Archives for December2013




Far from being just a time for festivity and merry making, the central lesson of Christmas is the call to sacrificial giving for the welfare of humanity, following the example of God who at Christmas gives us his best.

seasons greeting

In this article we shall attempt to reflect on the message of Christmas through the prism of the vision of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria), a non-political, non-religious private-sector driven movement for social change through philanthropy.

 The word philanthropy is derived from two Greek words: ‘phileo’ meaning ‘love’ and ‘anthropos’, meaning ‘humanity’. Therefore, philanthropy can be defined as giving motivated by a genuine concern for the welfare of others. Philanthropy plays a critical role in fast-tracking large-scale social change. Free of the political pressures faced by government, as well as shareholder pressures faced by corporations, private philanthropy can affect systemic factors such as public policy, innovation, institutional capacity, consumer awareness, health and education.

 There are some who argue that philanthropy is alien to the Nigerian character.  However, this is not true at all. In fact, blacks in general are a generous race. A study conducted in the United States of America found that African Americans gave more per capita to philanthropic causes than their white compatriots. Empirical support for the predisposition of Africans to large-heartedness and generosity comes from the communal life of traditional African societies. For example, an African village woman who ran out of spices while cooking a pot of soup could go to her neighbour unannounced to seek assistance, without any doubt that she would be obliged.

Nigeria has not suffered systemic collapse, in spite of the high level of corruption, unemployment and poverty, only because the few who are optimally employed run an informal voluntary welfare system for the many that are unemployed or sub-employed. Thus, the truth is that Africans (including Nigerians) are a generous people. The Christmas spirit is a primordial part of the African spirit, innate to our culture and intrinsic to our traditional religious beliefs.

However, because our philanthropy lacks strategy, coordination, planning or focus, it is making very little impact on society at large. We need to organize our generous tendencies in such a way that it will yield high and sustainable impact on society as a whole and minimize duplication of effort and tokenism. Nigeria needs philanthropic practices that can help create a more equitable society. Our country can be transformed within half a decade or so if our giving is tailored to achieve meaningful and measureable social change. This type of giving is known as High Impact or Catalytic Philanthropy.

The Tata family of India pioneered this innovative philanthropy; and the Tata Model or Tata Way forms an excellent focus for a yuletide reflection, worthy of emulation by Nigerians of all social classes.

As was mentioned in our previous article in the Guardian Newspaper of the 22nd and 23rd of October, 2013, whilst Nigeria has no Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC), India has over 120 CCCs, mostly financed by the private sector. The Tata Group played a seminal role in making this possible by financing the first Comprehensive Cancer Centres in India in 1941 (6 years before India’s independence!).

tata cancer centre

How did they start? Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, Tata’s early years were inspired by the spirit of nationalism. Jamsetji Tata, driven by visions of a vibrant, industrialized India, set the pace with the idea that patchwork philanthropy — giving clothes to some and food to others — was not the right approach for a robust future. He determined that the greatest good to the greatest number of his compatriots would be better served by building institutions that care. It was with this in mind that he launched the JN Tata Endowment Scheme for higher education in 1892, which supported future doctors, administrators, scientists, lawyers and engineers. By 1924 over a third of officials in the Indian Civil Service were Tata scholars. The sons of the founder proved worthy torchbearers of Jamsetji Tata’s community-centeredness.

The Tata group is made up of 32 publicly listed enterprises which have a combined market capitalization of about $106.34 billion (as at December 19, 2013), and a shareholder base of 3.9 million. Accounting for 3.2% of India’s GDP, the Tata group pioneered several industries of national importance in India: steel, power, hospitality and airlines. In more recent times, its pioneering spirit has been showcased by companies such as TCS, India’s first software company, and Tata Motors, which made India’s first indigenously developed car, the Indica, in 1998 and recently unveiled the world’s most affordable car, the Tata Nano.

Interestingly, the Tatas, India’s biggest and most famous industrial family, never show up on any listing of wealthy Indians. This is because generation after generation of the family has bequeathed most of its personal wealth to charitable trusts, the Tata Trusts.

