First Bank’s commitment to nation building largely informs the brand’s approach to corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR&S) which is three-pronged: citizenship, stakeholder management and impact management. Citizenship and stakeholder management involve considering the needs of stakeholders when making decisions; while impact management is about minimising negative impacts and increasing positive inclusive impacts on society. It is about creating long-term stakeholder value by adopting the opportunities and managing the associated environmental, social and governance risks. The CR&S approach is contained in the Group’s corporate responsibility policy. The policy clearly outlines the company’s commitments and approach to corporate responsibility, as well as the Group’s CR&S governance framework. The policy’s scope and respective guidelines apply to operations and activities throughout the Group, including the subsidiaries in all locations, stakeholders and associated partners representing the Group.
The CR&S approach is designed to deliver value in a structured way along four key areas within the subsidiaries of FBN Holdings: driving sustainable finance and investments; empowering people; supporting our communities; and contributing to environmental sustainability
Regardless of the impact of COVID-19, as a responsible corporate organization the bank remains committed to supporting all our stakeholders in the most sustainable manner possible. The Bank has been woven into the fabric of society for over 126 years, overcoming challenges and has remained a dominant player, partnering and supporting various sustainable activities towards the continued growth of our host communities and the nation at large.
In these unprecedented times, organisations have been supporting the government with hospital beds or isolation centres and mostly focused on the health sector and with the societal challenges caused by the pandemic we choose to intervene for the children.
In partnership with government and other stakeholders in extending our attention to the immediate needs of the society, in the face of the widespread COVID-19, we put in place complementary efforts in education to support students and minimise the disruption to education resulting from schools’ closure.
Furthermore, FirstBank donated N1 billion towards the joint effort of the Nigerian private sector-driven CACOVID (Coalition Against COVID-19) under the leadership of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele. CACOVID is providing the bulk of emergency infrastructural interventions across Nigeria.
These partnerships and initiatives will be elaborated upon subsequently.
Remarkably, the Sub-Sahara African subsidiaries have also made donations so far in the total sum of $173,000 in cash and kind towards alleviating the impact of COVID-19 on the continent.
FIRSTBANK E-LEARNING INITIATIVE – DRIVE TO MOVE 1-MILLION STUDENTS TO E-LEARNING
FirstBank e-learning initiative provides students the opportunities to get e-learning solutions. These solutions include Government accredited curriculum-based content for students from pre-school, primary through to secondary school as well as select university courses designed to ensure children are adequately guided and engaged through their learning experience. It also provides opportunities for the acquisition of digital skills to encourage self-development and continuous improvement.
First Bank is working with different partners to deliver the e-learning solutions to the target audiences (students, the youth and staff). Currently, in the drive to move one million students to e-learning, First Bank has kick-started partnership with United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); IBM; Lagos State Government and Roberts & John Limited.
Roberts & John (Roducate) – Roberts & John is an Edu-tech company that offers Roducate. The platform has eight modules which include: lecture notes, tutorial/revision videos; assignments/class work for students; exams; life skills; games and network.
The advantages of using this platform beyond accessing content include: teachers’ notes can be uploaded by class and by subject; teachers can upload lecture/instructional videos for students to review at set times or on demand as preferred. These videos are watched within the application. In addition, assignments can be scheduled on a daily/weekly/monthly basis with option to set timeline for submission, so it can be submitted at a specific time, as preferred. This can be in the form of objective questions with automatic grading or essay writing submitted for teachers’ review and scoring. The platform comes with a huge bank of mock exams (NECO, GCE, Common entrance, JAMB, etc.) and schools also have the option to set their own exams for students to complete online. Exams can be timed as required.
Through this module, teachers can create groups to chat with the students, and provide support for class work. Additional benefits include safe learning. A major advantage of Roducate is that it supports online safety. Whilst giving students full access to preferred content including links to games and videos, it blocks unwanted ads and content.
There are two learning models Roducate offers which are online and offline.
LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
The partnership with Lagos State has seen us provide low-end devices for students preloaded with Roducate offline; content which include Government accredited curriculum for primary through secondary and several university courses. On Thursday, 11 June 2020, the CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited presented 20,000 units of e-learning devices to the Lagos State Government at the State House in Marina, Lagos. These devices will see Lagos State distribute to children in the lower bracket who may not have access to devices or data from home. The solution is preloaded on smart phones with little usage technicality to ensure ease of use or user friendliness. The phones in partnership with MTN have SIMs and limited data usable for and tied only to the learning product, which means the recipients cannot browse but can submit mock tests etc.
Following the gesture, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State had found a “real development partner” in FirstBank, noting that the intervention came at a time the Government was massively deploying technology to transform the conventional mode of teaching and learning.
So far, the Bank has enabled over 50,000 free sign-ups to the e-learning platforms with the goal to empower one million students across various initiatives and partnerships.
In a bid to drive engagement and participation on the e-learning initiatives, several competitions have been done and are ongoing to ensure the students are learning on the platform, thereby making learning fun.
As an active member of the CACOVID intervention, the Bank has launched isolation centres and donated medical equipment worth hundreds of millions of naira to the government of Borno state, Oyo state, and Yobe State as well as cash donations to the government of Cross River and Oyo state to fight the spread of the deadly Coronavirus in the states.