Esteban Vargas Montero from Costa Rica is serving as an international service fellow in Guasca, Colombia, 2017-2018 and provides this report on América Solidaria Colombia’s corporate volunteerism program.
America Solidaria’s relationship with Falabella Corporation demonstrates the value of corporate volunteering for community development.
In recent days, as part of its corporate volunteer program, more than 60 employees of the Seguros Falabella, belonging to the Falabella Corporation, visited the headquarters in Guasca, Cundinamarca of the Organization Pro Niñez Indefensa (OPNI), which serves as a host organization partner of America Solidaria Colombia.
We had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Héctor Pinzón, general manager of Falabella Insurance, who told us about their two years of experience carrying out activities similar to our project at OPNI. One corporate volunteer noted that, in addition to the work that volunteers carry out with girls and adolescents, corporate volunteers also have a unique impact on projects due to their skills, knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship.
Pinzón also noted that part of the purpose of Falabella Insurance is to impact society; corporate volunteering has represented for its employees the possibility of transcending and fulfilling this purpose beyond daily office work, through the work carried out by America Solidaria Colombia. They have found, in our foundation, a mission and vision congruent with the purposes of Falabella Insurance.
At the organizational level, corporate volunteering with OPNI has generated positive cultural change, as volunteering activities go hand in hand with Falabella’s philosophy of working for a purpose rather than a numerical objective; a mission that aligns very closely with that of America Solidaria. This process of cultural change has involved sensitizing employees, with the intention of training workers who are more humane and aware of the different social needs of the country, and demonstrating how, through their daily work, these workers can have a positive impact on society.
Seguros Falabella aims to generate greater awareness among workers who have not yet been involved in corporate volunteering, through the testimony of officials who have participated in various activities with OPNI. In addition, Seguros Falabella seeks to generate commitment among top managers, whose participation in volunteering programs serves as an inspiring example of engagement with collaborators.
In addition to corporate volunteering, Seguros Falabella has dedicated itself to increasing contributions to the causes supported by America Solidaria. This occurs in a variety of ways, including constant communications with employees and clients; celebrating a monthly day dedicated to America Solidaria, where Falabella employees wear shirts related to America Solidaria causes; and inviting customers to support the causes of America Solidaria. This also occurs through Falabella’s annual dinner, where Falabella invites its suppliers and partners to contribute to and connect with America Solidaria.
Finally, Pinzón intends to follow up successful projects that foster entrepreneurship among girls and adolescents who graduate from OPNI, and encourage them to serve as examples of improvement, determination and perseverance for their peers .
Thus, this case exemplifies the positive potential for social work that can be done by these distinct organizations. Through similar relationships with host organization partners in the future, inter-organizational links can play an important role in the transformation we seek in America Solidaria.