Today, The Tata Group is unique among the industrial groups of the world, in that 66 per cent of the capital of the parent firm, Tata Sons Limited, is held by Tata philanthropic trusts. The fund is utilized in carrying out the Trusts’ highly impactful work. The total annual disbursal of the Trusts for 2009 and 2010 was about $100 million and is growing in tandem with the growth of the Tata Group of companies.

The trusts endowed by the two sons of Jamsetji Tata include: the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (and its allied Trusts that include the JRD Tata Trust, Jamsetji Tata Trust, Tata Education Trust, Tata Social Welfare Trust, RD Trust) and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (including its allied Navajbai Tata Trust). These together form the earliest examples of India’s legacy in institutional philanthropy.

The older son, Sir Dorabji left behind all his personal wealth, including his substantial shareholdings in Tata Sons, Indian Hotels and allied companies, his landed property and his wife’s jewelry to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT), registered in 1932.

Significantly, SDTT’s early contribution to India came in the form of institution building. These institutions which are counted amongst the country’s premier institutions have made important contributions in the fields of medicine, science, and education. They include: Tata Institution for Social Sciences or TISS (first graduate school of social work in India), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, National Centre for Performing Arts, the National Institute for Advanced Studies and the Tata Memorial Hospital. About 40 percent of the Trust’s annual budget is still allocated to support these institutions.

Over the last decade, informed by multiple strategic review processes, SDTT’s activities have evolved significantly. The Trust today proactively identifies areas of need and then seeks out effective NGO partners who can help it address those issues.

Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) was established in 1919, after the untimely death of Sir Ratan Tata, younger brother of Sir Dorabji Tata. Known for his generosity, Sir Ratan bequeathed the bulk of his wealth to the Trust. The structured, strategic, and accountable approach to philanthropy by the SRTT today, was envisioned by Sir Ratan and specified in his will as follows:

“To engage qualified and competent persons to investigate into matters that pertain to the social, economic or political welfare of the Indian community, the object being to design schemes of a practical nature calculated to promote the welfare of the said community, care being taken that such work is not undertaken from the stereotyped point of view but from the point of view of fresh light that is thrown from day to day by the advance of science and philosophy on problems of human well-being………. No experiment and no venture should be aided or undertaken unless the scheme thereof is carefully prepared”.

True to the spirit of the will, the Trust is staffed by professionals with expertise in development issues and its programmes are based on five-year strategic plans.

As an example of how our giving can make a great difference in Nigeria, let us make reference to the crisis occasioned by the global cancer epidemic, which is the focus of the CECP-Nigeria in the 2013/2014 biennium.

As you may know, in 2010, cancer took over from heart disease as THE No. 1 KILLER OF MANKIND. Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. It is now being diagnosed in one out of every three persons alive. Sadly, 80% of cancer deaths worldwide occur in developing countries like Nigeria.  Cancer is a major contributor to untimely death in Nigeria. Every year, over 100, 000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Nigeria out of which about 80, 000 die i.e. at least 10 deaths every hour and 240 deaths every day. This means that Nigeria has one of the highest cancer death ratios in the world, since four (4) out of every five (5) Nigerians who have cancer die.

Furthermore, cancer is not just a health issue. In addition to the prolonged mortal agony of the primary sufferer, cancer victimizes the family and the society at large. Because cancer is the most expensive disease of mankind, it often results in worsening of poverty, school drop-out, marital breakdown, loss of employment, closure of otherwise viable small and medium scale business concerns and other social problems. Therefore, tackling the cancer epidemic will ameliorate so many other multi-faceted social problems. Cancer is also a human rights issue, because more than any other disease, the rich and powerful Nigerian cancer patients who can afford care are more likely to survive it while the poor and vulnerable die. Yet the very heart of the Christmas message is that we all count; the ordinary child in the manger could be more important in the scheme of things than the king on the throne.

