Caring for our communities is important to us. We encourage all our people to engage in community projects at a local level.
Supporting our communities is part of our Social Responsibility value: "We aim to make a positive difference to the communities where we operate and seek ways to assist them."
As an organization, Wood Group provides a lot of support for our communities. Many of our people give up their time to volunteer and we try to make a positive difference. We do it because it is integral to what we do. It's the type of people we are and reflects the kind of company we want to be, a good corporate citizen who cares, a company that gives something back.
Our employees' activities in Bangladesh and Trinidad & Tobago are two examples of how our people are helping their local communities.
When we asked our local staff in Bangladesh how we might make a difference to the communities they highlighted a problem with education for young children. Because there are not enough places in the school system children have to pass a test to secure a place in a state school. If their parents don't read or write, or if they have no parents, passing the test is extremely difficult.
Wood Group has set up a number of classrooms to teach the children (typically 4 to 8 years old) basic word and number skills so they can sit the state school entrance exams and get into school. For many they will be the first in their family to enjoy an education, which offers the prospect of pulling the family out of poverty. So far over 3,000 families have benefitted from this programme, as their children have graduated from it to the state school system.
We also raised funds and built a three-storey multi-purpose building that serves as a place to provide education and health care. We are handing stewardship of this building to the local community. During tropical storms our building provides shelter for over 1700 women and children.
In Trinidad & Tobago, employees of our Neal & Massy Wood Group (NMWG) joint venture are helping to make a positive difference to the Mayaro/Guayaguayare community, a small fishing community on the south-eastern side of the country. They have introduced projects that focus on education, training, personal skills and social development, programmes that contribute to the development and empowerment of the entire community.
One of our major initiatives is the SWOTS program, Successful Women on Towards Self Reliance, which focuses on the issues faced by women and their children in the community. SWOTS began in 2008, and has since touched the lives of women from different villages in the Mayaro/Guayaguayare community, addressing various issues ranging from abuse, illiteracy, school drop-out, teenage pregnancy and poverty. Through forums, weekly sessions and community outreach activities in more remote villages, the programme offers learning experiences that facilitate empowerment, self-development and self-reliance. It also aims to address the root causes of problems associated with things like unemployment and illiteracy.
SWOTS is now a registered Community Based Organisation (CBO) with Trinidad & Tobago's Ministry of Community Development, and has its own leadership team and executive committee comprising former participants of this life-changing programme.