MANILA—Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc (PSFI), the social arm of Shell companies in the country, celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday, August 19.
Since 1982, the foundation has launched numerous activities and programs that have benefitted more than 12 million individuals.
“We started with just 2 programs, and at that time we only had seven staff members. Would you believe, we now have over 50 programs and about 200 team members all over the Philippines,” said Sebastian Quinones Jr., executive director of Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc.
According to Quinones, most of PSFI’s projects, “which serve underprivileged communities,” are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
“We definitely want to be able to fulfill the 6 SDGs we have. We would like to prioritize it moving forward,” he stressed.
Among the hallmark programs of PSFI is their fight against malaria.
In the last year alone, PSFI said their programs combatting deadly diseases have helped decreased its prevalence by as much as 31 percent with 62 out 72 provinces now malaria-free.
Other milestones PSFI pulled in the previous year are creating some 510 jobs, reforesting over 90.7 hectares of land, providing 32 solar-powered street lights, training 200 teachers, and supporting more than 25,000 individuals with sustainable farming technologies.
But apart from the interlinked global goals the UN outlined, such as clean energy, climate action, decent work and economic growth, food security, quality education and good health and well-being, Quinones noted that PSFI will be focusing in the following years on the eradication of malnutrition, which is a prevalent issue in the country.
“We are emphasizing a lot on nutrition, the first 1000 days of a child. Unless we are able to stop the stunting of these children, we won’t have a future for the next generation,” he stressed.
“Education won’t happen if children are stunted. So that is something we will emphasize as we go forward in the next 40 years.”
Cesar Buenaventura, founding chairman of Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc, agreed that malnutrition is “one of the biggest problems” of the nation.
Buenaventura emphasized that before the next generations can build a better future, they need to receive proper nourishment.
“The Philippines is a growing economy and population. We need to be able to train people to be able can compete in the world market,” he shared.
“But the young who will be stunted, they do not grow properly,” he added.
Buenaventura, meanwhile, admitted that it cannot achieve its goals without the support of other stakeholders as well as the public.
“The efforts we have is a very good example of private-public partnership that is a model for other countries to aspire for,” he shared.
“We are 40 years young, we have to be around in the next 40 years.”
Among the organizations that PSFI partnered with in serving the Filipino public are ABS-CBN Corporation and ABS-CBN Foundation.
On Friday, the PSFI awarded ABS-CBN with a plaque of recognition for helping them work on projects that improve and uplift the lives of Filipino families.
The special recognition was received by ABS-CBN Integrated News head Ging Reyes.
“As a partner in nation building, we intend to continue. Our strategy is empowering progress and at the heart is sustainability,” said Lorelie Quiambao-Osial, country chair of Shell companies in the Philippines.
Quiambao-Osial also explained that the unprecedented fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years has taught them to adapt their projects to the rapidly changing needs of Filipinos.
“We are also looking to pivot some of the projects or new projects to make sure we meet the needs of society now and the needs of society moving forward,” she said.
The country chair, however, stressed, that achieving sustainable goals will only be possible through inclusivity.
“The future can only be sustainable if it is equitable,” she stressed.
“We need diverse thoughts to solve problems but diversity will not be unleashed if you don’t create an inclusive space where everyone is valued and respected and where everyone has equal opportunity,” she added.