This is why the CECP-Nigeria is calling on all Nigerians to support the move to take cancer prevention to the grassroots by donating towards the acquisition of thirty- seven (37) Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs), one for each State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

A Mobile Cancer Centre is a clinic on wheels, in which screening, follow-up and several forms of treatment (including surgeries), can take place. It includes facilities for mammography, sonology and colonoscopy. It will also contain colposcopy and cryotherapy equipment for follow-up and treatment of cervical cancer. In addition, there would be a side laboratory for prostate cancer screening as well as preventive screening against other common diseases which are known to increase the risk of cancer. These include malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, kidney disease, hypertension and HIV/AIDS.  Thus the MCC would tackle the double burden of disease i.e. Communicable & Non-Communicable Diseases.

This is a high impact/low-cost project, and has within it the seed for the transformation of Nigeria’s health sector. According to a study by the Harvard Medical School in the United States, the estimated savings of mobile clinics is staggering. The study found that for every dollar invested in the operation of the mobile clinics, $36 was saved in terms of management of chronic illnesses, avoided hospital visits, and prevention of diseases.

For instance, cervical cancer which is virtually 100% preventable kills one precious Nigerian woman every hour; the cost of cervical cancer screening and treatment of early cases is less than five thousand naira ($30) per woman. Thus less than ($30) could save a woman’s life – someone’s wife, sister, aunt, mother, or daughter. On the other hand, it could cost several millions of naira to treat the same cancer at the late stage with poorer outcome.

It is imperative to stress at this point that one does not have to be a millionaire to be a highly impactful philanthropist. While most of us may not be as wealthy as Tata, each of us can be just as generous and philanthropic as he was. We all have a role to play. According to Bill Gates, “you do not need to be the chair of a large foundation to have an impact on the world. Risk takers need backers. Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates. And whether your chief resource is volunteer time or hard-earned dollars, for a relatively small investment catalytic philanthropy can make a big impact”.

Indeed, a study carried out in the United States of America found that most of the giving to charity (87%) came from the small givers, and only 13% came from the large donors.

As Mother Theresa said, every contribution is a drop in the ocean; but the ocean would not be complete without that drop.

For example anyone may contribute towards the Mobile Cancer Centre project by sending the sms ‘ACT’ to ‘44777’ at N100 per sms; or higher amount via ATM or online at using the code ‘777526’.

Furthermore, the 37 mobile cancer centres would be realized if Nigerians would join in publicizing these two codes – 44777 and 777526 within their spheres of influence. A great way of marking this Christmas season could be to become a volunteer (Connector) in support of this campaign. Similarly, individuals, families or organisations who could donate one or more of these MCCs, would have them branded in their honour. Further information is available at Let’s ACT! Attack Cancer Together! Together we can!!

Cancer (2)

In conclusion, whatever is our religion, we need to hear afresh the divine imperative in the cry of the suffering masses of Nigeria. At face value it ought to be a thing of joy that we Nigerians are said to be the most religious people on earth, provided we embrace a life of self-giving, as a response to our professed faith. Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata group of India was not a Christian – he was a Zoroastrian; yet in the aspect of unselfish generosity, he lived out the great ideals of a godly life.

The giver invariably gets more than he gives, as the story of the phenomenal growth of the Tata Group illustrates. Like Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Goodness is the only investment that never fails. Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.    Therefore, let us embrace true philanthropy, guided by the Christ-like spirit of generosity and sacrifice. It is only then that we can truly have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Copyright © 2013 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)




His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, flanked to the left by: Mrs Tutu Adeleke, Convener, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria); Alhaji Remi Bello, President, LCCI and Co-chair CECP; Dr Abia Nzelu, Executive Secretary of CECP; to the right by Chief (Dr) Michael Olawale-Cole, out-going President of NIM and Co-chair CECP and Dr U.N.O. Uwaga, in-coming President of NIM and Co-chair CECP and others.



Mrs Tutu Adeleke, Convener, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) with the Most Revd Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos and an advocate of CECP-Nigeria