa 4-Life Program 

At the dawn of the 21st century, ethical issues have gained a lot of attention and media coverage. Mostly, management of ethics and ethics of management were the main topic for the value and knowledge panel at Notre Dame University. The speakers discussed how unethical behaviors in firms and companies might lead to environmental issues as the depletion of the Amazon forest, and business matters such as unemployment, poverty and infringement of other rights.
Lately, corporation powers are prevailing over ethical issues. However, many try to correct such deviations because, according to Kofi Anan, irresponsibility results in the loss of power. To this many industries have been implementing the corporate social responsibility or better known as CSR.
CSR takes into consideration the stakeholders’ needs while weighing the shareholders expectations. In Lebanon, one of the first leading companies has integrated CSR in their ethical management prospect for the future. Alfa, managed by ORASCOM Telecom, is behaving in a socially responsible manner to allow free interaction in the market place and also present a follow-up on the global growth for awareness on specific social causes.
Alfa launched Alfa 4 life, a SMS service to fund children-in-communication-need plans. This program sends a SMS to donate $1 to many causes such as Autism in Lebanon, Physically and Mentally challenged children (SESOBEL, ACSUVEL…) and many others. The money raised goes straight to these associations or NGOs to help them improve the life of these children by providing communication therapy. For instance, SESOBEL holds a drama therapy session for its members. Others like SOS-Village d’Enfants hold musical events or ceremonies. These contests help promote awareness in our Lebanese society. Also, these programs would not have existed if it weren’t for the fund raising SMS plan that Alfa is conducting. Since 2006 till present times, Alfa has raised around $25,000 to give away to charity. Moreover, in 2010, Alfa launched a new funding program aiming at raising awareness to women issues
Upon following this plan, Alfa achieves:
  • Ø Promotion of tolerance
  • Ø Self-sustainable funding programs for these associations
  • Ø Traffic to contribute to these causes
  • Ø Creation of a CSR trend
Media coverage of Alfa’s CSR activity has raised responsiveness in our society. This corporation has set an example in social work and hence became a leader in its field. Alfa generated a dynamic initiative to raise awareness, and by donations, integration into society has become an easy step for those of us less fortunate.
In corporations as big as Alfa, the application of CSR is a social contract signed to better the social quality of life. At NDU, students are working towards achieving such a life by experimenting with ethical dilemmas in their own fields. For instance, a survey was done to show the ethical background and behavior of students in the workplace. Many results showed that ethical behavior in the workplace is not fully incorporated. The results were contradictory and varied between those who encourage ethics and others who endorse profitability at the expense of ethics.
It is our responsibility to create environments of ethical management rather than management of ethics, whereby each individual is ethically accountable of their behavior towards the company and others.
Let us blow the whistles to promote ethicality for life, not to overcome instantaneous conflicts.