By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — The 3,000-plus employees of BankMuscat have taken social responsibility to new levels, setting a fine example in developing social work as corporate culture. The bank’s various departments have initiated social projects benefiting weaker sections of society and disadvantaged communities. The social projects stem from an innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative launched by the bank early this year in line with the Royal directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to accord priority for social responsibility. Notably, the CSR programme is the first of its kind in Oman and the region to engage all staff in making a big difference in giving back to society. The BankMuscat CSR initiative is an earnest attempt to respond to reality. As the leading bank in the Sultanate, BankMuscat is at the forefront to contribute to society and thereby set a fine example for the banking sector to develop social work as corporate culture. The CSR initiative is a commitment to involve everybody in the bank in social activities. The bank aims to bring social responsibility in the blood of everyone as the culture of the organisation. The initiative reflects the bank’s commitment to set benchmark standards in social responsibility. As part of the CSR strategy, all employees are committed to a minimum of five hours of voluntary social work in a year as well as monetary contributions. Employees are assigned specific key performance indicator (KPI) requirements linked to social work for their annual performance appraisal. The employees have the option to choose from projects, based on their specific interests. The bank staff are setting fine example as good corporate citizens, actively contributing to the community in line with the CSR commitment. Social work represents both an important and critical aspect of working as an employee in BankMuscat. It allows employees to demonstrate the sincerest form of concern for the community.
In a notable social responsibility initiative, the bank staff extended support to AbdulRazik al Zaaby from the wilayat of Khabourah facing a difficult life situation without hands and legs to undergo medical treatment in India. AbdulRazik received treatment at reputed Jaipur Foot House which specialises in artificial limbs. AbdulRazik’s difficult situation was shared with the staff who responded enthusiastically to extend all support. Like many youngsters, AbdulRazik aspires to be an engineer. He is, of course, aware of the limited means of his 12-member family (10 siblings and parents) and his own physical challenges, but is determined to accomplish his ambition.
In preparation for the month of Ramadhan, another CSR initiative by staff benefited residents of Kahf al Jinn village in Sharqiyah Governorate. The bank’s Credit Division initiated the project which evoked strong support from the staff of all departments, raising over RO 10,000 in voluntary donations. A 50-member team from the bank visited Kahf al Jinn and distributed food and other essential items aggregating 5,000 kilograms to 110 families. The food items included rice, wheat flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil and dates, besides blankets and footwear. The items were distributed to residents in 9 different areas of Kahf al Jinn.
Abdul Kader al Balushi, GM — Credit said: “The initiative by the BankMuscat staff to reach out to weaker sections of society was appropriate and timely prior to the onset of the month of Ramadhan.
The visit to Kahf al Jinn has energised the BankMuscat staff to further consolidate the lead in helping weaker sections of society with meaningful contributions.” Located 150 km east of Muscat, Kahf al Jinn is famous for Majlis al Jinn, reckoned among the largest cave chambers in the world. Most of the residents of Kahf al Jinn lack basic amenities, including housing and water supply. The nearest schools and hospitals are 2 hours drive away and with only a handful of vehicles, transportation for the people is very difficult. Power supply to the village is about to be provided as electrification was recently completed.
The village is also awaiting telephone network facility. Extreme weather conditions prevail in the village requiring the people to have proper clothing for cold conditions.
In another initiative, the Executive Management office staff took up the cause of the family of a poor widow with six children for support and help. The family residing in the Wilayat of Wadi al Maawil is facing difficult financial and living conditions. Their house is in a dilapidated condition and in view of their plight, the Executive Management office staff have taken the initiative to build a new house with financial support coming mainly from them and contributions collected by their efforts. Construction of the new house is expected to commence soon after obtaining necessary approvals. As part of staff CSR initiative, a 2-day exhibition was hosted at the head office showcasing the works of vision-impaired Omani artisans who were trained by the bank in the fields of pottery and ceramic craft. The exhibition organised by the Human Resources department evoked big response as the Management Team, staff members and visitors turned out in large numbers and supported the artisans by purchasing a variety of handicrafts. Salim al Kaabi, DGM — Human Resources Management, said: “The exhibition was hosted as a follow-up of ‘Jesr al Mustaqbal’ programme aimed at offering opportunities to Omani youth to develop employable skills. BankMuscat is committed to its corporate social responsibility and thereby contribute towards sustainable development by working closely with local communities.”
The training benefiting 40 vision-impaired youths was launched by the bank as part of ‘Jesr al Mustaqbal’ (Bridge to Future) integrated CSR programme offering scholarships, training and rehabilitation directed to serve young Omanis from low-income families. The training for the vision impaired was aimed at enhancing their skills and integrating them with mainstream society.
In another initiative called ‘Coins for Hearts’, the staff actively participated in games and fun activities at the bank to raise donations for weaker sections of society. This was a unique initiative as the staff had fun even as they contributed to the social cause. The donations were distributed to charitable organisations. BankMuscat Hearts implements the CSR projects announced by the bank. BankMuscat Hearts is a voluntary initiative by the bank staff to undertake community activities.
The informal society regularly conducts voluntary social work benefiting society, especially the underprivileged segments. BankMuscat is the first Omani bank to establish a full-fledged CSR department. Considered among core values, the CSR policy stems from the bank’s strong belief in the importance of social responsibility.
It reflects the bank’s concern and care for various segments of society. The bank is of the view that its social responsibility is not merely participation in charitable works and organisation of voluntary campaigns, but responsibility towards all-round development of society. BankMuscat focuses on all types of projects that fall within the framework of social responsibility and their importance and overall benefit both to society and individuals.
The prime consideration includes the benefit reaching the largest number of individuals; the youth and job-seekers and provision of opportunities for the development of skills/human capital. Efforts are also targeted at individuals with special needs to enhance their capabilities with the aim of integrating them into mainstream society.