FDH Bank partners Rise & Shine in ‘Be Green Smart’ tree planting campaign 

In its commitment to plant 1 million trees by 2024 in the promotion of “a truly sustainable environment in Malawi and the world at large”, FDH Bank Plc partnered with Mulanje-based Rise & Shine Private School on Tuesday to plant trees at Njeza Promary School based at the district’s Boma.

FDH Bank leader of delegation, Group Head of Audit, Allans Nkhoma, said they are driving towards the agenda of planting the 1 million trees in partnership with staff members, customers and stakeholders — such as Rise & Shine School — “through various initiatives in alignment with the MW2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, more especially goals 3; 6; 11; 13; 14 and 17”.

Group Head of Audit, Allans Nkhoma setting the example

The exercise also involved other stakeholders such as traditional chiefs and the district’s forestry and education office to plant trees along Likhubula River.

“As FDH Bank, one of our strategic pillars focuses on Sustainability,” Nkhoma said. “Under this pillar, we are running the ‘Be Green Smart’ campaign through tree planting activities involving our staff members, partnerships with various organizations and head office initiatives.

“We also adopted Chingale Hills in Zomba where we plant trees and engage communities in conservation support as well as encouraging them to take care of the trees they plant to ensure of their 100% survival.

“We also sponsor pro-green initiatives by different players who support environmental sustainability — a corroboration that included EGENCO; Blantyre Water Board; Mzuzu City Council; Mzuzu University; LUANAR; Catholic Men’s Organization; Chileka Lions Club; CADECOM; Farmers Union; Zomba City Council and now Njedza Primary School — through Rise & Shine.

Rise & Shine headgirl fulfilling her role

“FDH Bank Plc recognizes the importance of a geeen environment and as a responsible corporate citizen, we continually reinforce our commitment to champion a sustainable and resilient green environment.

“We truly applaud the commitment to a pro-green environment shown by officials and the community here in Mulanje and we encourage you all not to relent in these efforts as promoting a sustainable environment is key to a sustainable future for all of us.”

Activities to celebrate the event included inspiring poetry recitals and songs performed by both Njedza and Rise & Shine, which prompted Nkhoma to take cognizance that “these young minds spoke from their hearts — this is a loud cry to us that we should assist towards conservation of the environment for their use once we are gone”.

Rise and Shine director Cynthia Maere

“We hope that our collaborative efforts is to build a better Malawi that is truly sustainable for the current generation and its future — such as these children here,” Nkhoma said.

In her remarks, Rise & Shine Director, Cynthia Maere said she was immensely proud that FDH Bank supported the “incentive campaign of planting trees involving her school and Njedza Primary” adding that “being a tenant does not refrain you from developing the sorrounding” because it is “your home and such such you need to take care of it”.

“I am not here to give a lecture on importance and benefits of trees, rather I would like to say; let’s all take part in conserving our environment.

It’s never too late for you to plant a tree and never be discouraged by the size of any tree because it won’t be there forever. The most important thing is, the replaced trees still serve the same purpose as those of the older or cut ones at some point.

Let us encourage our children in the homes to plant trees no matter who owns the place we live on — our homes won’t be the same if we develop this spirit.”

She thus thanked FDH Bank in the support towards creation of Rise & Shine, saying “it has come to improve quality of education which the Ministry of Education if fighting to improve”.

Rise & Shine School was launched in December last year by a group Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) graduates, with support from FDH Bank under Graduate Start-up Program.

The programme falls under the Bank’s sustainable key pillar whose main objective is to empower the youths, women, young girls as well as the elderly.

The FDH Bank Graduate Start-up initiative, the first of its kind in the financial services industry as well as the corporate world, was mooted after Deputy Managing Director, George Chitera attended a symposium organised by MUBAS’ Faculty of Education & Media Studies — which impressed, Chitera as guest of honour.

After sharing with the rest of the FDH Holdings’ management team, they resolved to gather the students again for the real time presentations named FDH Graduate Start Ups, where the students were dared to present real-time business ideas and plans for possible injection of working capital.

Done at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre, the students — who formed nine real time companies — pitched their business ideas to a panel of 7 executive management of FDH Holdings, that included Chitera.

The panelists, that included FDH Money Bureau Managing Director, Daniel Pinto Khamula; First Discount House Managing Director Mike Chiwalo and several FDH Holdings heads of department, finally identified 5 for further nurturing.

After the nurturing and assessment, the most viable ones from the five were to get funding upon their graduation from MUBAS with continued mentoring by the financial services providers.

The nine companies the final year students formed then were Clean Energy of Enterprise; Direct-Connect Real Estate Solutions; Kuwali interior Design & Decoration; Clean Energy of Malawi; My Artistic Dream School of Art and Gallery; Rise & Shine Secondary School; The Public Eye; Umodzi Farm and Yours Truly Event Planning & Management.

They all presented from power points their management plans; capital projections; marketing strategies; mass media visibility as well as how to cope with challenges the country is facing through the CoVID-19 pandemic.

The five that were selected for further assessment and nurturing were Rise & Shine School; Clean Energy of Enterprise (CLEE); Direct-Connect Real Estate Solutions (Di-coRES); Kuwali Interior Design & Decoration (KIDD) and My Artistic Dream (School of Art and Gallery).

Rise & Shine Group has a total of 8 members and started their operations on October 8, 2022 and has managed to employ over 20 members of staff.

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