Mark Harman, the Country Manager for Bata South Africa Photo: Supplied
CAPE TOWN - Bata South Africa giving away 10 000 pairs shoes to school children as a part of their Bata Children's Programme.

Mark Harman, the Country Manager for Bata South Africa, spoke with Business Report about their campaign and how it will benefit the kids.

1. What was the inspiration behind the 10 000 pairs shoe campaign?

This year Bata South Africa wanted to take action and inspire change so we wanted a campaign that would stand out and make a statement.

2. How do you ensure you and your team deliver on objectives?

One of the main objectives of the Bata Children's Programme (BCP) is that we foster a unique corporate culture of service to the children of communities, where employees are encouraged to play an active role. 

With this in mind, the staff were allowed the opportunity to nominate schools and worthy organisations to be recipients of a pair of Toughees school shoes. 

Besides nominating the schools and institutions they will also play a part in the handing out of the school shoes to schools. 

3. What is your company’s vision going forward?

BCP has identified four main areas of development for children where Bata can make a difference. The four areas include: Education, Health and Safety, Living in a Sustainable World and Mentoring and Skills.

We are looking to improve access to basic education and this can be done through shoe donations to children to meet their uniform needs. 

Bata also has other initiatives that are going to carry out throughout the rest of the year to achieve the other three areas of development. 

4. How do you evaluate your successes?

With a campaign like this own, the pure joy, happiness and delight on a child's face is all you need to know that you have achieved your goal. It is also refreshing to hears stories from teachers who tell us that these children actually look forward to coming because the shoes that has been given them has boosted their confidence. 

5. What is your message to other companies?

Stand up, make a difference and inspire a nation. No matter how big or small your contribution is, every little bit helps and makes a difference.

6. Why is this important now?

South Africa is facing many challenges and we can all inspire change and encourage greatness. At Bata, every little bit helps even if it is a pair of shoes who knows where the journey may end. Offering pride and dignity is a way of creating a positive self-image and this is a very crucial factor in generating success in a world that filled with challenges. Many successful people have started the school career in a pair of Toughees. 

7. What do you think the government should be doing?

We believe that the private sector has a lot to offer in terms of providing support to the government in the areas of social responsibility. We would like to see the government supporting these symbiotic relationships so that a real difference can be made. 

8. Describe two areas in this current project where there is a high level of uncertainty. How do you tackle these uncertainties?

The biggest challenge is logistics, however, we have dedicated teams in pace with vast experience and we are confident that all our objectives will be met. 

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