Corporate Social Responsibility in focus
The people of Makoko, a small but thriving community located within Yaba in Lagos are known to be highly hospitable, very innovative and hardworking. Given their closeness to nature, they basically live on water with their main occupation being fishing. It requires no elaborate inquisition to know that they could do better with any form of assistance to ease their pains and strains as they strive to earn their living.
Always ready to greet and ever willing to respond, the Makoko residents with their make-shift wooden buildings comfortably sitting atop water reminds one of what life must have been in Venice, the Italian dream city for lovers and friends.
The canoe, the only means of transportation in the village; and the basic means of conducting day to day business, is also the primary tool of sustenance as well as fishing. Here, survival is quite challenging and a fierce battle because of the continuing changes in the weather, such as increasing water levels, strong tidal currents, and, of course, human induced challenges of environmental pollution, like excrete and throwing dirty and harmful substances in the water.
Little children, women and men alike, swiftly glide through the thick dark water in their boats, gently paddling as they maneuver through the water, along street-like structured wooden and bamboo houses. It paints the picture of squalor with all the characteristics that go with such settlements.
Presently, the community, comprising Nigerians of such ethnic orientations as ILAJE, EGUN and Yorubas, is a little over 100 years old and is essentially self-governing with very limited government presence. It struggles to get support from various institutions and NGOs, and is essentially drifting amidst the fear of going under.
Sterling Bank recently beamed its CSR searchlight around various segments of our environment with a view to create endearing legacies and uplift the well-being of lives irrespective of parameters such as race, ethnicity and socio-economic class among others.
Call it coincidence or a fairy tale, this fishing community patiently and excitedly embraced the “Sterling Touch” to further empower them; even as they were more than comfortable to continue their lifestyle the way they have always done. Their joy came from getting that much-needed recognition from a civilized segment of the society.
“We love our lifestyle, we only want to be recognised, seen and heard”. – The MAKOKO COMMUTER. This Sterling quality, the sheer demonstration of determination and a resolute will to excel despite all odds; caught the heart of the One-customer Bank and it was decided that "wings" be provided for these enterprising people to fly unhindered. Sterling Bank has since initiated the Sterling-Makoko Partnership; a partnership that centres on the development of the “soon to be Venice” of Nigeria.