At Methanex, we know that our team extends beyond our doors and into the communities where we operate. We have a long-term commitment to bring positive change to Damietta communities through grassroot and sustainable initiatives that stem out of real community needs.
At Methanex in Egypt, our focus on open and transparent collaboration with our neighbors, community leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community development associations (CDAs) has helped us build trust with the community and respond successfully to local concerns and needs.
Our community investment priorities reflect the global and local nature of our business and focus on areas where Methanex can make a unique and sustainable difference in Egypt including empowerment & training, health, education and many others.
EMPOWERMENT AND TRAINING:
As part of our commitment to positively contribute to the communities in which we operate in a sustainable manner, Methanex in Egypt signed a partnership with the United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2019; a key milestone in the company’s sustainable development journey, aligning its Social Investment strategy with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by extending the full-scale of the ILO’s Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People (DJEP) project to Damietta addressing one of Egypt’s most pressing challenges, that of youth unemployment and underemployment. The project would enable the creation of jobs in Damietta over the course of the project through a $1,000,000 donation to the ILO.
The ‘Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People– Tackling the Challenge in Damietta’ project aims to build on the wealth of experience and success of the ILO Canadian-funded DJEP project to create decent employment opportunities for youth in the governorate of Damietta, through promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating job matching processes. In addition to building capacities of local partners on the ground for improved services to support unemployed youth and job matching processes, the project will address key cross-cutting themes including occupational safety and health (OSH), the inclusion of people with disabilities and gender mainstreaming.
Through this agreement, Methanex, in partnership with ILO, will deliver four of the DJEP project main programs, these are: Get Ahead Program for Women in Enterprise, Start and Improve Your Business, Job Search Clubs and Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Technical Schools.
- Get Ahead for Women in Enterprise: This program is designed to promote enterprise development among low-income women, who want to start or are already involved in small-scale business through strengthening their basic business and people management skills. Methanex managed to successfully train 319 women from Damietta so far. Methanex Egypt also provided the Get Ahead for Women in Enterprise Training the Trainers (ToT) program which targeted women from Damietta in collaboration with the National Council for Women (NCW) to ensure the sustainability of the program in the future by trainers from the community.
- Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB): This program aims to enable potential entrepreneurs to develop concrete, feasible and bankable business ideas to start their own small business. By the end of the training, these potential entrepreneurs will have completed a basic business plan that will serve as a blueprint for starting up their businesses. So far, the program trained 447 people in Damietta. This program is done in partnership with the ILO and Egypt’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA).
- Job Search Clubs: This program provides an enriching environment where young people gather and share resources and contacts while searching for jobs in various fields under the supervision of trained facilitators. So far, the program trained 184 people in Damietta in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports.
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Technical School Teachers: This program is centered and focused on training teachers and trainers in vocational and technical schools on an innovation and entrepreneurship curriculum delivered as part of a partnership between the ILO and the Egyptian Ministry of Education, funded through DJEP Methanex.
The ILO Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People in Damietta project remains active as one of Methanex’s social investment projects as it has recently launched its first activity for 2021 in March through the Business Development Services (BDS) clinic. The BDS clinic was a result of collaboration between the ILO, MSMEDA, and the Chamber of Wood Working & Furniture Industries (CWWFI). Through the clinic, the SIYB beneficiaries from 2018 until 2020 were provided with free consultation and sessions to assess their projects’ status, understand factors affecting their performance, and provide solutions to the challenges they face ensuring the sustainability of their projects beyond the initial training provided to them.
Methanex is currently preparing new intakes of the different training programs under its ILO funded project to empower more individuals from the community building on its successful partnerships with the different local entities and authorities that have positively impacted the program delivery over the past couple of years.
As a result of the myriad initiatives and projects that had a tangible positive impact on its surrounding communities, in 2019, Methanex Egypt received the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) Humane Entrepreneurship Award, presented at the UN HQ in New York, in recognition of its contribution to the enrichment of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) culture in Damietta. The award is given by the ICSB to organizations that successfully attain business excellence, while also making a positive impact on their communities. It also offers the award to businesses that are able to harmonize economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection together and meet at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
One of our key community social responsibility focus areas is health. Through our contributions, we support the enhancement of medical services and facilities within the surrounding communities of Kafr Saad, Kafr El Battikh, Sananeya and Damietta in general.
Throughout the years we have provided the Kafr El Battikh central hospital, Damietta Fever hospital and Damietta Cancer Institute, three of main hospitals in the governorate, with the essential. Methanex in Egypt’s support included providing kidney dialysis machines, more than 160 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, chemo-therapy chairs, ICU ventilators, neonatal units for premature babies and many other equipment across the years. We have also built a medical centre for the Friends of Liver Patients Association of Kafr El Battikh. In addition, our social responsibility (SR) team and some volunteer employees have organized a number of medical caravans providing much needed medical services to nearby villages across the years each serving thousands of patients.
Education has been a key focus area for our social responsibility program over the years. One of our main educational social responsibility projects is a flagship scholarship program executed with the support of Misr El Kheir foundation providing 10 high-school graduates from Damietta with a full stipend to support their university education. The scholarship is given out each year until graduation, provided they maintain their academic standard. So far, Methanex has successfully assisted 63 students to continue their higher education over the past six years. To encourage students to attain high academic scores throughout the different academic years, Methanex organizes an annual recognition event for outstanding students in nearby villages.
Our team has also invested in the infrastructure of Kindergartens around Damietta through providing financial support, building, renovating and/or equipping them with necessary educational materials and tools. Five Kindergartens (KGs) were supported so far providing essential pre-school education that would have otherwise been unattainable for children of these communities. In addition, we provided teachers with capacity-building programs and teacher training to equip them with the necessary techniques and modern educational methodologies. This was also extended to school teachers of children with special needs to enhance the teachers’ efficiency and skills.
COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS:
While the company’s focus remains to be on more sustainable approaches, Methanex does not hesitate to stand by the community at times of need.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Methanex partnered with the Egyptian Food Bank to provide food boxes to more than 12,000 households in Damietta who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic in 2020. Methanex cooperated with the Egyptian Food Bank again in 2021 to support more than 5300 families in different areas and villages in Damietta during the Holy month of Ramadan.
Methanex Egypt was also one of the first responders to support the medical sector in its battle against COVID-19 through One Hand initiative launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Egypt Oil & Gas Corporate Social Responsibility subcommittee in partnership with Misr El-Kheir. The initiative donations were used to purchase much needed medical supplies and equipment such as medical gowns, goggles, and surgical masks amongst others.
Methanex Egypt continues to be committed to supporting the community around its plant in Damietta through sustainable development interventions that empower young women and men and prepare them for a better future.