July 12, 2024

Embracing the power of collective action on International Volunteer Day 2023

3 min read

The United Nations International Volunteer Day, celebrated annually on 5 December, is a unique opportunity for volunteers and organisations worldwide to celebrate their contributions, share their values and promote their work within their communities. The theme for 2023 is: “The Power of Collective Action: If Everyone Did”.

The UN 4th State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR 2022), titled “Building Equal and Inclusive Societies”, shows that the ways in which volunteers and entities interact, collaborate and partner are vital for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Volunteerism plays a crucial role in promoting a culture of collaborative decision-making and reshaping power dynamics. Volunteers can act as connectors, bridging the gap between different groups and facilitating better understanding and co-operation.

“At Sanofi South Africa, we understand the immense value of collective efforts in building a healthier, more resilient world for patients, communities, partners and employees,” says Prudence Selani, head of Corporate Affairs at Sanofi South Africa. “Our dedication to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges is evident in our comprehensive social impact strategy, which is now an integral part of our business – influencing every level of our organisation.”

Sanofi’s Play to Win strategy intensifies the pharmaceutical company’s focus on improving healthcare access, reducing its environmental footprint and building an inclusive workplace. This commitment extends to ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations.

The organisation is making a lasting impact through its corporate social responsibility legacy project in Mamelodi, in the City of Tshwane, which forms part of Sanofi’s global In and Beyond the Workplace social impact strategy pillar: “to reflect the diversity of its communities, unleash the full potential of its employees and transform healthcare to be more inclusive and equitable.”

After engagement with numerous organisations, Sanofi partnered with Entokozweni Resource Centre in Mamelodi to make a real difference in people’s lives. The non-profit organisation is dedicated to uplifting the Mamelodi community through a variety of programmes and initiatives, focusing on long-term developmental goals and immediate community needs​.

“The launch of our Legacy Project on 15 September 2023 at Entokozweni was a resounding success, drawing extensive support from our staff,” says Selani. “We dedicated the day to connecting with the people of Entokozweni and the broader community, marking the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.”

Support for the community includes:

  • Donating essential items such as mattresses, toiletries, stationery, uniforms and clothing.
  • Providing 250 Coursera licences to empower Mamelodi’s youth with skills for employment and helping to transform the lives of their families and community.
  • Hosting the Mamelodi Community Health Centre’s Purpose Day at Entokozweni, focusing on educating the community about gut health and the importance of hygiene.
  • Converting an illegal dumping site into a vibrant indigenous garden during the Sanofi Legal Ethics & Business Integrity department Giving Week, through collaborating with employees, local communities and various stakeholders.

“As we celebrate International Volunteer Day, we are reminded of the importance of working together to effect real change,” says Selani. “Volunteerism is one of the most vital delivery mechanisms for social, environmental and economic transformation, ensuring a lasting impact because it can change people’s mindsets, attitudes and behaviours. The power of collective action is not just a theme for a day but a guiding principle in transforming lives through united efforts.”

Join the UN in recognising volunteers all over the world using the hashtags #IfEveryoneDid and #IVD2023.

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