Photo: The Niger Delta Partnership Initiative. Opening of Economic Development Center.

The Niger Delta Partnership Initiative: Corporate Social Enterprise in Action

By Tam Nguyen, Manager Corporate Responsibility, Chevron

The Niger Delta Partnership Initiative: Corporate Social Enterprise in Action

All too often corporate social responsibility has, over the years, meant occasional grants and handouts to people in need, with little regard to achieving sustainable development in the long run.

Things are changing. As governments struggle with tight budgets, and business leaders discover the dangers of operating in volatile regions of the world where residents lack security, food and other basic necessities, new partnerships are forming that have the potential to transform and lift communities out of poverty.

In the oil-rich Niger Delta, Chevron is pursuing a business-led approach to development that goes way beyond traditional corporate philanthropy. The idea is to find market-driven solutions to local problems by working closely with a diverse set of stakeholders — local, national and international partners from the public, private and civil society realms — to build trust and create a peaceful environment that provides opportunities to flourish for businesses and residents alike.

Dennis Flemming, the project director of the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative, calls it corporate social enterprise.

“The initiative is heavily focused on the creation of wealth and jobs, taking an approach that suits a corporate social investor like us in such a way that we can build upon our strengths as a company,” according to Dennis. “The networks have a very broad range of partners all working to stimulate economic growth and development, reduce conflict and build local capacity.”

Chevron’s goal is to position the Niger Delta platform as a model for cross-sector collaboration and a catalyst for sustainable development in the region and beyond. Results have been promising in the Niger Delta, and Flemming said he regularly answers calls from corporate leaders interested in learning how they may apply a similar model to their business.

Editor’s Note:

Find out more about the NDPI and its Nigerian sister organization, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta

This blog is part of a 6-part special with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Follow CSIS on Twitter (@CSIS).

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